Administration Manager

Administrative managers perform a broad range of duties in virtually every sector of the economy. They coordinate and direct support services to organisations as diverse as insurance companies, computer manufacturers and government offices.

Administration managers organise the many services that allow for efficient operation, such as secretarial and reception, administration, payroll, conference planning and travel, information and data processing, mail, materials scheduling and distribution, printing and reproduction, records management, telecommunications management, security, parking, personal property procurement, supply and disposal.

Specific duties for these managers vary depending on the degree of responsibility and authority. First-line administrative services managers directly supervise members of staff that perform various support services.

Mid-level managers, on the other hand, develop departmental plans, set goals and deadlines, implement procedures to improve productivity and customer service and define the responsibilities of supervisory-level managers. Some mid-level administrative services managers oversee first-line supervisors from various departments, including the clerical staff. They may be involved in the hiring and dismissal of employees, but they generally have no role in the formulation of personnel policy. Some of these managers advance to upper level positions

As the size of the firm increases, administrative managers are more likely to specialise in specific support activities. For example, some administrative services managers work primarily as office managers, contract administrators or unclaimed property officers. In many cases, the duties of these administrative services managers are similar to those of other managers and supervisors.

Dee to the range of administrative services required by organisations, the nature of these managerial jobs also varies significantly. Administration managers who work as contract administrators, for instance, oversee the preparation, analysis, negotiation and review of contracts related to the purchase or sale of equipment, materials, supplies, products or services. In addition, some administrative services managers acquire, distribute and store supplies, while others dispose of surplus property or oversee the disposal of unclaimed property.

Most administration managers work a standard 40-hour week. However, uncompensated overtime is frequently required to resolve problems and meet deadlines. They may be “on call” at times to address a variety of problems that can arise in a department during non-working hours.

Personal Requirements

  • organisational skills
  • time management skills
  • good communication and writing skills
  • problem-solving skills
  • planning skills
  • computer literacy, with word processing skills
  • tolerant, helpful and friendly
  • aptitude for figures

How to Enter

Schooling & School Subjects

Minimum entry: National Senior Certificate (Matric) 
Compulsory subjects: None
Recommended subjects: MathematicsAccounting, Business Studies, Economics.  

Each institution has its own entry requirements.

What to Study

Degree: Most universities offer a BAdmin degree, alternatively a BA degree, with such majors as: Business Administration, an official language, Psychology, Industrial Psychology, Sociology, Communication, Public Administration, Political Science, Economics and/or Business Economics. Public Administration is offered at NMMU, UFH, UWC, UV and UNISA.

Diploma: Most universities of technology offer diplomas in Public Management and a CIS can be very useful in this career. - e.g. CPUT, TUT.

Many administration officers gain skills on the job and many will be required to attend regular training courses on office procedures and information technology. Various government departments offer further in-service training. Training is also available in the Defence Forces - Air Force, Army and Navy.


  • most commercial firms and large industrial organisations
  •  banks and building societies
  •  government departments

Further Information

South African Council for Administrators
P. O. Box 37493
Tel: 076 195 8342

The Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators (ICSA)
Riviera Road Office Park (Block C)
6 – 10 Riviera Road
Killarney, 2193
Johannesburg, South Africa
Tel: (011) 551-4000

Institute of Administration and Commerce of South Africa
Glosderry, 7702
252 Rosmead Avenue
Tel: (021) 761-6211

Getting Started

  •  talk to an administrative manager or officer / / personnel officer about their work
  •  try to obtain work in an administration department of a large organisation

Programmes by Study Institutions

Related Occupations

What does an administration manager do?


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