General Office Clerks

Summary

general office clerks image
General office clerks perform a variety of administrative tasks, such as copying and scanning documents.
Quick Facts: General Office Clerks
2015 Median Pay $29,580 per year
$14.22 per hour
Typical Entry-Level Education High school diploma or equivalent
Work Experience in a Related Occupation None
On-the-job Training Short-term on-the-job training
Number of Jobs, 2014 3,062,500
Job Outlook, 2014-24 3% (Slower than average)
Employment Change, 2014-24 95,800

What General Office Clerks Do

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

Work Environment

Although general office clerks are employed in nearly every industry, many work in schools, healthcare facilities, and government offices. About 1 in 4 worked part time in 2014.

How to Become a General Office Clerk

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

Pay

The median hourly wage for general office clerks was $14.22 in May 2015.

Job Outlook

Employment of general office clerks is projected to grow 3 percent from 2014 to 2024, slower than the average for all occupations. Overall job opportunities should be good, however, because of the need to replace workers who leave the occupation. Candidates who have a combination of work experience and knowledge of computer applications should have the best job prospects.

State & Area Data

Explore resources for employment and wages by state and area for general office clerks.

Similar Occupations

Compare the job duties, education, job growth, and pay of general office clerks with similar occupations.

More Information, Including Links to O*NET

Learn more about general office clerks by visiting additional resources, including O*NET, a source on key characteristics of workers and occupations.

What General Office Clerks Do

General office clerks
General office clerks type, format, or edit routine memos.

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 processes application materials and answers questions from prospective students. A clerk at a hospital files and retrieves medical records.

Work Environment

General office clerks
General office clerks work in offices.

General office clerks held about 3.1 million jobs in 2014. The industries that employed the most general office clerks were as follows:

Healthcare and social assistance 12%
Educational services; state, local, and private 12
Administrative and support services 10
Government 9

General office clerks usually work in office settings.

Work Schedules

Many general office clerks work full time. About 1 in 4 clerks worked part time in 2014.

How to Become a General Office Clerk

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

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 particularly helpful.

Training

General office clerks usually learn their skills while on the job. Their training typically lasts up to 1 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 executive secretaries and executive administrative assistants.

Advancement opportunities often depend on work experience and the knowledge of computer applications, such as word processing and spreadsheet software.

Important Qualities

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

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

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

Pay

General Office Clerks

Median hourly wages, May 2015

Total, all occupations

$17.40

Office and administrative support occupations

$15.96

General office clerks

$14.22

 

The median hourly wage for general office clerks was $14.22 in May 2015. 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 $9.06, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $23.34.

In May 2015, the median hourly wages for general office clerks in the top industries in which they worked were as follows:

Government $16.11
Healthcare and social assistance 14.34
Educational services; state, local, and private 13.64
Administrative and support services 13.15

Many general office clerks work full time. About 1 in 4 worked part time in 2014.

Job Outlook

General Office Clerks

Percent change in employment, projected 2014-24

Total, all occupations

7%

General office clerks

3%

Office and administrative support occupations

2%

 

Employment of general office clerks is projected to grow 3 percent from 2014 to 2024, slower than the average for all occupations. Employment growth will vary by industry.

For example, healthcare facilities are expected to require more workers to handle administrative tasks related to billing and insurance processing as more people have access to health insurance and medical services. Additionally, further demand for clerical support in these facilities is expected as more baby boomers become eligible for Social Security and Medicare. Conversely, employment of general office clerks in government is projected to decline, as other workers are increasingly performing tasks that general office clerks used to do.

Some tasks of office clerks have been affected by technology. For example, many organizations maintain electronic documents or use automated phone systems, reducing the need for some general office clerks.

Job Prospects

Job prospects are expected to be good because of the need to replace workers who leave the occupation. Candidates who have a combination of work experience and knowledge of computer applications should have the best job prospects.

Employment projections data for general office clerks, 2014-24
Occupational Title SOC Code Employment, 2014 Projected Employment, 2024 Change, 2014-24 Employment by Industry
Percent Numeric

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

Office clerks, general

43-9061 3,062,500 3,158,200 3 95,800 [XLSX]

State & Area Data

Occupational Employment Statistics (OES)

The Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) program produces employment and wage estimates annually for over 800 occupations. These estimates are available for the nation as a whole, for individual states, and for metropolitan and nonmetropolitan areas. The link(s) below go to OES data maps for employment and wages by state and area.

Projections Central

Occupational employment projections are developed for all states by Labor Market Information (LMI) or individual state Employment Projections offices. All state projections data are available at www.projectionscentral.com. Information on this site allows projected employment growth for an occupation to be compared among states or to be compared within one state. In addition, states may produce projections for areas; there are links to each state’s websites where these data may be retrieved.

Career InfoNet

America’s Career InfoNet includes hundreds of occupational profiles with data available by state and metro area. There are links in the left-hand side menu to compare occupational employment by state and occupational wages by local area or metro area. There is also a salary info tool to search for wages by zip code.

Similar Occupations

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 2015 MEDIAN PAY
Bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks

Bookkeeping, Accounting, and Auditing Clerks

Bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks produce financial records for organizations. They record financial transactions, update statements, and check financial records for accuracy.

Some college, no degree $37,250
Customer service representatives

Customer Service Representatives

Customer service representatives interact with customers to handle complaints, process orders, and provide information about an organization’s products and services.

High school diploma or equivalent $31,720
Information clerks

Information Clerks

Information clerks perform routine clerical duties such as maintaining records, collecting data, and providing information to customers.

See How to Become One $32,050
Material recording clerks

Material Recording Clerks

Material recording clerks track product information in order to keep businesses and supply chains on schedule. They ensure proper scheduling, recordkeeping, and inventory control.

See How to Become One $26,240
Receptionists

Receptionists

Receptionists perform administrative tasks, such as answering phones, receiving visitors, and providing general information about their organization to the public and customers.

High school diploma or equivalent $27,300
Secretaries and administrative assistants

Secretaries and Administrative Assistants

Secretaries and administrative assistants perform clerical and administrative duties. They organize files, prepare documents, schedule appointments, and support other staff.

High school diploma or equivalent $36,500
Suggested citation:

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2016-17 Edition, General Office Clerks,
on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/ooh/office-and-administrative-support/general-office-clerks.htm (visited May 06, 2016).

Publish Date: Thursday, December 17, 2015