Yukon WorkFutures

Administrative assistants

NOC 1241 / RANK 3


What They Do

Secretaries and clerks perform a variety of administrative duties in support of managerial and professional employers. They are employed in offices throughout the public and private sectors.

Many businesses and organizations require clerks who ensure that records are properly kept and office equipment is used efficiently. Most of these clerks perform general clerical duties, although some have specialized tasks, or concentrate on one area of work.

General office clerks, typists, receptionists and file clerks are employed in offices in various government departments or agencies, in schools, in businesses, and in corporations.

Main Duties

Secretaries are responsible for information management. They make sure information gets to the people who need it, and they store and organize information so that it can be found easily.

They may do some or all of the following tasks:

  • Type correspondence, reports, invoices and related material on a computer
  • Use word-processing or desktop publishing software to format text drafted by others and prepare it for broader circulation
  • Prepare presentation materials
  • Prepare routine correspondence
  • Compile data, statistics and other information
  • Assist committees by taking minutes using laptop computers and/or recording software
  • Open and distribute incoming email and other correspondence
  • Do Internet searches
  • Answer telephone inquiries and relay telephone calls
  • Set up and maintain filing systems
  • Schedule and confirm their employer's appointments and meetings
  • Greet visitors and direct them to the appropriate person or department
  • Handle routine invoicing and payments
  • Order office supplies
  • Supervise other office workers
  • Sort and file material, and retrieve it as required
  • Executive secretaries and assistants are often called upon to provide their employers with strategic feedback, corporate history and advice, and time-management assistance.

Working Conditions

There are many secretaries and clerks employed in almost every type of business and in all government agencies and departments. They are primarily responsible for managing office paperwork and keeping track of information. They need to know how to use a variety of office machines such as computers, scanners, photocopiers, fax machines, and business telephone systems.

These workers generally work in comfortable, well-designed office settings during regular office hours. Some evening, weekend, or shift work may be required.

These positions have changed with technological change, becoming more general with fewer specializations. For example, receptionists may have fewer typing duties than in former times, but carry other clerical responsibilities on an office administration team. School secretaries, for example, have duties that are geared towards school activities, projects and programs.

Some secretaries and clerks are the “front-line face” of the organization and need excellent communication skills for customers and clients. Others are involved in more information-management roles such as filing, updating databases or processing forms.

How Do I Get There

Most employers in this field prefer applicants with a high school diploma and courses in English, business and computer software programs.

The certificate-level office administration program at Yukon College includes administrative assistant and general office assistant options. The diploma-level business administration program provides training that teaches skills for more executive secretarial positions.

Office administration courses are offered online through many universities and colleges. For example, an Administrative Assistant Online course is offered through Capilano University in Vancouver, and an office administration diploma is offered online through a collaboration between Red Deer College, SAIT and Keyano College.