what is an administration assistant?

As an admin assistant, you are the backbone of the office. You monitor everything that happens in the office and support workers and customers. If you are stationed at the reception, you ensure customers and clients make their appointments by directing them to various offices. You also prepare schedules for meetings and ensure everyone receives company memos and emails.

Administrative assistants are organised and efficient people that ensure the whole office functions properly. You don't just carry out routine administrative and clerical tasks; you step in and solve problems that arise in the office. Your time management skills and attentiveness to detail are valuable in various business sectors and industries. That is why an admin assistant can efficiently work in hospitals, manufacturing firms or technology companies.

administration assistant job description

Some administration assistants are assigned to a specific executive or top-level manager. Your role is to provide support and complete all routine clerical tasks for your employer, including making travel arrangements, managing their schedule and appointments and conducting any research related to their role.

While being an administrative assistant is an entry-level job, it provides a great learning experience. You will juggle numerous tasks, from providing customer service to liaising with suppliers and major clients of the organisation. Nowadays, admin assistants can also work remotely and give the same support to managers and office workers.

Would a career in administration as an administration assistant suit your organisation skills and attention to detail? Then read on to find out what competencies and qualifications you need to thrive in an administration assistant role.

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average salary of an administration assistant

According to National Careers, an administrative assistant's starting salary is £14,000 per year. When you build your experience and enhance your skills, you qualify for a salary of £28,000 per year. Apart from basic salary, an admin assistant also enjoys various benefits, including transport allowance and medical insurance. If you are a full-time assistant, your benefits may include paid vacation and contribution to a pension scheme. Working overtime and weekends is quite common, and you will enjoy overtime pay for the unsociable work hours. Some companies also offer incentives like end-year bonuses.

how to increase the salary of an administrative assistant

The salary of an administration assistant usually depends on the specific responsibilities and qualifications. For instance, you require training to understand medical terminology and codes if you work in a hospital. Even admin assistants in law offices need qualifications in law to perform their duties. If your role requires specialised training, you will earn more and enjoy additional benefits. Experience and transferrable skills also influence your salary. Administrative assistants with years of experience have more hands-on experience in running an office, and their skills warrant a higher compensation package than entry-level admin assistants. Geographical factors also affect your pay structure since urban settings with a higher demand for administration assistants pay more.

Womale in a black blazer, sitting at her desk.
Womale in a black blazer, sitting at her desk.

types of administration assistants

Some types of administrative assistants include:

  • executive administrative assistants: as an executive administrative assistant, you provide high-level support to top executives in a company. You handle complex responsibilities like reviewing company revenue and preparing reports for the chief executive officer or managing director. Sometimes, you have to supervise clerical staff in the organisation.
  • legal administration assistants: you prepare summons, motions and subpoenas under the supervision of a lawyer. It is important to understand legal procedures and terminology to excel in your role. You also review journals and assist in legal research, like verifying citations in legal briefs.
  • medical administrative assistants: your role is to assist physicians and surgeons in preparing reports. You also transcribe dictations and find medical histories for patients. You need to be familiar with medical codes, terminology and laboratory procedures.

working as an administration assistant

Administrative assistants support business functions by organising meetings and preparing schedules for managers. Check out the day-to-day tasks and your work settings in the role.


education and skills

If your career path guides you to an administrative assistant role, focus on gaining the following qualifications:

  • post-secondary education: entry-level administration assistant jobs require GCSE qualifications only. However, you have better chances of success in your career if you have post-secondary education. Find a certificate or diploma course to improve your knowledge and skills. Some relevant courses include Level 2 or 3 in business and administration and T Level in management and administration.
  • apprenticeship: an admin assistant can also join the career through the business administrator advanced apprenticeship. The apprenticeship requires 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 with English and maths. You will learn on the job as you complete your coursework.

skills and competencies

Some of the skills you need as an administration assistant include:

  • computer skills: as an admin assistant, you need basic computer literacy skills to write reports and complete data entry tasks. Knowledge in word processing, spreadsheets and databases is important.
  • organisational skills: working as an admin assistant involves juggling multiple tasks. You need to prioritise and schedule the tasks to avoid delays. You also manage calendars and schedules for various managers, and without organisational skills, you can mix up the schedules or leave out some clients in the appointment schedules.
  • attention to detail: as an administration assistant, it is crucial to complete your tasks without errors. For instance, your reports should have impeccable grammar and highlight accurate facts. When filing documents, being detail-oriented helps you avoid mistakes.
  • self-starter: you need to anticipate work issues and resolve problems before they escalate. Hence, you have to be a self-starter to use your initiative.

More information on what skills office admin employers are looking for can be found here.

two colleagues sitting and having conversation
two colleagues sitting and having conversation


FAQs about working as an administration assistant

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