Bureau of Labor Statistics

General Office Clerks

general office clerks image
General office clerks perform a variety of administrative tasks, such as copying and scanning documents.
Quick Facts: General Office Clerks
2020 Median Pay $35,330 per year
$16.98 per hour
Typical Entry-Level Education High school diploma or equivalent
Work Experience in a Related Occupation None
On-the-job Training Short-term on-the-job training
Number of Jobs, 2019 3,126,300
Job Outlook, 2019-29 -5% (Decline)
Employment Change, 2019-29 -155,900

Summary

What General Office Clerks Do

General office clerks perform a variety of clerical tasks, including answering telephones, typing documents, and filing records.

Work Environment

Although general office clerks are employed in nearly every industry, many work in schools, healthcare facilities, and government offices. 

How to Become a General Office Clerk

General office clerks typically need a high school diploma or equivalent. Most learn their skills on the job.

Pay

The median hourly wage for general office clerks was $16.98 in May 2020.

Job Outlook

Employment of general office clerks is projected to decline 5 percent from 2019 to 2029. Nevertheless, overall job opportunities should be good because of the need to replace workers who leave this very large occupation.

State & Area Data

Explore resources for employment and wages by state and area for general office clerks.

Similar Occupations

Compare the job duties, education, job growth, and pay of general office clerks with similar occupations.

More Information, Including Links to O*NET

Learn more about general office clerks by visiting additional resources, including O*NET, a source on key characteristics of workers and occupations.

What General Office Clerks Do

General office clerks
General office clerks type, format, or edit routine memos.

General office clerks perform a variety of clerical tasks, including answering telephones, typing documents, and filing records.

Duties

General office clerks typically do the following:

  • Answer and transfer telephone calls or take messages
  • Sort and deliver incoming mail and send outgoing mail
  • Schedule appointments and receive customers or visitors
  • Provide general information to staff, clients, or the public
  • Type, format, or edit routine memos or other reports
  • Copy, file, and update paper and electronic documents
  • Prepare and process bills and other office documents
  • Collect information and perform data entry

Rather than performing a single specialized task, general office clerks have responsibilities that often change daily with the current needs of the employer.

Some clerks file documents or answer phones; others enter data into computers or perform other tasks using software applications. They also frequently use photocopiers, scanners, fax machines, and other office equipment.

The specific duties assigned to clerks will depend on the type of office in which they work. For example, a general office clerk at a college or university may process application materials and answer questions from prospective students, while a clerk at a hospital may file and retrieve medical records.

Work Environment

General office clerks
General office clerks work in offices.

General office clerks held about 3.1 million jobs in 2019. The largest employers of general office clerks were as follows:

Educational services; state, local, and private 12%
Healthcare and social assistance 12
Government 9
Administrative and support services 8
Professional, scientific, and technical services 8

General office clerks usually work in office settings.

Work Schedules

Most general office clerks work full time.

How to Become a General Office Clerk

General office clerks
General office clerks usually need a high school diploma or equivalent.

General office clerks typically need a high school diploma or equivalent and learn their skills on the job.

Education

General office clerks usually need a high school diploma or equivalent.

Courses in using computer applications, such as word processing and spreadsheet software, may be helpful for those who aren’t already familiar with them.

Training

General office clerks usually learn their skills while on the job. Their training typically lasts up to one month and may include instructions on office procedures, proper phone etiquette, and the use of office equipment.

Advancement

General office clerks may advance to other administrative positions with more responsibility, such as secretaries and administrative assistants.

Advancement opportunities often depend on work experience.

Important Qualities

Customer-service skills. General office clerks often provide general information to company staff, customers, or the public. They should be courteous and prompt with their responses.

Detail oriented. General office clerks perform many clerical tasks that require attention to detail, such as preparing bills.

Organizational skills. General office clerks file and retrieve records. They need to keep records organized to be able to access them quickly and efficiently.

