careers administrative assistant

Administrative Assistant Jobs

Administrative assistant jobs… did you know?

Similar jobs: Admin assistant, Administrative coordinator, administrative officer, office administrator, clerical assistant

Admin is all about making sure life is smooth in the office. It helps a business run properly. Calendar events are added to diaries, things are filed in the right place, and no-one runs out of pens. All these things can add up to a business that makes a profit and is a good environment to work in.

Every business with an office needs admin. Once you pick up these office skills you could open career doors to work anywhere from the civil service to your favourite charity, film studio or fashion brand.

Office admin work is a great way to move into a huge range of careers, from business and finance to event management. It’s not just the office skills you pick up that make you shine – it’s your skill at networking with people and understanding business needs.

Industry: Business and Administration

Administrative assistant job trends

How much money can you make as a administrative assistant?

£14,000 – £30,000 (UK average)

Recent labour market information says you can earn on average between £14,000 and £30,000 a year as an administrative assistant in the UK.

Your starting salary can vary because of factors like level of experience, training, or location. Your salary as an admin assistant will increase over time as you build skills, knowledge and experience – especially if you head into a managerial role.

What entry qualifications and training do you need for this job?

School, college and training

You may be expected to have GCSEs grades 9-4/A*-C or their equivalent, with passing grades in maths and English. This will help you with any verbal or written communication as part of your admin work (such as answering the phone at reception or sending emails or correctly addressing parcels). Some maths will also help you have number confidence if you are asked to enter calendar dates into a diary or do any admin to do with sales or invoicing, for example.

You don’t need to study to A-level or degree level, but some candidates do, and look for admin work once they’ve finished their course.


You can get into an admin job through an apprenticeship – such as an apprenticeship in business and administration. If you look at the Council for Administration (CfA) site you’ll see there’s one available at levels 1-4.

With a business and administration apprenticeship you’ll be able to earn a salary while working in an administrative role, but you’ll also get structured learning and the chance to reflect on what you’ve learned. This will lead to an industry-recognised qualification.

Career progression and further qualifications

If you are temping (or working on a temporary basis) your time could lead to a full-time job with the employer. With time and experience you could become an office supervisor or team leader. You could also move into specialised office-based business areas like IT and technology, finance, or sales.

Office admin experience is a great way to prove to any employer that you have strong office-based work skills and can fit into office working culture. It can also help you discover what areas of business operation you are most interested in.

Whatever your future plans may be, work experience as an administrative assistant is often a useful stepping stone.

What experience do you need for administrative jobs?

Work experience

It can help your application if you have previously done work experience or volunteering in an office-based environment.

Some employers might test your telephone, typing or IT skills, so it might help you to gain previous experience in these. IT skills in an office will usually involve office software like Google calendar and Microsoft Word, so aim to get familiar with these if you can.

Previous experience in a retail environment or anywhere where you can provide customer service may also be useful, because part of your admin job could involve greeting visitors or answering the office phone.

Examples of relevant work experience include:

  • Work shadowing (even if it’s just for a day)
  • Work placements in a company
  • Work placements on a degree course

What skills do you need for administrative jobs?

Useful skills to highlight to your employer when applying for administrative jobs include:

  • Communication skills – you can be friendly and polite on the phone, and type up accurate letters and emails with no spelling mistakes if needed.
  • Teamwork skills – you can follow given instructions and fit in with team members in the office.
  • Self-management skills – you will be told what to do, but you can impress employers by planning and organising your workload, as well as showing your initiative to suggest improvements in the admin system (such as making sure any lists of phone extensions used in the office are up to date).

Vocational qualifications and work experience will help you build these skills over time.

What does an administrative assistant do?

Knowing a little more about administrative work will help you show employers that you understand what this job is about. It can also help you decide if it’s right for you.

Example job responsibilities:

  • Helping to answer customer queries on the phone, by email or via social media
  • Typing up letters and reports
  • Updating computer records and databases
  • Printing and photocopying
  • Ordering office supplies and checking that office equipment like printers and phones are working
  • Greeting visitors at reception
  • Setting up meeting times when asked to do so and taking notes during the meeting
  • Making travel arrangement for staff
  • Collecting office mail

Your first steps into administrative jobs

To find jobs for young people in this role, search on job boards for vacancies with these words in the title:

  • Admin assistant
  • Administrative coordinator
  • Administrative officer
  • Office administrator
  • Clerical assistant
  • Business and administration apprentice

Useful organisations and links for business and administrative careers

Careers Help
Your Life and Career Choices
Become a Young Professional