Clerical vs Administrative
In an office environment, knowing the difference between clerical and administrative duties is extremely important, especially if one belongs to either of these categories. While the two roles may be quite similar, several differences in the nature of their work make them unique in their own right.
What is Clerical?
A clerical officer or a clerk, a white-collar worker entrusted with general office tasks, is a person who engages in sales-related tasks, in a retail environment. Clerical work mostly involves filing, record keeping, staffing service counter, and other such tasks. Although clerical occupation does not require a college degree, vocational training and some college education is required for the field. Employers may provide clerical training while familiarity with certain office equipment and software is often required for a clerical job role. Since a clerical job role requires individuals to perform highly routinized tasks with little autonomy, sociologists such as Joseph Hickey, William Thompson, or James Henslin consider people who engaged in clerical duties to belong to the working class. Most clerical positions are held by women even today while traditionally in the past, clerical positions had been exclusively held by women, as well. Some of the functions and titles belonging to the clerical occupation are Data Entry Clerk, Hotel Front Desk Clerk, Sales Clerk, Service Desk Clerk, Deli Clerk, Clinical Clerk, Cash Register Clerk, Documentation Clerk and etc.
What is Administrative?
Administrative services involve management or the performance of business operations, decision making, as well as handling of people and other resources to direct activities toward common goals. Those who are engaged in administrative services are required a formal education that exceeds a high school diploma since they are required to handle demanding assignments that require a certain amount of expertise. Some administrative roles require a bachelor’s degree while others may be required a two-year administrative degree or a one-year certificate. The average salary of administrative personnel depends on their education and training.
What is the difference between Administrative and Clerical?
• Individuals holding clerical positions in an organization are not required a formal education. Individuals engaging in administrative duties are required to have higher educational qualifications such as a bachelor’s degree or a two-year administrative degree.
• Clerical officers are entrusted with rudimentary basics such as answering phone calls, filings etc. whereas administrative officers are entrusted with more demanding assignments.
• Clerical workers are placed at the bottom tier of the pay scale with approximately $18,440 – $44,176 according to the field and level of expertise. The average pay scale of an administrative officer may range from $23,160 and $62,070 depending on their education and training.
• Clerical work is considered as a one-grade level advancement job whereas administrative work is a two-grade progression.
• Duties in a clerical role may include tasks such as filing, organizing, entering basic information into a computer system etc. Clerk does not require any special subject expertise and is also not monitored by others.
• Administrative work requires specialized knowledge in more than one field. Expertise in data collection, analysis, interpreting, and reporting is imporatant for an administration role, in addition to the ability to work without supervision, using good judgment, and advance planning capabilities.
Therefore, one may conclude that while people engaged in clerical duties are those recognized as entry-level workers, whereas administrative duties are performed by trained administrative assistants or secretaries.