Hard-working administrators are vital to the success of every organisation, from blue chip companies and law firms to local authorities and charities. These organised and professional individuals are responsible for providing administrative support to decision makers and managers.
Understandably, an administrator’s responsibilities will vary greatly from organisation to organisation. However, most administrators perform a range of routine office duties, such as filing, invoicing, data input, diary management, minute taking, photocopying, answering telephone enquiries and responding to letters and emails in a timely manner.
An administrator’s job will usually involve a great deal of computer-based work. Consequently, most administrators should be confident using software packages such as Microsoft Word, Excel, Outlook, Access and PowerPoint, as well as internal databases and CRM systems.
As you gain more experience, you’ll gradually be given more important responsibilities, such as budget management, training junior admin staff and organising events.
Salary & benefits
Entry-level administrators can earn anywhere between £12,750 and £23,000 per annum. Once you have gained plenty of experience, you could earn up to £30,000 a year.
Most administrators work nine-to-five, or between 8.30am and 6pm; it really depends on the individual organisation. Evening and weekend work is very rare.
A degree is not necessary for entry into this line of work. However, a degree or HND in a subject such as business studies, management studies, secretarial studies, modern languages or law may boost your earning potential.
Alternatively, you could complete an admin-focused course at a further education college or with a private training provider.
Admin experience is often far more important than your academic background. Doing temp work is a fantastic way of gaining the skills you’ll need for most admin jobs.
If you can speak another language, such as French, German, Spanish, Mandarin or Japanese, you will usually be able to secure a position with a higher salary, as administrators with language skills are incredibly valuable to major international companies.
Training & progression
When you first join a company in an admin position, you will learn about internal processes and computer systems. Following this initial training period, the majority of your training will be done on-the-job under the supervision of a senior administrator.
Your company might, however, pay for you to complete training courses with external organisations, which will improve your admin skills. For instance, you might be given the opportunity to become an expert in Microsoft Excel or Access.
Furthermore, you might be asked to attend training courses to improve your customer service or to increase your knowledge of other important things, such as health and safety.
Once you have gained a wealth of admin experience, you may progress into an office management position. Alternatively, you may decide to become a project support officer or project management officer.
For many people, an administrative position is simply an entry point into their industry of choice, from which they can move into other areas of the business, such as marketing or HR.
Other administrators decide to specialise in a specific area of admin work. For instance, you might wish to become a legal secretary. However, this route may require you to complete further professional qualifications.