Secretaries (General) perform secretarial, clerical and other administrative tasks in support of Managers and Professionals.
Liaises with other staff to arrange meetings, and to gain and provide information.
Prepares reports, briefing notes and correspondence, and proofreads work for typographical and grammatical errors.
Maintains appointment diaries and makes travel arrangements.
Processes incoming and outgoing mail, files correspondence and maintains records.
Answers telephone calls, responds to inquiries and redirects callers.
Takes and transcribes dictation of letters and other documents.
Greets visitors, ascertains nature of business and directs visitors to appropriate personal.
May implement management decisions and maintain records of meetings.
May handle bookkeeping and petty cash functions.
Vocational Education and Training (VET)
Informal or on-the-job
JSA produces employment projections to show where likely future job opportunities may be. Employment projections data are only produced for occupations at the broad four digit Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (ANZSCO) level. While data are not available for this occupation, projections data are available for the parent occupation, Secretaries, under the outlook section.
Earnings and hours
Around 42% of people employed as Secretaries (General) work full-time hours, in all their jobs combined. This is 24 percentage points below the all jobs average (66%).
Full-time workers work an average of 41 hours per week in their main job. This is similar to the all jobs average (44 hours per week).
Sources:Full-time share and full-time hours: ABS, 2016 Census, customised report. Compared to the all jobs average.
Employment across Australia
Employment by State and Territory (% Share)
|State||Secretaries (General)||All Jobs Average|
Around 41% of Secretaries (General) live outside of capital cities, compared with the all jobs average of 38%.
New South Wales has a large share of employment relative to its population size.
The regions with the largest share of workers are:
- Sydney - Inner South West
- Perth - North West
- Gold Coast
- Sydney - North Sydney and Hornsby
- Sydney - Baulkham Hills and Hawkesbury.
Source: Based on ABS Census 2016, Customised Report. Share of workers across Australian states, territories and regions, in this job compared to the all jobs average.
Age and gender
The median age of Secretaries (General) is 52 years. This is higher than the all jobs average of 40 years.
A large share of workers are aged 45 to 54 years.
Females make up 97% of the workforce. This is 49 percentage points above the all jobs average of 48%.
Source: Based on ABS Census 2016, Customised Report. Age profile and gender share compared to the all jobs average.
Age Profile (% Share)
|Age Bracket||Secretaries (General)||All Jobs Average|
|65 and Over||15.2||4.2|
Source: Based on ABS Census 2016, Customised Report. Age profile of workers in this job compared to the all jobs average.
Education, training and experience
Formal qualifications are not essential to work as a Secretary (General). Although some workers have a certificate III, IV or diploma in secretarial and clerical studies, business administration or another related field.
- My Skills to compare Vocational Education and Training (VET) courses, providers and student outcomes.
- AAPathways website to explore Business Services VET training pathways.
Highest Level of Education (% Share)
|Type of Qualification||Secretaries (General)||All Jobs Average|
|Post Graduate/Graduate Diploma or Graduate Certificate||3.8||10.1|
|Year 10 and below||25.8||12.5|
Source: ABS Census 2016, Customised Report. Highest qualification completed by workers in this job (in any field of study). Qualifications needed by new workers might be different from the qualifications of workers already in the job.
Skills and Knowledge
Employers look for Secretaries who have good people skills, are reliable, trustworthy and responsible, with sound computer skills.
Skills can be improved through training or experience.
Listening to others, not interrupting, and asking good questions.
Reading work related information.
Writing things for co-workers or customers.
Talking to others.
Thinking about the pros and cons of different ways to solve a problem.
Managing your own and other peoples' time to get work done.
Looking for ways to help people.
Being able to use what you have learnt to solve problems now and again in the future.
Keeping track of how well work is progressing so you can make changes or improvements.
Understanding why people react the way they do.
41%Coordination with others
Being adaptable and coordinating work with other people.
41%Judgment and decision making
Figuring out the pros and cons of different options and choosing the best one.
39%Complex problem solving
Noticing a problem and figuring out the best way to solve it.
39%Management of personnel resources
Motivating, developing, and directing people as they work, and choosing the best people for the job.
Teaching people how to do something.
Figuring out the best way to teach or learn something new.
Bringing people together and trying to sort out their differences.
Talking people into changing their minds or their behaviour.
Figuring out how a system should work and how changes in conditions, operations, and the environment will affect it.
21%Quality control analysis
Doing tests and checking products, services, or processes to make sure they are working properly.
These are important topics, subjects or knowledge areas.
Word processing, managing files and records, stenography and transcription, designing forms, and other office work.
60%Customer and personal service
Understanding customer needs, providing good quality service, and measuring customer satisfaction.
59%Computers and electronics
Circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
44%Administration and management
Business principles involved in strategic planning, leadership, and coordinating people and resources.
Arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, or statistics.
36%Education and training
Curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
33%Communications and media
Media production, communication, and dissemination. Includes written, spoken, and visual media.
33%Personnel and human resources
Recruiting and training people, managing pay and other entitlements (like sick leave), and negotiating pay and conditions.
32%Economics and accounting
Economics and accounting, the financial markets, banking and checking and reporting of financial data.
28%Public safety and security
Use of equipment, rules and ideas to protect people, data, property, and institutions.
27%Law and government
How our laws and courts work. Government rules and regulations, and the political system.
Human behaviour; differences in ability, personality, and interests; learning and motivation; research methods; assessing and treating disorders.
