In today's fun economy, cubicle jobs are disappearing faster than you can say, "Who's next?" Being one of those whispered about (on numerous occasions), I have been happily out of a cubicle, yet still able to do the same duties I did then - only without the walls (and that really annoying person three cubes down who walks by the copy machine only to drop off a 1-page document with a post-it note asking you to make a copy for her files).
VA's provide typical administrative duties such as typing of documents, presentations, data-entry, spreadsheets, mailings and the like. But most VA's also have a specialty: mine happens to be PowerPoint presentations. I can also build websites, design newsletters and brochures. My other specialty is proofreading and editing. Other VA's specialize in Real Estate, legal or the insurance industry, to name a few.
It's become more beneficial for employers, as well. Since VA's work on an as-needed basis, employers are only paying for what they need, not the lunch break or the phone call from the kids. Nor do they pay benefits, sick time or vacations.
Since any VA worth their salt is already well-equipped with the latest and greatest in tech equipment, software and their own work space, gone is the expense of training, office space and hi-tech upgrades.
Outsourcing of IT services has been going on for years, mostly being outsourced outside of the US. But when it comes to administrative services, most US-based businesses would prefer to keep their VA's close to home (virtually-speaking, that is). And that will only increase as businesses come to the realization that having an assistant doesn't have to mean the one sitting outside the door refusing to get your coffee because it's not in their job description. (Corporate-provided bagel WITH cream cheese, maybe. Coffee....uh....no.)
Outsourcing is becoming the wave of the future. Virtual Assistants are in a prime spot to not only get on the surfboard but teach businesses to boogie-board right alongside them.