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What is the difference between a Virtual Assistant and an employee?

I get this question a lot!

And although a Virtual Assistant does appear to be the same as an employee - there are some very distinct differences.

Let's talk about location

I guess the clue is in the title "Virtual" - and this is mainly true.

The majority of virtual assistants work remotely, either in a dedicated home office or sometimes in rented office space.

The benefit of this is that the client hiring the services of a virtual assistant does not need to worry about where they will be seated. Many virtual assistants enjoy the flexibility that working remotely gives them - it enables them to work literally anywhere there is an internet connection. Their location is definitely unimportant. With employees - the opposite is true and mostly an employee will be located in an office with desk/equipment provided for by the employer.


Although administration could be covered by both employee and a Virtual Assistant - the Virtual Assistant will most likely have a diverse set of skills obtained from working with multiple and varied systems from working with clients in different industries. Employees tend to expert in areas relating to their particular role and might not get the same exposure to up to date software trends.

Virtual Assistants tend to have a wide range of knowledge, from administration, social media, accounts, SEO, podcast launch and editing and even technical support.

And lastly - and the biggie... Cost

At first glance, it might appear that the Virtual Assistant is the most expensive resource - but let's take a closer look:

Employee Costs (Overheads)

  • Salary

  • Tax & NI

  • Paid Annual Leave

  • Paid Sick

  • Paid Bank Holidays

  • Life Insurance

  • Pensions

  • Healthcare Benefit

  • Office Costs (stationery, equipment, refreshments)

  • Office Services (Internet, phone)

  • Recruitment Fees

  • Training Fees

Virtual Assistant Costs

  • You only pay for a Virtual Assistant for the actual hours worked or for the agreed monthly/project cost.

What does this look like with actual costs:


A full-time employee: based on average PA rates

  • £35,000 - Salary per annum

  • £4,200 - approx 12% Payroll NI/Tax

  • £11,000 - Benefits (life insurance/pension)

  • £1,076 - 8 x Bank Holidays

  • £3365 - 25 paid annual leave

  • £54,641 TOTAL COST

.....and this doesn't include any bonus, special leave, sick days.


Looking at the above - you can see clearly there are huge savings by taking on a virtual assistant vs recruiting for an employee. But what are the other benefits?

  • Many Virtual Assistants offer a flexible service - even a pay as you go hourly service which is perfect for those last-minute pieces of work/projects.

  • Virtual Assistants are invested in their business and keeping their skills updated means they have a wide range of skills and knowledge to offer without a client having to pay for additional training.

  • You can contract a Virtual Assistant when you need it the most and only pay for the time worked for you.

  • Hiring a full-time employee is a substantial investment. When you take on a Virtual Assistant - there will be no recruitment, employment-related costs such as holiday/sick pay or other benefits

  • If you need to replace your employee, costs from loss productivity during the turnover period will add to those of advertising, recruitment and training.

Are you Surprised? When you next need some business support it is certainly worth investigating whether a virtual assistant might be the better option for you.

If you want to discuss your business admin needs - feel free to get in touch or check out more information about my Virtual Assistant services on my website:

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