Office Manager or Administrator

Office managers and administrators undertake a range of functions to ensure the smooth operation of the administration activities within an organization or office.

Office managers are responsible for facilitating the efficient functioning of an office through a range of administrative, clerical, financial and managerial tasks. Their responsibilities may include the management of human resources, budgets, accommodation and property facilities and records.

Office managers may be required to organise meetings, arrange appointments, type, book transport and accommodation, order stationery and furniture, deal with correspondence, complaints and queries, prepare letters, presentations and reports, supervise and monitor the work of secretarial, clerical and administrative staff. They also need to manage office budgets, liaise with staff, suppliers and clients, implement and maintain procedures / office administrative systems, delegate tasks to junior employees and organise induction programmes for new employees.  Other responsiblities may include ensuring that health and safety policies are up-to-date using a range of software packages, handling staff recruitment and appraisals, attending meetings with senior management and keeping personnel records.

They supervise and coordinate activities of staff, interview job applicants and conduct orientation programmes for new employees, administer salaries and determine leave entitlements, are involved in staff training and development, the preparation of job descriptions, staff assessments and promotions.

Other duties are to:

  • prepare annual estimates of expenditure
  • maintain budgetary and inventory controls
  • locate suitable accommodation and negotiate reasonable leasing agreements
  • make recommendations to management
  • maintain management information systems (manual or computerised)
  • provide and maintain accommodation and other facilities including plant and equipment
  • provide secretarial or executive services

Important skills for office managers are reliability, adaptability, good interpersonal skills, organisational skills, communication skills, IT skills and problem-solving skills

Personal Requirements

  • able to supervise
  • good oral and written communication skills
  • good interpersonal skills
  • aptitude for figures, preferably some accounting experience
  • well organised
  • reliable

How to Enter

Schooling & School Subjects

  • National Senior Certificate meeting degree requirements for a degree course
  • National Senior Certificate meeting diploma requirements for a diploma course
Each institution has its own entry requirements.

What to Study

Degree: some universities offer a BAdmin degree, alternatively most universities offer BA degrees, majors recommended: Business Administration, an official language, Psychology, Industrial Psychology, Sociology, Communication, Public Administration, Political Science, Economics and/or Business Economics.

Diploma: most universities of technology offer diplomas in Office Management - CPUT, CUT, DUT, TUT, UNISA.

A course in Office Administration is available at FET colleges, e.g. Flavius Mareka, False Bay, KZN Coastal, Northlink, S and Northern Cape, Tshwane South, Umgungundlovu.

A CIS (Chartered Institute of Secretaries) is a very useful diploma to obtain if you wish to pursue this type of career, e.g. DUT.

Some office managers are promoted from accounting, bookkeeping or secretarial positions and gain skills on the job. In some cases they are required to attend regular training courses in office procedures and information technology. Various government departments offer further in-service training. Training is also available in the Defence Force - Air Force, Army and Navy.


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

Further Information

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 SA
The Head
252 Rosmead Avenue
Tel: (021) 761-6211

Getting Started

  • arrange to speak to office managers and ask permission to observe them at work
  • try to obtain work in an administration department of a large organisation

Programmes by Study Institutions

Related Occupations

A PACE Career Centre Product. © All rights reserved | Developed by Netgen (Pty) Ltd. Disclaimer: Please see disclaimer