To keep an airline functioning smoothly, most employers hire an assortment of administrative personnel. These positions include secretaries, mail clerks, data entry workers, receptionists, public relations specialists, and those who work in the human resources department who handle or oversee the hiring, training, and termination of employees. The duties of administrative personnel vary by position but often include answering telephones, routing telephone calls, transcribing executive correspondence, data entry, filing paperwork, backing up computer files, scheduling and organizing or coordinating meetings, ordering supplies, and making executive travel arrangements.
In many situations, administrative personnel can expect career advancement within the company with a commensurate pay raise. Many of the skills and tasks associated with administrative personnel positions are not used exclusively in the airline industry and so a person can advance to senior positions from there to almost anywhere.
Due to the sensitive nature involved with many administrative personnel positions, the ability to maintain discretion and confidentiality is extremely important. Most administrative personnel are required to be self-starters and should be able to work both as a team player and without being micro-managed. The huge variety of tasks usually associated with jobs can make them very challenging. The ability to pay attention to detail can be very challenging, particularly when the pace is fast and stressful.
Qualifications depend on the position, but at minimum, a high school diploma or equivalent is generally expected. Senior administrative personnel positions or positions that rely on technical expertise may require additional training or degrees. Previous phone or other experience related to the position may be mandatory.
Basic computer skills, including a working knowledge of Microsoft Office applications (e.g., Word, Excel), are necessary for almost all administrative personnel positions. Good people and communication skills are also expected. The ability to use a fax machine, multi-line telephone system, and copier may be required. Fast and accurate typing skills are required.
Depending on the airline and the administrative personnel position, the company may provide specialized training. In addition, the airline may require all administrative personnel to attend annual or ongoing training to maintain or expand their skill set.
Salary and Benefits
Salary varies by position, seniority, experience, location, and airlines. Some administrative personnel positions are unionized and others are not. Benefits also vary considerably.