Clerical support workers have office duties such as answering phones, serving as a front-desk receptionist, filing, data entry and photocopying. Clerical support positions are available in both the public and private sectors of the economy, although in government employment the definition of the position tends to include a broader range of duties than in the private sector, which would have separate classifications as secretarial or administrative support work rather than solely as clerical support work.
Clerical support work primarily involves routine office duties. The precise nature of the duties varies depending on the position and whether it is a private-sector or governmental position. In government positions, the duties, the required education and experience, and the compensation vary in a grade-and-step system of position rankings.
Generally, clerical support positions involve duties that provide a supportive role either on a project or program basis, or to particular personnel with more responsible positions within the hiring organization. In the private sector, for example, a clerical support employee may provide general office support duties for a departmental secretary or administrative assistant who supervises other secretarial and clerical staff. In a government setting, a clerical support person may provide such support duties as filing and data entry for medical research studies.
Some titles of specific jobs that clerical support workers may perform in the government arena include clerk-typist, office automation clerk/assistant, data transcriber, and clerk-stenographer. According to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, positions also may exist in the following "parenthetical" areas: office automation, stenography, data transcription or typing.
Job Titles--Private Sector
Job titles of clerical support workers in the private sector include clerk, mail clerk, receptionist, file clerk and data entry clerk. In the private sector, more than in government, the need for significant typing skills beyond simple data entry tends to place the typist position into the secretarial category, with different responsibilities and compensation levels.
Training, Outlook Earnings
Typically, clerical support jobs require a high school diploma but no post-secondary education, although, in the public sector, having some college work when entering government service can put you in a higher pay grade. The outlook for clerical jobs may follow the same trend as for secretarial work, which is expected to grow relatively slowly, according to Diversityworking.
Compensation for clerical support workers ranges from $9.73 to 13.76 hourly, according to Payscale.