Admin roles – stepping stone or career?
Calm under pressure, unflappable when problems arise and trusted as a safe pair of hands − admins form the backbone of businesses and are heavily relied on to keep the cogs of the wheel turning. But despite the importance of their roles, these professionals can find themselves stuck in a rut, often struggling to have their contributions fairly valued.
A common misconception is that admin skills: (being organised, flexible and great at communicating for example) are skills that everyone possesses. However, that’s not quite true. Senior management often agrees; outstanding admin professionals are hard to find, and when you do, they quickly become indispensable.
If you’re an admin professional, or considering this field, you might be asking yourself: can I really make a successful career out of it, or is it just a stepping-stone?
Here we’ll look at ways you can progress or evolve your admin career.
For the beginner admins
A huge benefit of a career in admin is the wide range of transferrable skills you gain from working in one of these roles. If you’re just starting out, try to get a broad role that allows you to try different things and get involved in many areas of the business. Then, if you decide to move on or up, this will give you plenty of examples of transferable skills to share at interviews with potential employers.
For those who want to grow their career in admin
There are lots of different roles in admin, with differing levels of seniority and salary, so you don’t have to stay stuck. Here are a few*:
Customer Service Representative
National average salary: £21,929 per year
Customer Service Representatives work directly with customers, answering calls, resolving complaints, answering questions and processing orders, refunds, and exchanges. If you enjoy helping people and thrive in a busy environment, a job as a customer service representative could be a good fit.
Personal Assistant (PA)
National average salary: £32,212 per year
From fashion to investment banking, the charity sector to the arts world, every industry needs senior administrative staff. That’s where the PA comes in.
If you can keep all the plates spinning, have great organisational skills and also don't mind managing parts of your boss’ personal life, chances are you'd make a great PA to a CEO or other senior level staff. As a PA you'll help your manager make the best use of their time by dealing with administrative tasks.
Executive Assistant (EA)
National average salary: £40,809 per year
Whilst PA’s often work on a one-to-one basis, EA’s provide administrative support to several of a company's high-level executives, including its board. They manage their travel and schedules, organise meetings and prepare correspondence. This role also often involves project management, preparing agendas and monthly reporting.
National average salary: £33,511 per year
Office managers ensure the office runs smoothly on a day-to-day basis. They order office supplies, organise meetings and company events. Depending on the size of the organisation, they may also be involved in monitoring health and safety and assisting with HR and payroll.
*National average salaries from Glassdoor.co.uk
Admin roles as a stepping-stone to other careers
If you do want to move careers after a stint in admin, you have plenty of options. When looking to progress, admin professionals should leverage the power of the generalist.
As a first step, take stock of your personal and professional qualities. In what areas do you excel? Maybe you’re a strong communicator? Have you received positive feedback on your numerical, software or organisational skills? Maybe you’ve been involved in research projects or stood in for you manager at meetings?
Find examples of how you’ve used these skills in your admin role and highlight this on your CV and in interviews. Here are some roles those with a background in admin often move on to.
National Average Salary: £48,518 per year
Project managers are the ultimate multitaskers! They ensure a project is completed on time, within budget and that the project's objectives are met. They are responsible for the planning, management and coordination of a project. They delegate tasks to the project team and make sure everyone knows what they should be doing.
Human Resources (HR) Assistant
National average salary: £29,000 per year
HR Assistants help an HR department look after the company’s employees. They update employee records, assist with the recruitment and interview processes and answer employee questions.
HR Assistants are privy to their colleagues’ annual appraisal results, salaries, sick days information and cuts within an organisation. Needless to say, a trustworthy personality and discretionary skills are therefore crucial.
National average salary: £27,046 per year
An event organiser is responsible for planning, co-ordinating and delivering events for their clients. The type of event you’ll deliver will depend on where you work, but could range from conferences, product launches, company parties, exhibitions, charity events or even weddings. You’ll often work closely with suppliers, such as caterers, venues, printers, florists, and hotels.
With some companies you could have the opportunity to travel to big cities and exotic locations. This hands-on, behind-the-scenes role is not always glamourous, however. In fact, event planning is often ranked as a highly stressful job. Expect perks, yes, but also some late nights. You’ll need to be super organised, calm under pressure and not afraid to ‘dig in’ in this fast-paced role where things can change or go wrong at any minute!
National average salary: £31,798 per year
If you have a head for numbers and you’re a stickler for accuracy, maybe finance is for you? Finance officers help to manage the finances of an organisation by monitoring its income and spending. On a day-to-day basis you’ll deal with invoices, expenses, and payroll. You could also be producing monthly reports, provide financial forecasts and resolve payment questions for external contractors.
National average salary: £41,418 per year
If you love researching and working with data, consider joining a market-research agency. In this role, you'll assist in collecting, analysing and presenting data on consumer trends so a company can determine the best ways to target customers and develop new products and services.
National average salary: £25,000 per year
Working at a retail store, a Sales Associate helps customers find products. They also restock shelves, process payments, achieve department sales targets and provide excellent customer service.
*National average salaries from Glassdoor.co.uk
If you’re ready to start a new admin role, or progress in your current role, Manpower is here to help. With offices spread throughout the country, we have hundreds of temporary and permanent admin job opportunities available across a range of industries. Our experienced consultants are on hand to match your experience and skillset with suitable roles.
View all our job opportunities and apply for a role today.