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Job Photographs

  • A man is sitting at a desk, using a computer.

    Data entry clerks enter information into computer systems so that other people can use it.

  • A man is sitting at a desk, using a computer.  He has a paper document in front of him on the desk.

    Transferring information from paper records to the computer.

  • A man is putting a blue file into a grey filing cabinet.

    Filing the paper records for future reference.

  • A man is sitting at an office desk.  He is speaking on a telephone.  He has a paper document in front of him on the desk.

    Checking some information by phone.

  • A man, wearing a blue shirt and a tie, is standing in an office, using a photocopier.

    Data entry clerks often have other tasks to do, such as photocopying.

  • Two men are sitting on blue chairs by a small table in an office.  They are talking.  One of the men is holding a paper document and a pen in his hand.

    Reporting to the manager.

Data Entry Clerk

Introduction

Data entry clerks use a keyboard to enter information into computer systems. They deal with text and numerical data, putting the information in the required format. Many data entry clerks also have other office duties.

Also known as

  • Computer Data Entry Clerk
  • Input Operator, Data
  • Entry Clerk, Data

Work Activities

Data entry clerks transfer large amounts of written information into a computer, so that others can find and use the information for different purposes.

They might deal with words, for example, in reports, lists and standard letters, or with numbers, for example, in spreadsheets.

The data entry clerk types, or keys in, these details according to a set format. Often, they enter data into spaces called fields on the computer, for example, in a database. An example is an address list, where the clerk enters a person's first name into one field, the surname into another, the postcode into another and so on.

Sometimes, entry clerks input the data in code form. For example, they might key in standard information such as a customer reference, a department or a product as a series of numbers or letters.

By inputting the information in exactly the right way, entry clerks enable others to use accurate data for specific tasks, for example, printing off quarterly sales figures, analysing market research questionnaires, contacting customers or sending out bills.

They might be dealing with confidential information. For example, this could be related to people's health, financial, employment or legal details.

Many data entry clerks also spend part of their time on other office duties, such as word processing, and clerical tasks, such as photocopying, filing and answering the telephone.

The role of the data entry clerk is changing, and is often being combined with a wider role, for example, administration assistant or database assistant.

Being able to read, write and speak Welsh may be an advantage when you’re looking for work in Wales.

Personal Qualities and Skills

As a data entry clerk, you'll need to:

  • Have good keyboard skills.
  • Be able to work quickly and accurately, often to deadlines and under pressure.
  • Have good powers of concentration and pay close attention to detail.
  • Be well organised and able to prioritise your work.
  • Have good English and number skills.
  • Work on your own and as part of a team.
  • Have good communication skills.
  • Be able to keep information confidential (depending on the data).

In addition, you will need some general IT skills. This will enable you to use a variety of different databases and spreadsheets, and to cope with any day-to-day problems with the system you are using.

Pay and Opportunities

Pay

Starting salaries can vary. The pay rates given below are approximate.

Salaries are in the range of £14,000 - £15,500 a year, rising to £18,000 - £22,000 for more senior positions. Hourly rates are in the range of around £6 - £10 an hour.

Hours of work

Data entry clerks usually work 35-39 hours from Monday to Friday, but some might work shifts, including nights. Full-time, part-time, temporary and flexible working arrangements might be available.

Where could I work?

Employers include commercial organisations, the NHS, local authorities and government departments.

Opportunities for data entry clerks occur in some towns and cities around the UK.

What's happening in this work area?

Demand for people just doing data entry is decreasing. The work is often combined with a wider role, for example, as an administration assistant or database assistant.

Because of the recession, the government has announced a freeze on Civil Service recruitment for the foreseeable future, in order to save money. This will severely limit career opportunities in the Civil Service.

Where are vacancies advertised?

Vacancies are advertised on job boards and employers' websites, in local/national newspapers, on Universal Jobmatch and at Jobcentre Plus.

Entry Routes and Training

Entry routes

Entry routes vary depending on the type of work involved. Entry can often be possible by applying directly for trainee vacancies.

An Intermediate Level Apprenticeship is a great place to start.

Some employers prefer people who have taken a relevant college course or training scheme, which could take place at work or at a training centre. Entrants might need, for example, a recognised text-processing qualification, such as OCR level 1 or 2, or the European Computer Driving Licence (ECDL).

Training

Employers usually provide on-the-job training.

It might be possible to work towards relevant work-based qualifications for IT users.

Progression

Data entry clerks can progress to administrative or database assistant posts. Some might go into secretarial work after further training and experience.

Qualifications

To get onto an Intermediate Level Apprenticeship, you’ll usually need at least 2 GCSEs at grade C or above, possibly including English and Maths.

Other work-related qualifications, such as an Edexcel (BTEC) Level 2 First qualification, might be acceptable for entry.

Entrants might need, for example, a recognised text-processing qualification, such as OCR level 1 or 2, or the European Computer Driving Licence (ECDL).

Adult Opportunities

Age limits

It is illegal for any organisation to set age limits for entry to employment, education or training, unless they can show there is a real need to have these limits.

Entry

Some entrants have skills in keyboard work and administration. Qualifications at levels 1 and 2 for IT users are useful.

You might be able to enter through an Intermediate Level Apprenticeship.

Statistics

  • 26% of people in occupations such as data entry clerk work part-time.
  • 24% have flexible hours.
  • 18% of employees work on a temporary basis.

Further Information

Apprenticeships: Get In. Go Far

National Apprenticeship Service (NAS)

Tel: 0800 015 0400

Email: nationalhelpdesk@findapprenticeship.service.gov.uk

Website: www.apprenticeships.org.uk

Skills Development Scotland - Modern Apprenticeships

Tel: 0800 9178000

Email: info@skillsdevelopmentscotland.co.uk

Website: www.myworldofwork.co.uk/modernapprenticeships

The Tech Partnership

Skills for business and information technology

Address: 1 Castle Lane, London SW1E 6DR

Tel: 020 7963 8920

Email: info@e-skills.com

Website: www.e-skills.com

Careers Wales - Welsh Apprenticeships

Tel: 0800 028 4844

Website: ams.careerswales.com/

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