An administrator is responsible for the smooth and effective running of an office, which includes overseeing all paperwork entering and leaving the office and answering the telephones.
The main purpose of the job is to oversee all of the activity that goes on within an office, ensuring that everything runs smoothly. An administrator will usually report to all people within the office, and will be set a variety of tasks depending on what their other colleagues have to do.
As the administrator of a company you hold a lot of responsibility and are the cornerstone of the company. Many employers will give candidates administrative situational judgement tests (SJT) during the recruitment process as a way of ensuring you have the skills needed to effectively complete the job. This assessment assesses how you might respond in a specific work related situation. Check out this preparation material to learn more about the administrative SJT.
The average starting salary for an administrator depends on the company and the area of the country, with salaries usually related to local government pay scales.
This usually falls between £13,000 and £19,000, and will increase with experience. However, salaries will not usually exceed £27,000.
If additional responsibilities are included, such as becoming the fire safety officer or taking on longer working hours, the salary will usually go up accordingly.
An administrator will usually be responsible for the post within an office, which includes opening all incoming letters and making sure that they go to the relevant people, as well as guaranteeing that the outgoing post gets sent from the office.
The department’s filing will usually be devised, organised and run by the administrator. This will include fetching the required documents and returning them to their appropriate locations after their use by a colleague. Other general office duties include photocopying and faxing.
An administrator will usually be the person responsible for the switchboard or the main phone within the department. They will then have to pass on calls to the relevant person, or take messages as necessary. Higher members of the department may require the administrator to phone other companies or departments to pass on their messages.
Some administrators will also be the first port-of-call for office emails, and they will have to distribute these to the appropriate person or department. Most departments or companies will have an address book with all details of clients or contractors recorded within it, which the administrator will be required to keep up-to-date and in a working order.
Some administrators will be required to take on more secretarial-type duties, which may include typing letters and producing documents. In general, they will not be required to audio-type.
Administrators will usually be responsible for arranging meetings for people within their department, so they will be required to book rooms and make sure that the relevant people attend. Additionally, it will usually be the job of the administrator to ensure that the meeting room is of a suitable appearance, that all documents are produced for the meeting and that the required equipment is on hand and in working order. Some administrators will also have to arrange for transport and accommodation if a member of their team is attending a meeting outside of the office, or to book their colleagues onto necessary training programmes and to confirm their attendance at business events.
All stationary for the department will usually pass through the administrator’s hands, meaning they are responsible for placing orders and ensuring that certain items are always keep in stock. Colleagues will usually tell the administrator when they need certain stationary items, and the administrator will have to guarantee that the department does not exceed their stationary budget. To coincide with this, the administrator may be given the responsibility of looking after the petty cash for the department. However, this is usually given to employees who have been with the company for a while as it can often involve a large amount of money.
Most administration jobs will require the applicant to have some GCSEs, with Maths and English being the main requisites. Otherwise, most positions will not require any further credentials, although applicants with an RSA qualification may be considered over those without.
Some recruitment companies will run spelling and grammar checks, as well as typing and maths tests. These will usually dictate the type of environment that you are put into. For example, administrators in a legal environment will need to have higher levels of English than those who are going to work in an accounts department, who will require stronger maths skills.
- Good communication skills as they often provide the initial impression given to the company.
- Excellent organisation abilities
- Highly efficient.
- Good attention to detail.
- The ability to work well both as an individual and in a team.
The hours for the job will usually coincide with the other members of the department, meaning regular office hours apply. However, this will vary according to the company and the requirements of the position.
Although not a particulary dangerous job, a good awareness of Health & Safety issues will be essential as the office can present a few hazards and annoyances.
As many administration jobs are specific to the company, previous experience will often not be required as training will happen ‘on the job’. However, those who have previous experience may be considered over others, and this will often set the rate of pay.
Due to the nature of the work, virtually all firms and companies, and sometimes the departments within these companies, will have an administrator working for them. The jobs that the administrator does are common to all office environments, meaning it is one of the most widely-found jobs.
An administrator is the first level of entry into an office, and many find that they are able to work their way up within a company to become secretaries or even personal assistants. It is often possible for an administrator to continually take on new tasks under their job description, thus providing them with experience to branch off into other areas. Further qualifications may be needed to do this, such as the RSA award, but some companies will pay for their employees to do this.
Also known as…
- Clerical Assistant
- Financial Assistant
What’s it really like?
Lizzie Andrew, 24, started her career as an administrator, and owes it to the position she now holds.