Administrative assistants offer administrative support to offices or key members of staff by carrying out clerical and organisational tasks.
Their daily responsibilities include tasks such as answering the phone, replying to emails, arranging meetings and updating databases – and they will usually work within an admin team, reporting to a senior administrator.
This guide will provide a full job description for admin assistants and everything else you need to know about the role, including salaries, skills, qualifications, career progression and more.
- Administrative assistant job description
- How much do administrative assistants earn?
- What does an administrative assistant do?
- Requirements, skills and qualifications
- Who employs administrative assistants?
- Which junior jobs progress to administrative assistant roles?
Administrative assistant job description
Administrative assistant |Smiths Building Services
About Smiths Building Services
With over 20 years experience in the industry, Smiths Building Services works closely with local suppliers, architects and labourers to offer high-quality building services to all customers.
About the role
As a result of our rapid growth, we’re looking for an administrative assistant to join our existing HR and Finance team to lighten the workload and support them in dealing with daily administration tasks.
- Taking phone calls and responding to emails from customers and suppliers
- Maintaining and updating digital and paper filing systems
- Taking stock of office supplies and reordering where necessary
- Scheduling meetings and booking appointments for senior members of staff
- Attending meetings and taking detailed notes to be typed up and distributed to the relevant staff
- Greeting and assisting any visitors that come to the offices
- Booking taxis, deliveries, trains, hotels and any other travel arrangements that are required
- Updating and circulating company policies and procedures
- Collating, producing and submitting monthly expense reports
Location & commitments
- Full-time, permanent
- Monday – Friday 9:00am – 17:30pm
- Occasional overtime may be required
- Previous experience in a similar administration position is desirable but not essential
- Excellent communication and interpersonal skills required
- Strong GCSEs or equivalent preferred
- Must have a strong grasp of Microsoft Office and Outlook
Contact us to apply
Are you looking for an exciting role on a friendly team? If you’re interested in this vacancy please send your CV to firstname.lastname@example.org.
How much do administrative assistants earn?
Across the UK, administrative assistants can earn an average salary of £19,500 – with the potential for this to rise with progress and promotions.
Administrative assistant salaries in the UK
- Low: £17,000
- Average: £19,500
- High: £23,000
Source: Total Jobs
The average salary of an administrative assistant will vary depending on a number of factors, including:
- The industry of the employer – e.g. does the administrative assistant work for a law firm? A school? Government offices? A charity? Etc.
- Hard skills –g are they proficient in Microsoft? Adobe? Calendar management? Can they use financial tools like Quickbooks? Etc.
- General salary factors – such as the location of the company and the level of candidate experience
For example, a highly skilled administrative assistant working for a law firm in London will normally earn more than an administrative assistant who looks after the more basic admin tasks in a rural state school, where budgets are limited.
It’s important to note that the average figure is taken from a sample of job adverts, and therefore does not include extra benefits such as bonuses, pension contributions and health insurance.
What does an administrative assistant do?
Below is a list of the typical tasks and responsibilities that administrative assistants will be asked to carry out in average working week, as per their job description:
- Taking calls – Answering the phone and directing calls to the correct members of staff
- Responding to emails – Reading and replying to emails, ensuring any important queries are forwarded to the relevant people
- Arranging meetings – Organising and scheduling meetings or appointments for senior staff
- Maintaining files – Maintaining and updating both electronic and paper filing systems
- Arranging travel – Making travel arrangements and ensuring all transport, tickets or stays are booked and confirmed
- Taking notes – Making detailed notes during important meetings, typing these up and sharing with the relevant parties
- Managing expenses – Keeping track of expenses by managing receipts and invoices, before collating and submitting a monthly expenses report
- Dealing with queries – Administration assistants will often have to deal with general queries from senior members of staff, clients or visitors
- Updating procedures – Maintaining and updating (when required) company policies and procedures, ensuring all staff are aware of any changes
- Producing reports – Producing company reports (such as performance, financials etc.) and distributing to staff
- Basic finance assistance – Such as filing invoices, updating ledgers, chasing debtors
What do administrative assistants need?
Administrative assistants need a range of skills to carry out the job effectively and some positions will also require a set level of experience.
Exact requirements will depend on factors such as industry and the main responsibilities of the role, but generally speaking here’s what’s needed.
