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Civil service administrative officers form the biggest group of UK government staff. They're responsible for day-to-day operational work that keeps the country running smoothly.

What does a civil service administrator do? Typical employers | Qualifications and training | Key skills

Tasks can vary massively according to the department and the role within it. Job titles can vary too: the title 'administrative officer' refers to a pay grade rather than a specific job. So, while there's likely to be administration involved in the job, there are many other tasks involved too.

These could include:

  • liaising with customers and following up their queries
  • processing payments
  • research
  • updating databases and other information sources
  • handling complaints.

Many civil service administrative officers work in London, but there are plenty of roles outside the capital too – in 2019, 15 per cent of administrative officers worked in the north-west and 12 per cent were based in Scotland. As you progress in your Civil Service career, you're likely to need to move to London, as the majority of senior posts are based there.

Pay is likely to start at around £18,000, and you'll be eligible for yearly bonuses. Salaries vary widely across government departments: the Institute for Government carries out research into this along with other trends in Civil Service jobs.

Most people in administrative officer roles work regular hours, although, as with other public sector employers, there may be opportunities for flexible working. Continual professional development and training are important: the Civil Service has its own training college in London, and you can attend courses there or at regional offices.

Typical employers of civil service administrators

  • Government departments
  • Executive agencies

Jobs are advertised on the civil service website and on local and national job sites. The Civil Service graduate scheme – known as the Fast Stream – opens for new applications every autumn, and you can explore and apply for these roles online.

Qualifications and training required

There are routes into a Civil Service career for both university graduates and school leavers.

You don't need a degree to become a civil service administrative officer, but the skills – particularly communication and organisation skills – you gain at university may strengthen your application.

Work experience in public service

To find out about how you can get into this career via a school leaver route (eg an apprenticeship or school leaver training programme) see the public sector section of TARGETcareers, our website aimed at school leavers.

Key skills for civil service administrators

  • logic
  • creativity
  • the ability to work with people from all backgrounds
  • IT skills
  • decisiveness
  • a mature attitude
  • great communication skills.

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