Administration and Secretarial Career Guide

Administration and Secretarial Career Guide

General administration and secretarial work are essential to the majority of businesses. Almost all companies need someone to provide back-office support to their teams, handle the day to day organisation and running of an office or department, and possibly even act as the first point of contact to customers and the public.

While the roles in this sector are mostly quite general, some, such as legal secretary jobs, require specialist knowledge and skills. These more niche roles offer a higher salary as well.

Administration and secretarial roles can be very different in scope as a result. This can make it an attractive career choice if you like variety, or want to work in a particular industry that interests you in a supportive capacity. Company size can also affect the requirements and career potential of a role. Generally speaking, the larger the company, the greater the number and complexity of the responsibilities and duties will be.


Potential Roles in Administration and Secertarial

There are many general and specialised roles in the field of administration and secretary work. Some examples are:

  • Admin Assistants, who arrange meetings, update and organise documents, and generally help with the everyday running of a team/office. 
  • Bookkeepers, who generally prepare accounts and financial records for an organisation. 
  • Data entry clerks, who are responsible for keeping databases up to date, as well as compiling reports. They can also handle letters and other official communications depending on the sector the company is based in. 
  • Payroll Administrators, who ensure that employees are paid the correct amount of wages at the right time. 


A female secretary works her laptop in the office.


Salary and Career Progression

The average salary for administration and secretarial work is around £19-20k per year, although roles in London pay slightly better – usually around £20-24k for entry-level positions.

More experience leads to higher salaries, and it’s possible to earn up to around £35,000 for roles that have increased seniority and responsibilities.

It is also possible to earn more if you gain additional qualifications like chartering. Many of the top FTSE 100 companies offer higher salaries for administrators and secretarial positions as well, so these are worth considering for long term careers. You may also be eligible for performance-based bonuses in some positions, although again, this is highly dependant on both sector and company.


Qualifications, Education and Experience

Given that administration and secretarial roles can be so varied, the type of qualifications that can be useful are fairly dependant on the kind of sector you’ll be working in. That said, there are a few areas that it can be good to have at least HND or degree-level qualifications in, including:

  • Law
  • Government administration
  • Public administration
  • Business
  • Languages
  • Business management

Experience can be invaluable as well of course, and depending on who you are applying for a job for, may even be preferable to qualifications in some cases.

A male secretary works on his laptop in the office.



The following skills are useful if you’re considering a career in administration or secretarial work:

  • Ability to follow instructions clearly
  • Good organisation
  • Strong written and oral communication 
  • Reliability and trustworthiness
  • Fluency in another/multiple languages
  • Initiative and the ability to plan
  • Good presentation
  • Attention to detail
  • Management skills
  • Ability to work as part of a team
  • Good IT skills, especially in common office applications
  • Good typing skills


Working Hours

While working hours will mainly depend on the sector, most admin and secretarial jobs work standard 9-5 hours, or between 8-6. Generally, 35-40 hours per week is common, although there are often a variety of Flexi and part-time opportunities available as well.

This sector also tends to have a lot of temporary opportunities, so can be a good way to get a foot in the door at certain companies, or in certain sectors you might be interested in.


Notable Locations

While almost any town or city in the UK will likely have some opportunities for aspiring administrators and secretaries, the best paying, and more senior roles, will tend to be centred around the major business centres in the country.

This means locations like London, Birmingham, Leeds, Manchester, Newcastle, Edinburgh and Cardiff can all be excellent places to find work. Many large towns with international or regional headquarters are also good spots to look.


Notable Companies

Any of the FTSE 100 companies are a good choice for administration and secretarial work. Notable companies include:

  • Barclays
  • Aviva
  • ITV
  • JD Sports
  • Unilever
  • Rightmove
  • Sage

Smaller companies and niche businesses are just as viable of course, but will tend to offer less earning potential


Next Steps

If you’re actively looking for administration or secretarial roles right now, then make sure to sign up with us, and check out the latest admin and secretary jobs on offer today. 

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