what is a clerk?

As a clerk, you complete most basic office roles alongside secretaries or administrative assistants. For instance, you enter data into a computer, sort mail, scan documents and file reports. Since you are a jack of all trades, you perform routine tasks or different daily functions, depending on your responsibilities. Your specific tasks also vary depending on the employer. For instance, in a marketing firm, your responsibilities differ from working in an office environment.

Clerks work in different settings, from retail and consultancy companies to hospitals, law firms and government offices. The tasks are closely related regardless of the work environment, but you need some industry-specific knowledge to excel in each role.

When you work in a small company, you juggle all the administrative and clerical tasks and ensure the office runs smoothly. However, large companies have specialised roles for clerks. For instance, you may be in charge of bookkeeping or data entry while admin assistants perform other administrative tasks.

To become successful in the role, you need good communication and computer skills. Since your work involves data entry, proficiency in Microsoft Office makes your job easier. Organisation skills also help you juggle most of the duties efficiently.

Would working as a clerk suit your ability to work efficiently and computer skills? Then read on to find out what competencies and qualifications you need to thrive in a clerk role.

clerk articles

average salary of a clerk

According to ONS, a clerk takes home a median salary of £23,400 annually or £12 per hour. The compensation package usually depends on the company structure and your responsibilities in the organisation. When you are a trainee with minimal experience, your salary starts at £21,054 per year. When you have additional years of experience or other qualifications, your earnings can increase to £30,000 per year.

Clerks are often paid overtime hours or rewarded in kind with extra holiday or leave days for working additional hours. Some companies also pay end-year bonuses and provide other allowances.

how to increase your salary as a clerk

Your compensation package depends on the business sector you work for and the roles you play. For instance, a medical clerk or legal clerk is likely to earn more than an office clerk. The former requires additional industry-specific knowledge. Accounts clerks take home a higher salary since they prepare financial accounts.

Your qualifications also influence your pay. While you can become a clerk with minimal post-secondary education, you need extra qualifications to command a higher salary. Sometimes, the location affects the pay structures due to fluctuations in demand. Urban centres have a high demand for clerks, and companies are willing to pay more.



employee conversation
employee conversation

types of clerks

Some types of clerks include:

  • accounts clerk: as a clerk in charge of bookkeeping, you maintain up-to-date financial records and prepare accounts as requested by the accountant. That includes dealing with sales invoices, receipts and payments.
  • data entry clerk: as a data entry clerk, you fill information into computer databases and systems. You ensure the company's documents and files are up to date. You also write letters, create reports and organise paperwork.
  • medical records clerk: your job is to update patient databases with the relevant information. You ensure the hospital has the correct personal information and medical records.
  • barristers' clerk: your job is to run and manage the barristers' offices. You file documents, handle correspondence and write emails to clients.

working as a clerk

Working as a clerk involves juggling multiple tasks, so you need multitasking abilities. If you enjoy working in a busy working environment, continue reading for details on the duties and schedules of clerks.


education and skills

A clerk doesn't need post-secondary education since most employers provide on-the-job training. However, if you want to perform specialist roles like bookkeeping or work in a barrister's office, you must complete a college course. For instance, a barrister's clerk may need a university degree in law or a diploma in applied law. If you want to work as a medical records clerk or an accounts clerk, you need a certificate or diploma course in business administration or bookkeeping.

You could join the profession through apprenticeship opportunities. The apprenticeship includes workplace and college training. You can find advanced business administration apprenticeship courses that take 12 to 18 months.

skills and competencies

Some of the skills and competencies of a clerk include:

  • written and verbal communication: as a clerk, you need expertise in communicating on the phone or in person. You should have the ability to strike up conversations with others and build stronger relationships. Written communication skills are essential for writing emails and reports.
  • computer skills: as a clerk, you need Microsoft Office expertise to complete your data entry tasks and prepare documents and presentations for your co-workers. Knowledge of task management software and company messaging systems can also help you maintain productivity.
  • detail-oriented skills: as a clerk, you need to identify mistakes on a project before sharing it with the team. That means you should be attentive to details when typing and proofreading documents. Some mistakes like mathematical errors in invoices can cause customer complaints.
  • time-management skills: your role involves juggling many tasks, and you need to be good at prioritising work to ensure deadlines are met. Time management skills assist with planning your time wisely and meeting deadlines.
  • organisational skills: as a clerk, you need to remain efficient and productive. That means you should organise your work schedule efficiently. You also have to file documents safely and organise any documents that need to be signed by managers.

smiling lady typing
smiling lady typing


FAQs about working as a clerk

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