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Thursday, 24 April 2014

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Leading the office team

OFFICE managers organise all of the administrative activities that facilitate the smooth running of an office. The role is very similar to that of an administrator or senior secretary.
In a smaller organisation, the office manager could be responsible for arranging meetings and typing documents. In a larger organisation these duties would be taken up by the administrative personnel and the office manager’s role would be more supervisory in nature.
In general, tasks typically include arranging travel, organising meetings and appointments, dealing with post and emails, workload planning, supervising the work of clerical and secretarial staff, controlling the office budget, dealing with complex queries and complaints and organising office maintenance and repair work.
Salary and Conditions
RANGE of typical starting salaries: £17,000-£33,000. Range of typical salaries at senior level or with considerable experience is around £20,000-£45,000. The level of starting salary offered will largely depend on the size and type of organisation.
Working hours are typically nine to five, although office managers are often expected to come in early and work late during busy periods. There is scope for flexible working, although most office managers hold full-time positions.
Compared with other managerial groups, a high percentage, around 54 per cent, of women are employed as office managers.
Entry Requirements
ALTHOUGH this area of work is open to all graduates, a degree in business administration, computing and IT or social administration/public administration may increase your chances.
Although this area of work is open to all diploma holders, subjects such as business management, business with languages and politics/government/public administration,   may improve your chances.
Although some employers do prefer graduates, others may consider candidates with relevant HND or foundation degree qualifications. Entry without these is possible for those who possess relevant skills and work experience.
It is unlikely that graduates would be able to secure a job as an office manager immediately after graduation. Although rare, an assistant office manager post may be more appropriate.
A pre-entry postgraduate qualification is not necessary, but may be considered desirable by some employers.
Candidates are often expected to have at least two years’ experience of working in an office. Graduates should try to increase their skills through undertaking a period of office-based work experience. Short-term administrative contracts can often be gained through recruitment agencies; this can be a useful way to pick up office skills and gain necessary experience.
Potential candidates will need to show evidence of good oral and written communication skills; reliability; initiative; problem-solving skills; project management ability; good IT skills including word processing, database and spreadsheet skills; and organisational ability.
Candidates may also need to demonstrate that they understand employment legislation.
Training
TRAINING is usually provided via in-house, regional and national training courses and seminars. An induction programme is also usually offered to new members of staff.
In the first five years of employment, an office manager’s duties are likely to increase and become more diverse and it is usual for the employer to organise the appropriate training to support this role development.
Typical training courses may include health and safety, supervisory management, project management, and specific IT courses.
Career Development
WITHIN the first five years or so, office managers will typically develop their role by taking on more responsibilities. Extra duties could include managing more members of staff, taking responsibility for staff training and development, and taking a more active role in senior management decisions, including input into strategic decisions.

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