The Bureau of Labor Statistics publishes the Occupational Handbook which currently reflects employment projections for the 2021 to 2031 decade. The Occupational Handbook covers 324 occupational profiles including the Office and Administrative Support Occupations profile. The profile describes what workers do, where they work, typical education and training requirements, wages, job outlook, state and area data and contacts for more information. The OOH is updated every 2 years by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), and is a useful resource for those seeking career guidance.
According to bls.gov, the overall Office and Administrative Support Occupations profile is projected to decline 4 percent from 2021 to 2031, resulting in a decrease of about 880,800 jobs over the decade. Technology is expected to substitute or supplant some functions that workers in office and administrative support occupations do. Despite projected employment declines, however, openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to other occupations or exit the labor force, such as to retire. The median annual wage for office and administrative support occupations was $38,050 in May 2021, below the median for all occupations of $45,760. Here is the 2023 and beyond job outlook for some of the Office Administrative Occupations.
Secretaries, Administrative Assistants – According to the Bureau of Labor Occupational Handbook the median annual wage for secretaries and administrative assistants was $39,680 in May 2021. This may vary significantly depending on the region of employment and the level of responsibility the job entails. For example, someone working in New York City may make more than someone residing in a more rural area of the country.
The Bureau also states that overall employment of secretaries and administrative assistants is expected to decline 8 percent from 2021 to 2031. I see this as no reason for alarm as despite declining employment, about 324,300 openings for secretaries and administrative assistants are projected each year, on average, over the next decade. All of those openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to other occupations or exit the labor force, such as to retire.
According to bls.gov, part of the reason for the decline is from ever improving technology that now enables staff in many organizations to prepare their own documents without the help of secretaries. Also, many managers now do tasks that were previously done by administrative professionals. For example, in legal firms, paralegals and legal assistants now use technology that enables them to perform tasks, such as preparing and filing documents, that were previously done by legal secretaries.
Employment growth of 8% is projected for medical secretaries, primarily due to the growth of the healthcare industry. For example, baby boomers will require more medical services as they age. Medical secretaries will be needed to handle administrative tasks related to billing and insurance processing of Medicare and other claims. Secretaries and administrative assistants held about 2,075,600 jobs in 2021.
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Secretaries and Administrative Assistants,
at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/office-and-administrative-support/secretaries-and-administrative-assistants.htm (visited January 06, 2023).
Receptionists – According to bls.gov, employment of receptionists is projected to show little or no change from 2021 to 2031. Previously, it was projected to grow 4 percent, slower than the average for all occupations. Despite limited employment growth, about 142,300 openings for receptionists are projected each year, on average, over the next decade. Most of those openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to different occupations or exit the labor force, such as to retire.
The median hourly wage for receptionists was $14.40 in May 2021. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $11.08, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $22.00..
According to bls.gov, growing healthcare industries are projected to lead demand for receptionists, particularly in the offices of physicians, dentists, and other healthcare practitioners. Employment growth of receptionists in other industries is expected to be slower as organizations continue to automate or consolidate administrative functions. For example, many organizations use computer software, websites, mobile applications, or other technology to interact with the public or customer.
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Receptionists,
at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/office-and-administrative-support/receptionists.htm (visited January 06, 2023).
Customer Service Representatives – According to bls.gov, employment of customer service representatives is projected to decline 4 percent from 2021 to 2031. One of the reasons for less demand, they state, is due to automation, especially in retail trade, as their tasks continue to be automated. Self-service systems, social media, and mobile applications enable customers to do simple tasks without interacting with a representative. Advancements in technology will gradually allow these automated systems to do even more tasks. Some companies will continue to use in-house service centers to differentiate themselves from competitors, particularly for complex inquiries such as refunding accounts or confirming insurance coverage. Despite limited employment growth, about 389,400 openings for customer service representatives are projected each year, on average, over the decade.