Career Description – Understanding The Business Administration Profession

Business Administration career description
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This Job Outlook and Career Forecast covers:

  1. Business administrators
  2. Property and Building managers
  3. Administrative officers
  4. Business office managers
  5. Contract administrators
  6. Facilities coordinators
  7. Office managers
  8. Administrative office assistants

Overview of Administrative careers

Administrative careers face keen competition for the limited number of top-level management jobs, but competition should be less severe for lower-level management jobs with facility managers having a strong demand.

Administrative services managers work throughout private industry and government and have a wide range of responsibilities, experience, earnings, and education.

Like other managers, administrative services managers should be analytical, detail-oriented, flexible, decisive, and have good leadership and communication skills.

Nature of work for Administrative careers:

  • Administrative services managers coordinate and direct the support services that allow organizations to operate efficiently performing broad range of duties such as overseeing secretarial and reception services, administration, payroll, conference planning and travel, information and data processing, mail, materials scheduling and distribution, printing and reproduction, records management, telecommunications management, security, parking, energy consumption, and personal property procurement, supply, recycling, and disposal.
  • Specific duties for these managers vary by degree of responsibility and authority.
  • First-line administrative services managers directly supervise a staff that performs various support services.
  • Mid-level managers, on the other hand, develop departmental plans, set goals and deadlines, implement procedures to improve productivity and customer service, and define the responsibilities of supervisory-level managers.
  • Some mid-level administrative services managers oversee first-line supervisors from various departments, including the clerical staff. Mid-level managers also may be involved in the hiring and dismissal of employees, but they generally have no role in the formulation of personnel policy.
  • In small organizations, a single administrative services manager may oversee all support services. In larger ones, however, first-line administrative services managers often report to mid-level managers who, in turn, report to owners or top-level managers.
  • The nature of managerial jobs varies as significantly as the range of administrative services required by organizations. For example, administrative services managers who work as contract administrators oversee the preparation, analysis, negotiation, and review of contracts related to the purchase or sale of equipment, materials, supplies, products, or services.
  • In addition, some administrative services managers acquire, distribute, and store supplies, while others dispose of surplus property or oversee the disposal of unclaimed property.
  • Administrative services managers who work as facility managers plan, design, and manage buildings, grounds, equipment, and supplies, in addition to people. This task requires integrating the principles of business administration, information technology, architecture, engineering, and behavioral science.
  • Although the specific tasks assigned to facility managers vary substantially depending on the organization, the duties fall into several categories, relating to operations and maintenance, real estate, project planning and management, leadership and communication, finance, quality assessment, facility function, technology integration, and management of human and environmental factors.
  • Tasks within these broad categories may include space and workplace planning, budgeting, purchase and sale of real estate, lease management, renovations, or architectural planning and design.
  • Facility managers may suggest and oversee renovation projects for a variety of reasons, ranging from improving efficiency to ensuring that facilities meet government regulations and environmental, health, and security standards.
  • Additionally, facility managers continually monitor the facility to ensure that it remains safe, secure, and well-maintained.
  • Often, the facility manager is responsible for directing staff, including maintenance, grounds, and custodial workers.

Specific tasks and duties for Administrative careers:

  • Monitor the facility to ensure that it remains safe, secure, and well-maintained.
  • Direct or coordinate the supportive services department of a business, agency, or organization.
  • Set goals and deadlines for the department.
  • Prepare and review operational reports and schedules to ensure accuracy and efficiency.
  • Analyze internal processes and recommend and implement procedural or policy changes to improve operations, such as supply changes or the disposal of records.
  • Acquire, distribute and store supplies.
  • Plan, administer and control budgets for contracts, equipment and supplies.
  • Oversee construction and renovation projects to improve efficiency and to ensure that facilities meet environmental, health, and security standards, and comply with government regulations.
  • Hire and terminate clerical and administrative personnel.
  • Manage leasing of facility space.
  • Participate in architectural and engineering planning and design, including space and installation management.
  • Conduct classes to teach procedures to staff.
  • Dispose of, or oversee the disposal of, surplus or unclaimed property.

