Secretaries are the facilitators of a variety of administrative tasks in an organization and play an essential role in the day to day operations of a business. They handle the organizational and administrative duties that make the business function effectively. Office secretaries are needed in virtually every industry; especially business, law, medicine, and education. The position has become indispensable across all sectors and industries, both commercial and non-profit. Although the average base salary for an entry-level position is $25,985 per year, the compensation package includes benefits such as 403(b), health insurance, paid time off, and a flexible schedule. Job growth prospects for a secretary are slow but steady. The Bureau of Labor Statistics(BLS) estimates an increase of 3 percent in secretarial jobs by 2024, with companies expected to hire over 100,000 employees for this role. A secretarial role can sometimes act as a stepping stone since many professionals start their careers in the capacity of an administrator and work their way up the ladder. For those who want to specialize in administration roles, career progression can be the result of taking on increased responsibilities.
Nuances of the role
A large number of organizations across public and private sectors recruit for this position. Hiring managers utilize various tools such as job boards, the company's own website, recruitment agencies, and local and national newspapers.
The general duties of a secretary include clerical tasks, usually on behalf of the management of an organization. Daily responsibilities involve: coordinating various calendars, handling phone and email correspondence, organizing large meetings, agendas, and presentations, taking notes in meetings, and other similar tasks. Additionally, secretaries are required to prepare memos, invoices, or other crucial reports, maintain databases and filing systems, and also perform elementary bookkeeping duties. Secretaries are required to work extensively with the leadership team, managers, clerical staff, and clients. A secretary may have to supervise and train junior staff. Detailing the reporting structure and showcasing the benefits in a job posting can help attract desired candidates and lead the employer to find the best fit for the role.
Proficiency and skills necessary
Formal educational qualifications are not always needed, although some firms do require the applicant to have a degree or secretarial certification. Most employers prefer candidates with related background or experience gained through temping via recruitment agencies. The ability to use standard software packages (such as Microsoft Office) and to learn bespoke packages is a plus. Hiring managers look for good interpersonal and communication skills, customer service, and relationship-building skills. The candidate should be meticulous and have excellent time management and negotiation skills. They must be a team player and be adept in taking initiatives and being proactive. The job is best suited for someone motivated and organized. Additionally, good problem-solving skills and the ability to work independently with minimal supervision are some essential attributes of the position.