To think that administration workers get undervalued?

(23 Posts)
chocolatesolveseverything Sun 10-Mar-13 16:14:59

Due to the particular twists and turns of my career, I've never had a job which was entirely 'administrative' in nature, but I have both recruited for and managed office administration staff on various occasions. Some have been wonderful, and some not quite as great. Because of that I've really learnt to appreciate having someone there who's organised, efficient, anticipates tasks in advance, capable of producing great quality work, communicates well, etc.

But time and again both inside and outside work I come across some people who regard these jobs as expendable and unskilled. For example, I've just had to respond to a work email from a someone who's very much of the view that minute-taking, typing up reports, etc are 'basic' tasks that could be handled by absolutely anyone assuming they had a small amount of training. My attempts to explain that taking concise and accurate minutes in a senior management meeting containing up to 20 individuals is a skilled rather than a 'basic' task is falling on deaf ears so far!

Me and my colleagues will bring them round eventually I'm sure smile but it's just irritated me this afternoon. Why does administrative/secretarial work get undervalued so often??? I think our admin workers are worth their weight in gold when they do their jobs well!

TidyDancer Sun 10-Mar-13 16:18:56

Both DP and I work in 'senior' positions, he is a uni lecturer and I work in the NHS. We both will fully admit that without the fantastic admin staff who work with us, our jobs would be difficult, if not impossible.

YANBU. A good administrator is worth their weight in gold.

ChestyLeRoux Sun 10-Mar-13 16:20:04

I think administration is quite an easy job really.You get paid a higher wage than a lot of jobs that are significantly harder such as any type of care work.I think admin staff get quite a lot of respect.

fairylightsinthesnow Sun 10-Mar-13 16:20:43

yep, my mum has spent all her working life doing office admin, opening post, overseeing the photocopiers etc. She, very sadly, thinks she has done nothing important at all in her life - she wanted to be a nurse but was thwarted for various reasons. In one company she worked for, city types on 6 figure salaries would stand around being unproductive for many lucrative minutes trying and failing to make the photocopier work and then would be rescued by my mum changing the toner or something.

Totally agree. I've always had roles which would be regarded as more senior but without the junior administration members of the teams I've been in I'd be lost, my mind just doesn't cope with administrative tasks. It bugs me when people speak about "just admin work". Try coping without it...

TidyDancer Sun 10-Mar-13 16:25:35

Chesty - I would respectfully disagree with that. Administration is NOT an easy job. Care work should be higher paid, but it's not really a comparable occupation. It's hard in a different way.

Admin staff are woefully short on respect ime, where as (to use your example) care workers are not.

ChestyLeRoux Sun 10-Mar-13 16:29:59

I am an ex administrator.I went to secretarial college and have worked in military, social services etc.I had loads of respect from people for it. People think your clever as you work in an office ime. Now I work in care totally the other way round. Its seen as the uneducated option even though its considerably harder imo.

yaimee Sun 10-Mar-13 16:31:33

tidy although I agree that they aren't comparable jobs and that both are undervalued, you're having a laugh to say that care workers are respected!

ThePinkOcelot Sun 10-Mar-13 16:36:37

Admin workers/secretarial staff are definitely under valued IMO and IME! I'm a secretary and worked very hard to get where I am, but unfortunately, due to previous redundancy I am on less wages now than I have ever been.
I challenge the person who thinks taking concise, accurate minutes is a basic task, to actually go in to the meeting and take them!

TidyDancer Sun 10-Mar-13 16:37:05

No yaimee, I'm not. Financially they may not be treated correctly, but amongst colleagues and the majority of the public, I know they are well regarded.

ChestyLeRoux Sun 10-Mar-13 16:39:13

Really never heard of that tidy? If you work in hair or care your not very clever, if you are a nurse or work in an office your clever. My school teacher used to say that all the time.

TidyDancer Sun 10-Mar-13 16:42:25

Academic requirement is another thing entirely. I don't equate that with grading whether a job is hard or not. And no, I had never heard that, is it actually a proper saying? Or just something someone said to you?

chocolatesolveseverything Sun 10-Mar-13 16:43:09

Interesting responses so far. Glad to see that it's not me just being daft!

Regarding care workers, I would agree that this is another profession which gets undervalued within society in general, but today my rant was on behalf of the admin workers grin

yaimee Sun 10-Mar-13 16:46:50

I don't agree, having worked as a care worker, cleaner and admin staff I can tell you first hand that I felt much more well respected in my admin role.
I felt I was afforded a similar amount of respect as a cleaner and a carer.
Not to mention, due to some absolutely horrifying behaviour on the part of some care workers and the recent exposure of this in the media, care workers have an awful rep at the moments.
Comments like 'pay peanuts, get monkeys' are directed at care workers all too often.

ChestyLeRoux Sun 10-Mar-13 16:48:20

I am talking about it being regarded and respected. My teacher always used to say your in the higher sets you dont want to do hair or care type jobs, you could all do something much better such as secretary or nurse. I was always told that at school because its seen as being much more successful. Its also pretty well paid for what you have to do.

KatyTheCleaningLady Sun 10-Mar-13 16:48:20

How much does administration work pay?

I did it in the USA. It was okay, but didn't pay great.

I make pretty good money as a cleaner, but I don't get paid holidays or sick days because I'm self employed. That's why I charge about £15 an hour. I don't know if admin would be better, but I like being self employed.

StephaniePowers Sun 10-Mar-13 16:49:56

It's worth saying that the people who employ bad administrators (ie can't differentiate a good one from a bad one) are probably showing as much disrespect to the job as the poor bloody person who's got to complain about not being able to get anything done because they are correcting admin errors.

BegoniaBampot Sun 10-Mar-13 16:56:04

Agree that traditionally people working in office based type jobe get a lot more respect than hairdressers, care assistants and cooks etc. 'Brighter kids were directed to non manual type jobs and those considered less able for manual. Admin and office work just ain't sexy or that interesting though necessary.

TeaOneSugar Sun 10-Mar-13 16:57:55

I work in the NHS we couldn't function without our fantastic admin staff and wherever possible develop them into project roles where their skills are a massive bonus.

However, in other areas of the NHS they do tend to be considered as separate to the main team and can struggle to escape the admin label.

FiveGoMadInDorset Sun 10-Mar-13 16:59:34

I love my admin job and it seems to be being developed as I take on more roles.

needsadviceplease Sun 10-Mar-13 17:22:25

It's a similar thing, with the different types of disrespect shown to both care and admin work: "women's jobs"!

redwellybluewelly Sun 10-Mar-13 17:37:16

With every job ive had I have always made a huge effort to find out who the key players were in my admin support team and be polite, nice and respectful to them.

Too often I see staff being rude or dismissive of admin staff but then demanding notes typed up or urgent help to fix problems.

YANBU OP.

thereonthestair Sun 10-Mar-13 17:43:02

I have always felt admin workers are vital. I deal a lot with a set of clinics for my son, the administrator Natalie is fantastic, she's the one who makes it all run smoothly for everyone else, and boy I notice it when she is not there.

My own pa would run my life if I'd let her!

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