Junior administrative assistant jobs don’t often require the candidate to have previous experience. That said, some employers may list previous experience as preferred on the job advert.
Intermediate to senior administrative roles usually require candidates to have some experience in a similar position. However, a strong set of transferable skills from a past role could be enough to land a more senior role, providing the candidate is able to demonstrate how they’ve used these skills in the past.
Admin assistant Skills
As well as some of the industry-specific skills mentioned above (like calendar management, Microsoft etc.) the following more generic skills are also vital for administrative assistants:
- Communication: Written and verbal communication are both important for speaking on the phone, in person and responding to emails, as well as putting together documents and taking detailed notes
- Organisation: Being able to manage diaries and spreadsheets, man the phone, coordinate plans and multitask
- Problem-solving: Dealing with unexpected issues or queries that may arise from staff, clients or visitors
- Time management: As well as answering the phones and booking meetings, administrative assistants must be able to manage their time to ensure they can complete all daily tasks
- Attention to detail: Administrative assistants must be meticulous in their note-taking, memos and arrangements to make sure they don’t miss even the smallest detail
- Office tools: Good working knowledge of business software such as Word, Excel and Outlook
Administrative assistant qualifications
Qualifications are not required to become an administrative assistant, as many employers value experience and/or skills over qualifications.
However, there are a number of administrative qualifications that could help candidates to land a job, as well as helping them to perform better in their role.
Business and Administration Level 1 (NVQ)
The Business and Administration Award (Level 1) is a nationally recognised qualification from City & Guild. The course suits those who are just starting out and want to master basic administrative tasks such as handling mail and communications.
There are two types of qualification available at Level 1:
- NVQ Award in Business and Administration
- NVQ Certificate in Business and Administration
Administrative Assistant Diploma
This CPD certified Administrative Diploma equips students with all the administration focused skills needed for a career as an admin or office assistant.
Level 3 Admin, PA & Secretarial Diploma
Despite being a Level 3 qualification, the course covers basic tasks such as phone skills, and diary management. New Skills Academy cites it as the perfect way to become a top-class administrative assistant.
What is expected of an administrative assistant?
Typically, administrative assistants will be expected to commit the following;
- Full-time hours – 35 – 40 hours per week, occasional overtime may be required
- Location – Normally based at the employer’s office
Administrative assistant benefits
Administrative assistants will receive a variety of benefits, some financial and some not, but these will vary depending on the size of the company and the industry it’s in. Examples of some of the top benefits on offer include:
- Bonuses – seasonal bonuses, for example, Christmas bonus
- Pension schemes
- Health insurance
- Gym memberships and other staff discounts
Who employs administrative assistants?
Admin assistant jobs can be found across the country, over a wide range of industries and companies
As most businesses have ongoing administrative needs, companies of all sizes tend to hire admin staff or teams to manage them.
As admin assistant is a junior role, sitting within an admin team, it will tend to be medium or large companies who hire admin assistants most frequently.
Some of the typical administrative assistant employers include companies within:
- Finance and accounting
- Public sector facilities – such as school offices
- Retail and consumer – usually based in the head offices
Which junior jobs progress to administrative assistant roles?
Despite the fact that experience isn’t necessary for most administrative assistant positions, there are some jobs which can give candidates an advantage, providing them with transferable skills they can bring to the role. These include:
Administration support temp
Administration support temps are hired on a temporary basis to help administration teams, either during busy periods, or to cover absence.
Administrative assistant apprentice
Administrative apprentices offer support to larger HR and admin teams as they learn the basics of becoming an administrative assistant through on the job training.
Volunteer receptionists give some of their free time to help existing teams with basic administration tasks.
Which senior jobs do administrative assistants progress to?
Being an administrative assistant can be a varied and rewarding role and is a great springboard into more senior and higher-paid positions, such as:
Administrators are responsible for similar clerical and organisational tasks to admin assistants but the role is more senior, their responsibilities are greater and they may even have admin assistants reporting in to them.
Office managers take on a range of managerial responsibilities to keep their office and its employees functioning effectively. They are normally responsible for setting out the procedures and processes which the admin staff adhere to.
Administrative assistant job description – conclusion
Most industries across the UK require skilled individuals to take care of their daily administrative tasks, making administrative assistants in high-demand across the nation from a wide range of industries and employers.
The role offers a healthy salary, good benefits and varied day-to-day responsibilities, as well as plenty of room for career progression.