Don't be fooled into thinking that administration jobs are all about paper shuffling. An admin job can see you performing a range of functions and open doors to a variety of sectors

Bid writer

These individuals prepare documents that are used to pitch for contracts or project funding. Salaries usually begin around the £25,000 mark, with experienced bid writers commanding upwards of £70,000.

You'll spend much of your working day identifying potential business opportunities and conversing with clients, before designing, writing, editing and submitting bids.

Some employers expect entry-level applicants to have a Bachelors degree, perhaps in English. Bid writers who prepare pitches for international funding may also benefit from speaking an additional language.

Bookkeeper

Also referred to as accounts clerks or payroll administrators, bookkeepers ensure that an organisation's financial records are kept up to date. On average, they earn between £17,000 and £25,000 per year.

Duties include preparing wages, managing expense claims, completing VAT returns, checking the accuracy of accounts, and dealing with income, payments, receipts and sales invoices.

Entry-level applicants often have A-levels in mathematics, economics and/or business studies, while professional qualifications in accounts or bookkeeping are also highly sought-after by employers.

Credit controller

Often referred to as debt collection agents, credit controllers help organisations to retrieve money that is owed to them. They can work for a third-party debt collection agency or a company's finance department, and earn between £16,000 and £27,000 per year.

Typical tasks include checking credit records and tracing missing debtors, drawing up repayment plans, working with debt counsellors, and launching legal proceedings if debts go unpaid.

Any experience of an office environment will be extremely useful, especially if it's within an accounts or customer service department. A professional qualification in accounts or bookkeeping would also be beneficial, or you could begin your credit control career by doing an apprenticeship.

Immigration officer

These individuals - sometimes known as border force officers - impose immigration and customs regulations at UK entry points such as ports and airports, and ensure that people are legally allowed to enter and remain in the country. They usually command a salary in the region of £21,000 to £36,000.

Day-to-day tasks include:

  • checking passports travel documents and work permits
  • searching people, luggage and vehicles
  • interviewing and taking the fingerprints of those entering the UK
  • working alongside the police on major criminal cases.

Entry requirements are fairly rigid. You must have lived in the UK for the previous five years, gain security clearance and, in some cases, pass a medical examination and/or possess a driving licence. Budding immigration officers, especially those participating in anti-smuggling operations at sea, can improve their chances of success by learning a second language.

Medical secretary

Earning an average of £16,000 to £27,000 per year, medical secretaries provide office support in GP surgeries, hospitals and private clinics.

To secure a job as a medical secretary you'll need GCSEs in English and maths, a typing or word processing qualification (along with excellent keyboard skills) and knowledge of medical language. You'll also have to pass a background check.

Responsibilities include:

  • managing a waiting list of patients
  • dealing with confidential information and updating patient records
  • typing letters and clinical reports
  • sending samples for testing
  • managing a doctor’s diary
  • dealing with questions from patients and medical staff.

The work is office-based, Monday to Friday, although if you work for a doctors' surgery you may operate on a rota system.

Registrar

This role involves recording births, deaths, marriages and civil partnerships. You'll typically earn between £17,000 and £48,000 per year, and usually be employed by a local authority.

Duties include:

  • interviewing parents and relatives after a birth or death
  • issuing birth or death certificates
  • informing the coroner of any suspicious circumstances surrounding a death
  • performing ceremonies such as marriages, civil partnerships and civil funerals.

Registrars must possess strong skills in IT, public speaking and customer service. The role can be secured via an apprenticeship, and is often the result of a promotion from the position of deputy registrar.

School secretary

Providing administrative support to schools to ensure their smooth running, school secretaries typically earn between £15,000 and £20,000.

Working at a state or private school your tasks will include:

  • keeping paper and electronic records up to date
  • ordering resources and pay invoices
  • greeting visitors to the school and ensure they have the correct means of identification
  • acting as the main point of contact between parents and the school
  • scheduling appointments
  • drafting and type emails and letters.

To get a job as a school secretary it's useful to have GCSEs in maths and English, previous office experience and computer literacy. A first aid qualification may come in useful. You'll also need to undergo a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check.

Telephonist

Also referred to as a switchboard operator, a telephonist answers and connects calls. They usually earn between £12,000 and £24,000 per year.

Day-to-day tasks vary by role, because this function is often combined with other administrative duties. However, telephonists will almost always use a switchboard system, update directories, take and pass on messages, and test lines and report faults.

You'll need strong IT skills and must possess existing administrative experience. Many further education colleges offer courses in call centre and customer service techniques, which can be extremely helpful when seeking employment.

Typist

Earning an average of £14,000 to £24,000 per year, typists produce letters, reports and other documents.

Duties usually include copy typing, audio typing, shorthand typing, answering the telephone, using office equipment and dealing with emails.

You'll therefore require strong skills in IT, as well as existing experience of an office environment. Some employers prefer applicants to have a recognised qualification in business administration, though apprenticeships in this role are also widely available.

Find out more