Secretaries perform secretarial, clerical and other administrative tasks in support of Managers, Legal Professionals and other professionals.

A Certificate III including at least 2 years of on-the-job training, or a Certificate IV, or at least 3 years of relevant experience is required to work in this job. Around one third of Secretaries have Year 12 as their highest level of education. Even with a qualification, sometimes experience or on-the-job training is needed.

Tasks

  • liaising with other staff to arrange meetings, and to gain and provide information
  • preparing reports, briefing notes and correspondence, and proofreading work for typographical and grammatical errors
  • maintaining appointment diaries and making travel arrangements
  • processing incoming and outgoing mail, filing correspondence and maintaining records
  • answering telephone calls, responding to inquiries and redirecting callers
  • taking and transcribing dictation of letters and other documents
  • greeting visitors, ascertaining nature of business and directing visitors to appropriate persons
  • may implement management decisions and maintain records of meetings
  • may handle bookkeeping and petty cash functions

Job Titles

  • Secretary (General)
  • Legal Secretary
  • Secretary (General)

    Performs secretarial, clerical and other administrative tasks in support of Managers and Professionals.

  • Legal Secretary

    Performs secretarial, clerical and other administrative tasks in support of Legal Professionals applying knowledge of legal terminology, procedures and documents.

Fast Facts

  • Avg. Weekly Pay

    $993 Before Tax
  • Future Growth

    decline
  • Skill Level

    Certificate III or IV
  • Employment Size

    48200
  • Unemployment

    below average
  • Male Share

    4.2%
  • Female Share

    95.8%
  • Full-Time Share

    44.5%

Find Vacancies

This is a very large occupation employing 48,200 workers. Over the past 5 years the number of jobs has fallen.
A fall in the number of jobs is expected in the future. New jobs and turnover from workers leaving may create between 10,001 and 25,000 job openings over the 5 years to 2020.

  • While there are jobs in many parts of Australia, New South Wales has a large share of Secretaries.
  • They work in many industries. Some of the main industries are: Professional, Scientific and Technical Services; Construction; and Other Services.
  • Part-time work is very common. Full-time workers, on average, work 35.0 hours per week (compared to the all jobs average of 40 hours).
  • Average earnings for full-time workers are around $993 per week (below the all jobs average of $1,230). Earnings tend to be lower when starting out and higher as experience grows.
  • The workforce is fairly mature. The average age is 48 years (compared to the all jobs average of 40 years) and around 6 in 10 workers are aged 45 years or older.
  • More than 9 in 10 workers are female.
  • In 2016, the unemployment rate was below average.

Employment Outlook

Number of Workers

Source: ABS Labour Force Survey, Department of Employment trend data to November 2015 and Department of Employment projections to 2020.
YearNumber of Workers
2005117300
2006105100
2007115000
200897400
200987600
201072500
201173500
201270900
201362600
201450100
201548200
202038400

Weekly Earnings

Full-time Earnings

All Jobs Average

Weekly Earnings (before tax)

Source: Based on ABS Characteristics of Employment survey, August 2015, Cat. No. 6333.0, Customised Report. Median earnings are before tax and do not include superannuation. Earnings can vary greatly depending on the skills and experience of the worker and the demands of the role. These figures should be used as a guide only, not to determine a wage rate.
EarningsSecretariesAll Jobs Average
Full-Time Earnings9931230

Hours

Weekly Hours Worked

Source: Based on ABS Labour Force Survey, annual average 2016, Cat. No. 6291.0.55.003: Customised Report. Hours actually worked by people who usually work full-time, and share of employment by full-time and part-time status, for this job compared to the all jobs average.
CategorySecretariesAll Jobs Average
Full-time44.568.4
Part-time55.531.6
Average Weekly Hours (full-time)3540

Main Industries

Top Industries

Main Employing Industries (% share)

Source: Based on ABS Labour Force Survey, annual average 2016, Cat. No. 6291.0.55.003: Customised Report. Industries are based on the Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification (ANZSIC 06).
Main Employing IndustriesIndustry (% share)
Professional, Scientific and Technical Services33.3
Construction12.3
Other Services8.7
Health Care and Social Assistance5.5
Other Industries40.2

