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

  • $993 Weekly Pay
  • 44,800 workers Employment Size
  • Decline Future Growth
  • Medium skill Skill level rating
  • Average unemployment Unemployment
  • 51.1% Full-Time Full-Time Share
  • 36.3 hours Average full-time
  • 48 years Average age
  • 94.7% female Gender Share

The number of Secretaries fell over the past 5 years and is expected to fall over the next 5 years:
from 44,800 in 2017 to 33,600 by 2022.
There are likely to be around 11,000 job openings over this time from workers leaving and new jobs being created (a small number for an occupation of this size).

  • Size: This is a large occupation.
  • Unemployment: Unemployment was average in 2017.
  • Location: Secretaries work in most regions of Australia.
  • Industries: Most work in Professional, Scientific and Technical Services; Construction; and Health Care and Social Assistance.
  • Earnings: Full-time workers earn 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.
  • Full-time: More than half work full-time (51.1%, similar to the all jobs average of 68.4%), but there are many opportunites to work part-time.
  • Hours: Full-time workers spend around 36.3 hours per week at work (compared to the all jobs average of 40.0 hours).
  • Age: The average age is 48 years (compared to the all jobs average of 40 years). Many workers are 45 years or older (59%).
  • Gender: 94.7% of workers are female (compared to the all jobs average of 46.7%).

Employment Outlook

Number of Workers

Source: ABS Labour Force Survey, Department of Jobs and Small Business trend data to May 2017 and Department of Jobs and Small Business projections to 2022.
YearNumber of Workers
2007108500
2008109600
200988700
201078900
201175900
201273700
201365200
201456300
201548900
201649900
201744800
202233600

Weekly Earnings

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

Main Industries

Main Employing Industries (% Share)

Source: Based on ABS Labour Force Survey, annual average 2017, 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 Services36.0
Construction12.5
Health Care and Social Assistance7.7
Public Administration and Safety7.6
Other Industries36.2

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 2017, 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
NSW38.631.6
VIC23.326.2
QLD14.419.7
SA6.66.7
WA12.410.8
TAS1.52.0
NT1.21.1
ACT2.01.8

Age Profile

Age Profile (% Share)

Source: Based on ABS Labour Force Survey, annual average 2017, 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
15-191.7-5.25.2
20-2410.3-9.99.9
25-3410.4-23.623.6
35-4418.5-21.721.7
45-5427.4-20.820.8
55-5911.7-8.88.8
60-6410.0-6.06.0
65 and Over9.9-4.04.0

Education Level

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.

Before starting a course, check it will provide you with the skills and qualifications you need.

  • Compare undergraduate and postgraduate student experiences and outcomes on the QILT website.
  • Compare Vocational Education and Training (VET) courses, providers and student outcomes on the My Skills website.
  • You might be interested in Business Services VET training pathways on the AAPathways website.

The course listings on this page are provided by Good Education Group.

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

Knowledge

These are important topics, subjects or knowledge areas.

  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.

Occupational Information Network
O*NET is a trademark of the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration.
The importance ratings on this page are derived from the US Department of Labor O*NET Database Version 21.2, 43-6014.00 - Secretaries and Administrative Assistants, Except Legal, Medical, and Executive.

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

These are kinds of activities workers regularly do in this job.

  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
O*NET is a trademark of the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration.
The importance ratings on this page are derived from the US Department of Labor O*NET Database Version 21.2, 43-6014.00 - Secretaries and Administrative Assistants, Except Legal, Medical, and Executive.

go to top