Job descriptions and industry overviews

Records manager: job description

21 Jun 2023, 15:39

Records managers make sure that information held by organisations is accurate and stored securely.

books to represent documents or records for records management

What does a records manager do? Salaries | Typical employers | Qualifications and training | Skills

Records managers oversee an organisation’s records from their creation and preservation through to disposal. Organisations have legal responsibilities to make sure the data they hold is accurate and stored securely, and records managers are involved in ensuring these obligations are met.

Typical duties include:

  • devising and implementing records management policies and systems to ensure that data is accurate, stored securely for the correct amount of time, accessible to the correct people and disposed of in line with legal requirements
  • dealing with enquiries and requests for information, including queries from organisational leaders needing data to make large-scale decisions
  • ensuring that financial, legal and administrative requirements and regulations are complied with
  • classifying and indexing records
  • writing reports and publications
  • destroying or archiving data/records
  • training staff who need access or have responsibility for maintaining records
  • keeping up to date with legal requirements on data storage and protection.

Graduate salaries

You’ll need to work your way up to records manager level, starting in a role such as archives, records or information assistant/officer - salaries for these jobs start at around £18,000 in the public sector and around £28,000 in the private sector. According to Salary Explorer, the average (lowest) starting salary for records managers is £22,700.

Salaries will increase with experience and can differ depending on location, size of the organisation and sector of work. For example, Sue Hill Recruitment’s 2019 knowledge and information management (KIM) survey comprised of nearly 1,000 KIM professionals reported the following average salaries for records managers:

  • £37,000 in the academic sector
  • £42,000 in the public sector
  • £41,000 in the healthcare and NHS sector
  • £58,000 in the financial services sector.

Typical employers of records managers

  • The NHS.
  • Technology companies.
  • Universities, higher education institutions and further education colleges.
  • Local authorities, the Civil Service and the intelligence services.
  • Financial services organisations.
  • Law firms.
  • Construction companies, utility companies and other organisations connected with power (particularly nuclear).
  • Pharmaceutical companies.
  • Charities.
  • Retailers and other companies that store data for marketing or consumer research purposes.

Experienced record managers can also work on a freelance or consultancy basis for employers.

Vacancies tend to be advertised on sector-based jobs boards. If you don’t yet know which sector you want to work in, you can also find vacancies advertised by the Information and Records Management Society (IRMS) and specialist recruitment agencies.

Qualifications and training required

There are routes into this profession for graduates and school leavers.

If you’re a graduate without a records or information management-related undergraduate degree, you can take a postgraduate qualification in a records, archive and/or information management specialism. Many of these include work placements and other opportunities to apply skills to practical projects.

It’s not unknown for entrants to have started out in a scientific research, technology, government or financial role and to have moved across into record management, having gained the relevant postgraduate qualification if required.

You could also consider a level 7 archivist and records manager apprenticeship. This is a postgraduate level qualification gained through a combination of work and study.

Many graduate vacancies ask for related work experience, which you can gain through voluntary work or paid placements (bear in mind that these can be competitive to secure). You could also join the Archives and Records Management Association (ARA), the Information and Records Management Society or the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals as a student member. This will give you access to networking opportunities that could help you secure work experience.

School leavers can join the records management profession via a library, information and archive services apprenticeship. Discover targetapprenticeships.

Key skills for records managers

  • Attention to detail.
  • The ability to prioritise.
  • Good problem-solving skills.
  • Analytical skills.
  • Administrative skills.
  • Communication and influencing skills, especially when requiring colleagues to meet legal requirements to use systems correctly.
  • The ability to learn quickly (and potentially on your own if working for a small organisation).
  • Confidence with using bespoke and standard databases, software and operating systems.
  • A commitment to continued learning throughout your career.

Make sure to sign up to targetjobs to get all the benefits of our graduate job-hunting platform including tailored advice and job opportunities.

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This describes editorially independent and impartial content, which has been written and edited by the targetjobs content team. Any external contributors featuring in the article are in line with our non-advertorial policy, by which we mean that we do not promote one organisation over another.

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