States and Territories

  • NSW

  • VIC

  • QLD

  • SA

  • TAS

  • NT

  • ACT

Employment by State and Territory (% share)

Source: Based on ABS Labour Force Survey, annual average 2016, Cat. No. 6291.0.55.003: Customised Report. Share of workers across Australian States and Territories, in this job compared to the all jobs average.
StateSecretariesAll Jobs Average
NSW4931.8
VIC15.825.5
QLD15.719.8
SA6.56.8
WA8.411.2
TAS1.72
NT0.31.1
ACT2.71.8

Age Profile

Age Profile (% share)

Source: Based on ABS Labour Force Survey, annual average 2016, Cat. No. 6291.0.55.003: Customised Report. Age profile of workers in this job compared to the all jobs average.
Age BracketSecretariesAll Jobs AverageAll Jobs Average
15-190.9-5.45.4
20-246.8-9.99.9
25-3415.2-23.423.4
35-4419.4-21.721.7
45-5424.6-21.121.1
55-5913.3-8.78.7
60-6411.3-5.95.9
65 and Over8.6-3.83.8

Gender

Male Share

Female Share

Gender (% share)

Source: Based on ABS Labour Force Survey, annual average 2016, Cat. No. 6291.0.55.003: Customised Report. Male and female share of employment in this job compared to the all jobs average.
CategorySecretariesCategoryAll Jobs Average
Males4.2Males53.6
Females95.8Females46.4

Education Level

Top Education Levels

Highest Level of Education (% share)

Source: ABS, Education and Work (2016). Findings based on use of ABS TableBuilder data. Highest qualification completed by workers in this job (in any field of study). Skill level requirements can change over time, the qualifications needed by new workers might be different from the qualifications of workers already in the job.
Type of QualificationSecretariesAll Jobs AverageAll Jobs Average
Post Graduate/Graduate Diploma or Graduate Certificate0-8.68.6
Bachelor degree14.8-17.917.9
Advanced Diploma/Diploma15.8-10.110.1
Certificate III/IV13.8-18.918.9
Year 1228.9-18.718.7
Years 11 & 1026.6-17.717.7
Below Year 100-8.18.1

A Certificate III including at least 2 years of on-the-job training, or a Certificate IV, or at least 3 years of relevant experience is required to work in this job.
Around one third of Secretaries have Year 12 as their highest level of education. Even with a qualification, sometimes experience or on-the-job training is needed.

If you are interested in this style of work, there are a wide range of training options available that could lead to this or a similar job.
The pathway that is right for you will depend on your skills and interests.

It is a good idea to speak to industry bodies, employers, and workers to learn more about the skills and qualifications you will need.

Employers look for Secretaries who have good people skills, are reliable, trustworthy and responsible, with sound computer skills.

Knowledge

The topics, subjects, or knowledge areas workers rate as most important are shown below.

  1. Clerical

    92% Important

    Word processing, managing files and records, stenography and transcription, designing forms, and other office work.

  2. English Language

    82% Important

    English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.

  3. Customer and Personal Service

    78% Important

    Customer and personal services. This includes understanding customer needs, providing good quality service, and measuring customer satisfaction.

  4. Computers and Electronics

    70% Important

    Circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.

  5. Administration and Management

    66% Important

    Planning and coordination of people and resources.

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Learn about the daily activities, and physical and social demands faced by workers. Explore the values and work styles that workers rate as most important.

Activities

The work activities workers rate as most important are shown below.

  1. Interacting With Computers

    87% Important

    Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.

  2. Getting Information

    86% Important

    Looking for, getting and understanding different kinds of information.

  3. Performing Administrative Activities

    84% Important

    Doing day-to-day office work such as filing and processing paperwork.

  4. Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Staff

    80% Important

    Giving information to supervisors, co-workers, and staff by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.

  5. Building Good Relationships

    79% Important

    Building and keeping constructive and cooperative working relationships with others.

Occupational Information Network Executive Secretaries and Administrative Assistants Opens in a new window
O*NET is a trademark of the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration. The information on this site is derived from the US Department of Labor O*NET Database Version 21.2

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