Work Environment for Administrative careers in Kenya:

  • Administrative services personnel generally work in comfortable offices.
  • Managers involved in contract administration and personal property procurement, use, and disposal may travel between their home office, branch offices, vendor offices, and property sales sites.
  • Facility managers responsible for the design of workspaces may spend time at construction sites and may travel between different facilities while monitoring the work of maintenance and custodial staffs.
  • Facility managers also may spend time outdoors, supervising and handling a variety of issues related to grounds keeping, landscaping, construction, security, and parking.
  • Most administrative services managers work a minimum standard 40-hour week. However, uncompensated overtime frequently is required to resolve problems and meet deadlines.
  • Facility managers often are on call to address a variety of problems that can arise in a facility during non-work hours.

Education and training for Administrative careers in Kenya

  • Education and experience requirements for these managers vary widely, depending on the size and complexity of the organization.
  • In small organizations, experience may be the only requirement needed to enter a position as an office manager.
  • When an opening in administrative services management occurs, the office manager may be promoted to the position based on past performance.
  • In large organizations, however, administrative services managers normally are hired from outside and each position has formal education and experience requirements. Some administrative services managers have advanced degrees.
  • Specific requirements vary by job responsibility. For first-line administrative services managers of secretarial, mail room, and related support activities, many employers prefer to hire people who have an associate degree in business or management, although a high school diploma may suffice when combined with relevant experience.
  • For managers of audio-visual, graphics, and other technical activities, post-secondary technical school training is preferred.
  • Managers of highly complex services, such as contract administration, generally need at least a bachelor’s degree in business, human resources, or finance. Regardless of major, the curriculum should include courses in office technology, accounting, business mathematics, computer applications, human resources, and business law.
  • Most facility managers have an undergraduate or graduate degree in engineering, architecture, construction management, business administration, or facility management.
  • Many have a background in real estate, construction, or interior design, in addition to managerial experience.
  • Whatever the manager’s educational background, it must be accompanied by related work experience reflecting their ability.
  • Many administrative services managers have advanced through the ranks of their organization, acquiring work experience in various administrative positions before assuming first-line supervisory duties.
  • All managers who oversee departmental supervisors should be familiar with office procedures and equipment.
  • Managers of personal property acquisition and disposal need experience in purchasing and sales, and knowledge of a variety of supplies, machinery, and equipment.
  • Managers concerned with supply, inventory, and distribution should be experienced in receiving, warehousing, packaging, shipping, transportation, and related operations.
  • Contract administrators may have worked as contract specialists, cost analysts, or procurement specialists.
  • Managers of unclaimed property often have experience in insurance claims analysis and records management.
  • Persons interested in becoming administrative services managers should have good leadership and communication skills and be able to establish effective working relationships with many different people, ranging from managers, supervisors, and professionals, to clerks and blue-collar workers. They should be analytical, detail-oriented, flexible, and decisive.
  • They must be able to coordinate several activities at once, quickly analyze and resolve specific problems, and cope with deadlines.

Key skills needed for Administrative careers:

  • Speaking – Talking to others to convey information effectively.
  • Active Listening – Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
  • Coordination – Adjusting actions in relation to others’ actions.
  • Writing – Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
  • Reading Comprehension – Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents
  • Time Management – Managing one’s own time and the time of others.
  • Critical Thinking – Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
  • Negotiation – Bringing others together and trying to reconcile differences.
  • Judgment and Decision Making – Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
  • Social Perceptiveness – Being aware of others’ reactions and understanding why they react as they do.
  • Management of Personnel Resources – Motivating, developing, and directing people as they work, identifying the best people for the job.
  • Service Orientation – Actively looking for ways to help people.
  • Monitoring – Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
  • Active Learning – Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.
  • Complex Problem Solving – Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
  • Systems Analysis – Determining how a system should work and how changes in conditions, operations, and the environment will affect outcomes.
  • Instructing – Teaching others how to do something.
  • Persuasion – Persuading others to change their minds or behavior.
  • Systems Evaluation – Identifying measures or indicators of system performance and the actions needed to improve or correct performance, relative to the goals of the system.
  • Learning Strategies – Selecting and using training/instructional methods and procedures appropriate for the situation when learning or teaching new things.
  • Management of Material Resources – Obtaining and seeing to the appropriate use of equipment, facilities, and materials needed to do certain work.
  • Management of Financial Resources – Determining how money will be spent to get the work done, and accounting for these expenditures.
  • Operations Analysis – Analyzing needs and product requirements to create a design