24%Production and processing
Raw materials, production processes, quality control, costs, and ways of making and distributing goods.
Describing land, sea, and air, including their physical characteristics, locations, how they work together, and the location of plant, animal, and human life.
Moving people or goods by air, rail, sea, or road.
20%Sales and marketing
Showing, promoting, and selling including marketing strategy, product demonstration, sales techniques, and sales control systems.
19%Philosophy and theology
Philosophical systems and religions, including their basic principles, values, ethics, ways of thinking, customs, practices, and impact on society.
17%Therapy and counselling
Diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation of physical and mental dysfunctions, and career counselling and guidance.
Transmission, broadcasting, switching, control, and operation of telecommunications systems.
Workers use these physical and mental abilities..
Listen to and understand what people say.
Communicate by speaking.
See details that are up-close (within a few feet).
Read and understand written information.
Write in a way that people can understand.
Identify and understand the speech of another person.
48%Sorting or ordering
Order or arrange things in a pattern or sequence (e.g., numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
Speak clearly so others can understand you.
Use general rules to find answers or solve problems logically.
Notice when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong, even if you can't solve the problem.
Come up with different ways of grouping things.
Use lots of detailed information to come up with answers or make general rules.
Pay attention to something without being distracted.
Do two or more things at the same time.
Come up with a number of ideas about a topic, even if the ideas aren't very good.
Remember things like words, numbers, pictures, and procedures.
Use your eyes to quickly compare groups of letters, numbers, pictures, or other things.
27%Flexibility of closure
See a pattern (a figure, object, word, or sound) hidden in other distracting material.
See details that are far away.
Put together small parts with your fingers.
These are kinds of activities workers regularly do in this job.
65%Planning and prioritising work
Deciding on goals and putting together a detailed plan to get the work done.
65%Building good relationships
Building good working relationships and keeping them over time.
59%Providing office support
Doing day-to-day office work such as filing and processing paperwork.
58%Communicating within a team
Giving information to co-workers by telephone, in writing, or in person.
57%Researching and investigating
Looking for, getting and understanding different kinds of information.
56%Collecting and organising information
Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or checking information or data.
53%Working with the public
Greeting or serving customers, clients or guests, and public speaking or performing.
50%Looking for changes over time
Comparing objects, actions, or events. Looking for differences between them or changes over time.
50%Keeping your knowledge up-to-date
Keeping up-to-date with technology and new ideas.
49%Making decisions and solving problems
Using information to work out the best solution and solve problems.
48%Working with computers
Using computers to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
48%Making sense of information and ideas
Looking at, working with, and understanding data or information.
47%Communicating with the public
Giving information to the public, business or government by telephone, in writing, or in person.
47%Monitoring people, processes and things
Checking objects, actions, or events, and keeping an eye out for problems.
46%Documenting or recording information
Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
46%Negotiating and resolving conflicts
Handling complaints and disagreements, and negotiating with people.
45%Checking compliance with standards
Deciding whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.
44%Helping and caring for others
Providing personal assistance, medical attention, or emotional support.
43%Scheduling work and activities
Working out the timing of events, programs, and activities, as well as the work of others.
38%Coordinating the work of a team
Getting members of a group to work together to finish a task.
Interests and demands
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.
Interests are the style or type of work we prefer to do. All interest areas are shown below.
Following set procedures and routines. Working with numbers and details more than with ideas, usually following rules.
Starting up and carrying out projects. Leading people and making many decisions. Sometimes require risk taking and often deal with business.
Working with people. Helping or providing service to others.
Working with forms, designs and patterns. Often need self-expression and can be done without following rules.
Practical, hands-on work. Often with plants and animals, or materials like wood, tools, and machinery.
Ideas and thinking. Searching for facts and figuring out problems in your head.
Supportive management that stands behind employees. Workers are treated fairly by their company, they are supported by management, and have supervisors who train them well.
Serve and work with others. Workers usually get along well with each other, do things to help other people, and are rarely pressured to do things that go against their sense of right and wrong.
Job security and good working conditions. There is usually a steady flow of interesting work, and the pay and conditions are generally good.
Results oriented. Workers are able to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment.
Work alone and make decisions. Workers are able to try out their own ideas, make decisions on their own, and work with little or no supervision.
Advancement and the potential to lead. Workers are recognised for the work that they do, they may give directions and instructions to others, and they are looked up to in their company and their community.
Talk on the telephone.
95%Contact with people
Have contact with people by telephone, face-to-face, or any other way.
Talk with people face-to-face.
Use electronic mail.
Have freedom to decide on tasks, priorities, and goals.
88%Indoors, heat controlled
Work indoors with access to heating or cooling.
87%Spend time sitting
Spend time sitting at work.
Work with people in a group or team.
86%Being exact or accurate
Be very exact or highly accurate.
84%Repeating same tasks
Repeat the same tasks or activities (e.g., key entry) over and over, without stopping.
83%Freedom to make decisions
Have freedom to make decision on your own.
81%Letters and memos
Write letters and memos.
Work to strict deadlines.
74%Contact with the public
Work with customers or the public.
73%Frequent decision making
Frequently make decisions that impact other people.
71%Impact of decisions
Make decisions that have a large impact on other people.
71%Lead or coordinate a team
Lead others to do work activities.
69%Making repetitive motions
Spend time making repetitive motions.
61%Physically close to people
Work physically close to other people.
60%Angry or unpleasant people
Deal with unpleasant, angry, or rude people.
O*NET is a trademark of the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration.
The skills and 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.