what is an office assistant?

An office assistant is in charge of running the everyday operations in a company. Their standard duties and responsibilities may include taking notes or typing during meetings, receiving calls and relaying information. Office assistants can work across several industries for different kinds of businesses.

Your duties and responsibilities as an office assistant vary depending on the company you work for since they all have different needs. Essentially, you support managers and workers so that their operations run seamlessly, whether it is making copies of documents or answering and transferring calls.

what does an office assistant do?

As an office assistant, you report to the office manager to offer them administrative support. However, you also need to support other office workers to help them send files digitally or physically, or make copies of documents for them. Excellent communication skills and a pleasant personality are highly valued for this job position.

Would working as an office assistant suit your interest in working in a busy office environment? Then read on to find out what competencies and qualifications you need to thrive in an office assistant role.

office assistant jobs

average salary of an office assistant

According to ONS, an office assistant earns an average salary of £24,000 per year. Some employers pay hourly rates of £12.30. When you are new to the role, your compensation starts as low as £21,500 per year. The upper salary range of the role is £33,500 annually. Some industries pay office assistants more depending on the complexity of the role. You also have numerous opportunities for growing your earnings with overtime hours and bonuses.

what factors affect your salary as an office assistant?

Education, skills and work experience determine your salary range. You are likely to earn higher when you have impressive qualifications since you can handle complex responsibilities. Having work experience in a busy office environment indicates you have transferrable skills, and your compensation package will reflect your skill level. The company size also influences your earnings. Established businesses have better hourly rates compared to small businesses. Large companies usually have a larger budget and can afford to pay more than start-ups with limited budgets.

two smiling females having a conversation
two smiling females having a conversation

types of office assistants

The types of office assistants depend on the business sector they work in and specific roles. Some common types of office assistants include:

  • medical office assistant: as an office assistant in healthcare centres, you assist with administrative duties like payroll and preparing schedules. You also direct patients to the correct rooms and retrieve patient records and lab results for doctors. Sometimes, you sit at the reception to welcome visitors.
  • legal office assistant: as an office assistant, you assist the legal secretary and other lawyers with administrative duties. You also receive phone calls and reply to emails and messages from clients.
  • school office assistant: as an office assistant in an educational institution, you assist the school administrator with preparing work schedules and payroll activities. You also direct visitors to the right offices.


working as an office assistant

The job of an office assistant is diverse and dynamic, making it a rewarding career to explore. Read on to find out about an office assistant's specific duties and responsibilities.


education and skills

The role of an office assistant is entry-level and requires minimal post-secondary qualifications. For instance, you can join the role without any post-secondary education if you have prior experience in administrative functions. You can also join through a Level 2 or 3 certificates in business and administration. Apprenticeship programmes are available for advanced business administrators, and you learn as you work.

skills and competencies

The qualities you need for an office assistant role include:

  • flexibility: as an office assistant, your role is dynamic and requires flexibility. It encompasses different duties, and you need a can-do attitude to take on tasks that crop up during the day. Flexibility helps you handle issues in real-time and hit deadlines in time-sensitive projects.
  • excellent communication skills: solid interpersonal skills are important for office assistants. Your communications skills should be exceptional since you interact with various people throughout the day. The employer needs to trust that you will respond professionally every time you pick up a call.
  • working with minimal supervision: as an office assistant, you should be able to work independently. You need to manage your schedule and be proactive in tackling issues that arise immediately.
  • detail-oriented: as an office assistant, you juggle multiple duties and handle various documents. Having a perfectionist mindset helps you double-check every email and document to avoid costly and embarrassing mistakes.
two colleagues having a meeting at the office
two colleagues having a meeting at the office


FAQs about working as an office assistant

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