Abilities required for Administrative careers:

  • Oral Expression – The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
  • Oral Comprehension – The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
  • Written Comprehension – The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
  • Written Expression – The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
  • Speech Recognition – The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.
  • Speech Clarity – The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
  • Problem Sensitivity – The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem.
  • Information Ordering – The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
  • Near Vision – The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
  • Inductive Reasoning – The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
  • Selective Attention – The ability to concentrate on a task over a period of time without being distracted.

Career Description – Understanding The Actuarial Science Profession

Knowledge required for Administrative careers:

  • Clerical – Knowledge of administrative and clerical procedures and systems such as word processing, managing files and records, stenography and transcription, designing forms, and other office procedures and terminology.
  • Customer and Personal Service – Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
  • English Language – Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
  • Administration and Management – Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.
  • Personnel and Human Resources – Knowledge of principles and procedures for personnel recruitment, selection, training, compensation and benefits, labor relations and negotiation, and personnel information systems.
  • Economics and Accounting – Knowledge of economic and accounting principles and practices, the financial markets, banking and the analysis and reporting of financial data.
  • Computers and Electronics – Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
    Mathematics – Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
  • Sales and Marketing – Knowledge of principles and methods for showing, promoting, and selling products or services. This includes marketing strategy and tactics, product demonstration, sales techniques, and sales control systems.
  • Telecommunications – Knowledge of transmission, broadcasting, switching, control, and operation of telecommunications systems.
  • Communications and Media – Knowledge of media production, communication, and dissemination techniques and methods. This includes alternative ways to inform and entertain via written, oral, and visual media.


Administrative services managers in Kenya work in service-providing industries, including the central and county governments, health care, finance and insurance, professional, scientific, and technical services, administrative and support services; and educational services, public and private.

Others are working in wholesale and retail trade, in management of companies and enterprises, or in manufacturing.

Most administrative services managers in small organizations advance by moving to other management positions or to larger organizations. Advancement is easier in large firms that employ several levels of administrative services managers.

Advancement of facility managers is based on the practices and size of individual companies.

Some facility managers transfer from other departments within the organization or work their way up from technical positions.

Those with enough money and experience can establish their own management consulting firms.

Job Forecast/Prospects:

  • The number of jobs is projected to grow as fast as average for all occupations. Applicants will face keen competition for the limited number of top-level management jobs. Better opportunities are expected for lower-level management jobs.
  • Demand should be strong for facility managers because businesses increasingly realize the importance of maintaining, securing, and efficiently operating their facilities, which are very large investments for most organizations.
  • Business cost-cutting measures to improve profitability, streamline operations, and compete globally will continue to be addressed by many public and private organizations, resulting in more firms outsourcing facility management services or hiring qualified facility managers who are capable achieving these goals in-house.
  • Administrative services managers employed in management services and management consulting should be in demand.
  • The gradual growth of facility management outsourcing should result in employment growth in facilities management firms as companies increasingly look to outside specialists to handle the myriad of tasks that have become increasingly complex and expensive. Some of the services outsourced include food service, space planning and design, janitorial, power plant, grounds, office, safety, property, video surveillance, maintenance and repairs, and parking management.
  • Continuing corporate transformation and increasing use of office technology may result in a more streamlined organizational structure with fewer levels of management, reducing the need for some middle management positions. This should adversely affect administrative services managers who oversee first-line managers.
  • However, the effects of these changes on employment should be less severe for facility managers and other administrative services managers who have a wide range of responsibilities, than for other middle managers who specialize in certain functions.
  • Job opportunities may vary from year to year because the strength of the economy affects demand for administrative services managers.
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