Career Guide


Uni Compare  · Nov 2nd 2020

Is working with a great team and knowing you’re a vital cog in the machine appealing to you?


Then working as an administrator might be the right career path for you to go down. It’s much more than just helping out your colleagues. You’ll be their first port of call, the all-knowing and vital messenger for the entire team.

If this sounds perfect, then read our guide below!

Administrator Career Guide

What is the role of an administrator?

A secretary assistant or someone working in administration provides administrative and clerical support to professionals, either individually or as part of a team. Working in admin roles requires responsibility and decent organisational skills. You will most likely be involved with the implementation and coordination of office procedures and may oversee and supervise junior staff.

So, what is an administration job? Under the administration job description, the role varies by the size of your employer and the level of responsibility you hold. Most of the work will involve oral and written communication, with administration duties stretching to word processing, IT skills, presentation skills and the ability to work under pressure. Administrator jobs in specialised areas require candidates to hold specialist knowledge or qualifications, like legal secretarial work.

What does an administrator do?

An administrative secretary or admin staff will need to audio and copy type, deal with telephone and email enquiries, write letters and use an email system, like Microsoft Outlook. Admin roles and responsibilities will include using word processing systems and photocopiers, as well as organise paperwork, documents and diaries.

You may find that your secretary duties will see you arrange appointments, schedule and attend meetings, take minutes and create agendas. Shorthand, the ability to take notes of a conversation may be a required skill for candidates in specific positions.

The administration tasks you’ll perform will allow you to manage and support larger groups.

But admin staff may also be asked to create and maintain filing systems, book meeting rooms and conference facilities for staff, and liaise with employees in other departments or those with external contracts. But the role doesn’t stop at just communication, admin duties and responsibilities may extend to ordering and maintaining stationery and equipment, organising travel and accommodation for more significant meetings.

However, administrator roles and responsibilities can vary depending on the sector and company that you work for. For example, software packages, like Microsoft Excel, Powerpoint and Access, maybe part of your job description, as well as maintaining and updating websites. Administrator responsibilities are versatile, and your employer may need you to work with statistical data, sort mail, manage budgets and carry out invoicing.

Now we know, ‘what does an admin do?’, the next step is to understand that the admin job role is usually office-based, with admin work rarely requiring travel as part of the job. Office administrator duties are traditionally a female role, the same for the majority of secretarial jobs; however, there is no opposition to men seeking employment within this area of work. Looking back at the job description, administrator work supports colleagues and projects and ensure they meet deadlines.

Administrator Career

How to become an administrator?

Do you need administration qualifications? To learn administrative duties, you can undertake various qualifications for the role. The administration skills you need will differ from your employer, and in the sector, you want to work in. Some employers will seek experience and skills in their candidates while others look for someone with qualifications. Administrative roles which hold more responsibility can benefit from the list of HND below:

  • Business with languages
  • Law
  • Business or management
  • Secretarial studies
  • Government or public administration

What skills are useful for an administrator?

A personal secretary needs excellent organistional, time management and communication skills. Their attention to detail should be second to none, as well as discretion, presentation and tac. Administrators need to understand instructions, follow company policies and confidentiality agreements. They tend to be reliable, honest and pleasant individuals with superb telephone or email manner. An administrator should be able to prioritise their workload, work under pressure, meet deadlines and plan their own work. Using initiative, project management skills and having confidence is also useful. In some roles you may be required to have a foreign language.

Working in admin roles requires responsibility and decent organisational skills.

Can you work as an administrator remotely?

This role can be done remotely or at least part-time at home. You’ll need the correct set up in regards to IT equipment, a working phone and internet connection. A lot of personal secretaries will have access to diaries and systems and can fulfil role remotely. If your administrator position includes responsibilities like front-of-house then you’ll need to be based in the office or company’s site. Some aspects of the job, like planning, liaising with others and managing diaries can be done at home. It depends on your role, location and experience as well as the employer you work for, whether you can work from home.


What is the average salary of a personal assistant?

How to get an admin job If you’re seeking an administrator role, you will find jobs in the not-for-profit sectors, the media and small organisations. However, the duties of an administrator are sought after in other areas, like finance, banking, law firms and property.

A person employed for admin duties in the smaller organisations can expect a starting salary in the region of £16,000 to £19,000 outside of London. However, jobs within the capital can see a starting salary of £20,000 and can be as high as £24,000. There is no set wage for this position; therefore, someone advertising a business admin job description may offer a competitive salary compared to a charity. However, with more experience and responsibility, there will be a higher salary, and after a few years, you can expect to earn between £20,000 and £34,000.

Where to get administration experience?

You know ‘what do administrators do’ and understand the role of an administrator, now how to get your foot in the door? As administration roles are so diverse, finding employment is easier than you think, across most sectors. You can start searching in various areas for an admin role:

  • Government
  • Legal and financial services
  • Marketing and communications
  • Hospitals and general medical practices
  • Creative industries
  • Schools, universities and colleges
  • Advertising and publishing
  • Management
  • Private companies
  • Property

If you want admin work experience, you can try applying for these roles or request to shadow an administrator already in a position. Smaller organisations will allow you to manage several members of a team, but larger companies may allow you to gain experience with more responsibilities.

A personal secretary needs excellent organistional, time management and communication skills.

What are the prospects for an administrator?

The admin skills you’ll learn will be easily transferred to later roles if you choose to change career or move employers. The administration tasks you’ll perform will allow you to manage and support larger groups.

If you are hoping to develop your job with your administration key skills, you could take it further by specialising in one industry or area, like medical secretarial work or working for a legal team. There are also administrator roles available in the form of personal assistants, either for a company director or a senior manager - even individuals. It doesn’t stop there; you can use your office administration skills alongside language skills to jump into the role of a bilingual secretary, which also offers the opportunity to work overseas.

It’s also common for personal secretaries to move sectors, perhaps to charity or property, sales or marketing. Working in a sector you are interested in can help you make the move to another role. Alternative options include becoming a chartered secretary with ICSA, where you can then work as company secretary, director of legal services or chief executive in various organisations.Joining a professional body, like the Institute of Administrative Management (IMA), can improve your chances of career progression.

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