Records manager: job description

Records managers are responsible for accurately, securely and effectively managing information received and produced by a wide range of public and private sector organisations.

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Candidates must be patient, meticulous and logical in their work and capable of prioritising tasks.

What does a records manager do? | Typical employers | Qualifications and training | Key skills

Records managers oversee an organisation’s records from their creation and preservation through to disposal. Typical responsibilities include:

  • establishing new records management systems
  • developing, maintaining, verifying and evaluating existing systems
  • overseeing the switch from paper to electronic record-keeping
  • writing reports and publications
  • dealing with enquiries and requests for information from both internal and external clients
  • ensuring that financial, legal or administrative requirements and regulations are complied with
  • ensuring that data is protected
  • classifying and indexing records
  • destroying or archiving finished data/records
  • ensuring that records are easily accessible when needed
  • providing training to staff who require access or have responsibility for maintaining records.

While the role is advertised for in its own right, in some organisations the job might be combined with that of:

Typical employers of records managers

Any organisation that handles large amounts of information may require the skills of a records manager; key sectors where you might find record managers are those where there is a great deal of regulations and supervision, such as the nuclear industry, healthcare and finance.

Most record management jobs are found with:

  • the NHS
  • technology companies
  • universities, higher education institutions and further education colleges
  • local authorities, the Civil Service and the intelligence services
  • financial services organisations
  • 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 are typically advertised via: relevant professional organisations such as the Archives & Records Association (ARA), the Information and Records Management Society (IRMS) and CILIP, the library and information association; jobs boards; careers services; and specialist recruitment agencies.

Qualifications and training required

You usually need a degree to become a records manager. There are one or two undergraduate degrees in information management and record management accredited by the Archives & Records Association (ARA) and CILIP, but employers don’t usually ask for a specific subject at undergraduate level. However, it is common for them to require applicants to have a postgraduate qualification in a records, archive and/or information management specialism.

The vast majority of vacancies do require you to have gained related work experience, which you can gain through voluntary work or paid placements (bear in mind that these can be competitive to secure).

It’s also 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.

Key skills for records managers

  • Patience
  • Meticulousness
  • Capable of prioritising
  • Good problem-solving skills
  • Analytical skills
  • Administrative skills
  • Organisational skills
  • Communication and influencing skills, especially when requiring colleagues to hand over records or to use the systems correctly
  • Confidence with using bespoke and standard databases, software and operating systems.

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