General Office Clerks


General office clerks perform a variety of clerical tasks, including answering telephones, typing documents, and filing records.

Duties

General office clerks typically do the following:

  • Answer and transfer telephone calls or take messages
  • Sort and deliver incoming mail and send outgoing mail
  • Schedule appointments and receive customers or visitors
  • Provide general information to staff, clients, or the public
  • Type, format, or edit routine memos or other reports
  • Copy, file, and update paper and electronic documents
  • Prepare and process bills and other office documents
  • Collect information and perform data entry

Rather than performing a single specialized task, general office clerks have responsibilities that often change daily with the current needs of the employer.

Some clerks file documents or answer phones; others enter data into computers or perform other tasks using software applications. They also frequently use photocopiers, scanners, fax machines, and other office equipment.

The specific duties assigned to clerks will depend on the type of office in which they work. For example, a general office clerk at a college or university may process application materials and answer questions from prospective students, while a clerk at a hospital may file and retrieve medical records.

General office clerks held about 3.2 million jobs in 2018. The largest employers of general office clerks were as follows:

Educational services; state, local, and private 12%
Healthcare and social assistance 11
Government 9
Administrative and support services 9
Professional, scientific, and technical services 8

General office clerks usually work in office settings.

Work Schedules

Most general office clerks work full time.

General office clerks typically need a high school diploma or equivalent and learn their skills on the job.

Education

General office clerks usually need a high school diploma or equivalent.

Courses in using computer applications, such as word processing and spreadsheet software, may be helpful for those who aren’t already familiar with them.

Training

General office clerks usually learn their skills while on the job. Their training typically lasts up to one month and may include instructions on office procedures, proper phone etiquette, and the use of office equipment.

Advancement

General office clerks may advance to other administrative positions with more responsibility, such as secretaries and administrative assistants.

Advancement opportunities often depend on work experience.

Important Qualities

Customer-service skills. General office clerks often provide general information to company staff, customers, or the public. They should be courteous and prompt with their responses.

Detail oriented. General office clerks perform many clerical tasks that require attention to detail, such as preparing bills.

Organizational skills. General office clerks file and retrieve records. They need to keep records organized to be able to access them quickly and efficiently.

The median hourly wage for general office clerks was $15.74 in May 2018.

The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $9.84, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $25.73.

In May 2018, the median hourly wages for general office clerks in the top industries in which they worked were as follows:

Government $17.60
Professional, scientific, and technical services 16.22
Healthcare and social assistance 15.55
Educational services; state, local, and private 14.63
Administrative and support services 14.54

Most general office clerks work full time.

General Office Clerks

Median hourly wages, May 2018

Total, all occupations

$18.58

Office and administrative support occupations

$17.19

General office clerks

$15.74

 

Employment of general office clerks is projected to decline 4 percent from 2018 to 2028.

Some office clerks will be needed to handle administrative duties related to complex billing and healthcare insurance processing, but the increasing use of technology that automates document preparation tasks will result in fewer general office clerks needed to perform the work. For example, many organizations maintain electronic documents or use automated phone systems, reducing the need for some general office clerks. In addition, electronic filing systems and file sharing software allow other office workers to do the tasks of general office clerks, further decreasing employment of office clerks.

Job Prospects

Job prospects are expected to be good because of the need to replace workers who leave the labor force or this large occupation.

Employment projections data for general office clerks, 2018-28
Occupational Title SOC Code Employment, 2018 Projected Employment, 2028 Change, 2018-28 Employment by Industry
Percent Numeric

SOURCE: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment Projections program

Office clerks, general

43-9061 3,158,500 3,047,800 -4 -110,600 Get data

This table shows a list of occupations with job duties that are similar to those of general office clerks.

Occupation Job Duties Entry-Level Education Median Annual Pay, May 2018

Bookkeeping, Accounting, and Auditing Clerks

Bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks produce financial records for organizations and check financial records for accuracy.

Some college, no degree $40,240

Customer Service Representatives

Customer service representatives interact with customers to handle complaints, process orders, and answer questions.

High school diploma or equivalent $33,750

Information Clerks

Information clerks perform routine clerical duties, maintain records, collect data, and provide information to customers.

See How to Become One $34,520

Material Recording Clerks

Material recording clerks track product information in order to keep businesses and supply chains on schedule.

High school diploma or equivalent $28,860

Receptionists

Receptionists do tasks such as answering phones, receiving visitors, and providing information about their organization to the public.

High school diploma or equivalent $29,140

Secretaries and Administrative Assistants

Secretaries and administrative assistants perform routine clerical and administrative duties.

High school diploma or equivalent $38,880

The Handbook does not have contacts for more information for this occupation.

O*NET

Office Clerks, General


Suggested citation:

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, General Office Clerks,
on the Internet at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/office-and-administrative-support/general-office-clerks.htm (visited ).


 

Tracey Lamphere

Tracey Lamphere, M.S. IMC is the editor of Job Affirmations, a publication that provides information and ideas to use mindfulness, positive affirmations, and visualizations to transform your career.

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