Pay

General Office Clerks

Median hourly wages, May 2020

Total, all occupations

$20.17

Office and administrative support occupations

$18.62

General office clerks

$16.98

 

The median hourly wage for general office clerks was $16.98 in May 2020. 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 $10.59, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $27.47.

In May 2020, the median hourly wages for general office clerks in the top industries in which they worked were as follows:

Government $18.59
Professional, scientific, and technical services 17.56
Healthcare and social assistance 16.69
Educational services; state, local, and private 15.90
Administrative and support services 15.80

Most general office clerks work full time.

Job Outlook

General Office Clerks

Percent change in employment, projected 2019-29

Total, all occupations

4%

Office and administrative support occupations

-5%

General office clerks

-5%

 

Employment of general office clerks is projected to decline 5 percent from 2019 to 2029.

Some office clerks will be needed to handle administrative duties in certain industries, such as healthcare and social assistance, but the increasing use of technology that automates document preparation tasks will result in fewer general office clerks needed to perform the work. For example, many organizations maintain electronic documents or use automated phone systems, reducing the need for some general office clerks. In addition, electronic filing systems and file sharing software allow other office workers to do the tasks of general office clerks, further decreasing employment of office clerks.

Job Prospects

Despite declining employment, about 317,500 openings for general office clerks are projected each year, on average, over the decade in this very large occupation.

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.

Employment projections data for general office clerks, 2019-29

SOURCE: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment Projections program

Occupational Title

Office clerks, general

SOC Code43-9061
Employment, 20193,126,300
Projected Employment, 20292,970,400
Percent Change, 2019-29-5
Numeric Change, 2019-29-155,900
Employment by IndustryGet data

State & Area Data

Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics (OEWS)

The Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics (OEWS) program produces employment and wage estimates annually for over 800 occupations. These estimates are available for the nation as a whole, for individual states, and for metropolitan and nonmetropolitan areas. The link(s) below go to OES data maps for employment and wages by state and area.

Projections Central

Occupational employment projections are developed for all states by Labor Market Information (LMI) or individual state Employment Projections offices. All state projections data are available at www.projectionscentral.com. Information on this site allows projected employment growth for an occupation to be compared among states or to be compared within one state. In addition, states may produce projections for areas; there are links to each state’s websites where these data may be retrieved.

CareerOneStop

CareerOneStop includes hundreds of occupational profiles with data available by state and metro area. There are links in the left-hand side menu to compare occupational employment by state and occupational wages by local area or metro area. There is also a salary info tool to search for wages by zip code.

Similar Occupations

This table shows a list of occupations with job duties that are similar to those of general office clerks.

Occupation Job Duties ENTRY-LEVEL EDUCATION 2020 MEDIAN PAY
Bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks Bookkeeping, Accounting, and Auditing Clerks

Bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks produce financial records for organizations and check financial records for accuracy.

Some college, no degree $42,410
Customer service representatives Customer Service Representatives

Customer service representatives interact with customers to handle complaints, process orders, and answer questions.

High school diploma or equivalent $35,830
Information clerks Information Clerks

Information clerks perform routine clerical duties, maintain records, collect data, and provide information to customers.

See How to Become One $36,920
Material recording clerks Material Recording Clerks

Material recording clerks track product information in order to keep businesses and supply chains on schedule.

High school diploma or equivalent $31,170
Receptionists Receptionists

Receptionists do tasks such as answering phones, receiving visitors, and providing information about their organization to the public.

High school diploma or equivalent $31,110
Secretaries and administrative assistants Secretaries and Administrative Assistants

Secretaries and administrative assistants perform routine clerical and administrative duties.

High school diploma or equivalent $40,990

Contacts for More Info

Last Modified Date: Friday, April 9, 2021

Suggested citation:

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, General Office Clerks,
at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/office-and-administrative-support/general-office-clerks.htm (visited July 11, 2021).

Telephone: 1-202-691-5700 www.bls.gov/ooh Contact OOH

View this page on regular www.bls.gov

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