It's that time of year - UK VA Survey - what do you want to know?


The background:
So each year we compile a HUGE survey on all the UK’s VAs. It’s the largest survey of its kind and the only statistically valid one of UK VAs (in order to make it statistically valid, you must have results from 10% of the industry, so some 260 responses are needed from our membership of 2,600 members… The first 10% of the industry who completes the survey always get a free copy - everyone else has to pay. We think that’s the fairest way of doing it. Data collection takes about 2-3 months and the data analysis takes about the same (number crunching gets done by our friendly non-VA data analyst who volunteers their time each year, all data is anonymous).

The questions:
So we have a variety of questions - we want to know what else you’d like to see in the report? I know we had the following requested:

  • Ask not just about childcare responsibilities but also caring responsibilities
  • Put in graph re what % of the industry earn £5k/£10k/£20k/£40k etc per annum.
  • How many people have you personally referred to industry training providers/resources to learn to be a VA?
  • % profit which the VA takes home from turnover
  • Who do you think the worst payers are - big business or other sole traders?
  • A “digital nomad” category included in the “where do you work from?” section

@CurlewSS? @AmandaJohnson? @valueaddvs? I’m sure you guys suggested some through the year and now my little brain can’t remember what they were! (Remind me to write them down next year!!)


A one-off question for 2019 - Many businesses have struggled with the Brexit uncertainty - have you noticed a change in your workload and, if so, has Brexit been positive or negative for you?


Oh good question Maria!


Actually I remembered another one which I got asked to include - What pricing strategy do you use? (i.e. do you base your rate on what other people charge or is it worked out based upon profit levels/costs - or something else?)


Would it be possible to have a section on It would be nice to find out if it really is so frowned upon in the industry, and would be interesting to see how many only SubVA and how many also have their own business. Unless my memory of the Survey is fuzzy, I seem to remember this only being tackled from the MultiVA’s (or LeadVA’s) perspective, but it is possible that it is already there and I have forgotten about it (I tried to make time to re-read it but sadly a skim through is all I managed thus far … sorry :disappointed:).

PS: will you be promoting this at the VA Conference? Seems like a good place to get more ideas (or will you have already sent the survey out by then?).


We have a section for MultiVAs, maybe we have a split in the questioning and ask VAs who are subbies more questions in there. It’s a balance about the overall number of questions too - I try not to make it an endurance challenge to fill in!!

The data collection usually gets launched @ the VA Conference, so we’ll be all done and dusted by then!

Another suggestion today: Ask M/F question about clients… How many of your clients and men and how many female?


Hi Caroline, writing this in between meetings without a copy of last years survey in front of me so forgive me if there is potentially correlation already there.

in thinking of this statement: I think that needs to be correlated to how many hours people choose to work in their business. “Put in graph re what % of the industry earn £5k/£10k/£20k/£40k etc per annum.” Should this be per month or per annum?!

It should not be frowned up on if someone chooses to work 3 days per week etc because they are juggling caring / children etc but it often is. So questions around part time / full time / hours available for work v actually working.

Which almost leads to sources of income - so both VA and non VA income. With the VA income strand is it worth looking at what that breaks down into - ie split between VA support, social media, marketing, events, website and passive income etc.

What areas of development do you see yourself investing in the next 12 months? (Tech, training, infrastructure, events etc)

Still pondering if any more come to me will message you


Interesting stuff -
Sadly those figures are per annum - a lot of VAs are earning very little overall - we do go up to £100k though so it’s perfectly possible!

I agree, the part-time working really does throw a lot of the results - but then we do publish average earnings based on how many hours you work - so if you’re a part-time VA working 0-10 hours per week, the average income is £5,714, whereas a VA working full-time 40+ is £45,556 per annum.

For the survey, we ask the VAs only to consider VA income, but we do break that down into various services. I might rejig the wording on this one as it always causes some confusion!


Good morning everyone.

Regarding the time that takes to collect and analyse the data. Do we know if these software/applications are integrated?


Hi Carlos
A lot of the data can be created automatically, but it all needs checking before we do any of the analysis, since people will put stuff in words, put in a range etc. which throws the data. The conclusions then need to be written, we need graphics done, it all needs proofed etc. It takes a fair amount of time.

I’d love to be able to just press a button, but it doesn’t really work like that and the whole survey would lose meaning if it was just bare numbers.


Hi Caroline,

There is an application that meet the criteria you mentioned above.

  • It has around 200 templates available (some as questionnaire style).
  • Survey (questionnaire) can be customised too.
  • Produce graphics and analysis reports.

There is a free version with basic features.

I can set up a live and interactive web-presentation/demonstration for the volunteers collecting the data and the data analyst. This can be accessed simultaneously from different locations, including their home.

Please let me know your thoughts.


We need ISO 27001 - is it compliant?


Hi Caroline,

Please refer to the link below for the ISO 27001 certification and the GDPR


Hi Caroline,

Thank you for coming back to me so quickly this morning via facebook.

Sorry that my last comment in relation to question 3 was not very clear.

Today, I woke up early and very enthusiastic, until I made a catastrophic and silly mistake when I reached question 3.

In my circumstances, the answer to the first part of question 3 is “Yes” and the second part is “No”.

So, I wanted to check what is being asked in question 4 if I answer “Yes” or “No” to question 3.

First, I tested the option “Yes” and clicked “next”. Everything was ok up to this point.

Then, I tested the option “No” and clicked “next”,……………………You probably has guessed what happened.

For the last 8 hours, all I can hear in my head is Adele singing "Skyfall".