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Administration Manager

What does an Administration Manager do?

Administration managers ensure that an organisation runs smoothly in order to be productive by coordinating, directing and planning a variety of support services. Small organisations may have only one office manager who oversees support services, while larger companies could have several levels of administration managers who specialise in different areas and report to different directors or vice presidents of administration.

An administration manager’s responsibilities may include:

  • planning, administering and controlling budgets for contracts, equipment and supplies
  • monitoring the facility to ensure that it remains safe and secure
  • preparing and reviewing operational reports and schedules
  • overseeing departments such as mail, printing, telecommunications, information and data processing
  • hiring and terminating clerical and administrative personnel
  • overseeing the maintenance and repair of equipment and electrical and mechanical systems
  • overseeing construction and renovation projects
  • acquiring, distributing and storing supplies
  • analysing internal processes and recommending and implementing procedural or policy changes to improve operations
  • managing leasing of facility space.

What qualifications do I need?

The education and experience needed to work as an administration manager varies depending on the size and needs of a company. A lower-level administration manager position with few responsibilities or an office manager job at a small organisation may not require anything beyond a National Senior Certificate and appropriate experience. Lower-level managers can sometimes substitute technical school training for a bachelor’s degree. Larger companies often look to hire an administration manager with at least a bachelor’s degree in administration or a relevant Bachelor of Arts degree. Also, employees usually need one or two years of training, involving both on-the-job experience and informal training with experienced workers. All prospective administration managers should take courses in human resources, accounting, business law, office technology and computer applications.

What subjects do I need?

Contact each institution for their specific requirements, but these subjects are recommended: 
• Geography
• Economics
• Accounting


Where can I study?

False Bay TVET College
National Certificate: Public Management N4-N6

ICESA City Campus
Advanced Certificate in Accounting and Business Administration

Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University
Bachelor of Administration: Industrial Psychology; Bachelor of Technology: Public Management

North-West University
Bachelor of Administration

Bachelor of Administration

University of KwaZulu-Natal
Bachelor of Administration

University of the Western Cape
Bachelor of Administration

University of Johannesburg
Bachelor of Commerce: General

Durban University of Technology
Bachelor of Technology: Business Administration; Corporate Administration

Central University of Technology
Bachelor of Technology: Public Management

Where can I get more info?

Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators – www.sacob.com
Institute of Accounting and Commerce of South Africa – www.iacsa.co.za


Interview with an Administration Manager

Waseela Uys | ADMINISTRATION MANAGER | Woolworths

Waseela Uys | ADMINISTRATION MANAGER | Woolworths


What does your job involve?
I am responsible for store finance administration, human resources administration, store operations administration and resolving customer queries.

Why did you choose this profession?
It appealed to me because I am numerically inclined and highly analytical. Administration requires these skills. Being a manager suits me because I have good leadership skills and am very decisive. I enjoy sharing my expertise and helping others grow. Being able to train staff is a privilege. I also enjoy being busy.

What training did you undergo? I
have a matric (exemption), a Diploma in Bookkeeping and Pastel Accounting, and I’ve completed a management course at Cape Peninsula University. I am currently pursuing a BTech in Financial Accounting at the University of Technology in Bellville. Of course, I’ve also attended numerous training courses at Woolworths.

Is there a type of person best suited to this work?
This job suits people who are self-motivated and action-oriented. There’s a lot of work to do and many deadlines to meet. Attention to detail is important, as are excellent communication skills because I liaise with customers and colleagues all the time. As a manager, leadership skills are obviously a must.

Describe a typical day on the job
I start my working day early. I check my emails before the shop opens and review sales figures every morning. I then create a to-do list for the day and ensure that staff have been assigned their tasks. I generally spend store opening hours working on administration and resolving customer queries. I also conduct staff training sessions from time to time.

What do you enjoy most about your days?
My work is busy, but structured.

Care to share your future career goals?
I plan to finish my degree and move to Woolworths’ head office.

Any advice for people starting out?
Be a high performer, communicate well, work hard, build relationships and be detail-oriented.

Describe your job in three words
Integrated, effective administration.

Vuyiswa Msila | SENIOR ADMINISTRATOR SPECIALIST | Symmetry – Old Mutual

Vuyiswa Msila | SENIOR ADMINISTRATOR SPECIALIST | Symmetry – Old Mutual

Why did you choose this profession?
I chose administration because I enjoy working with numbers!

What training did you undergo?
There was no scheduled training, I pretty much figured things out and learnt everything necessary whilst doing the job

Is there a type of person best suited to administrative work?
You have to be a hard worker with potential, be able to work under pressure and be an effective problem solver.

How does experience compare to formal training?
Experience counts a lot in my job as you are always dealing with different situations. You have to apply the knowledge you have gained through previous hands-on experience.

Describe a typical day as an administrator at Symmetry
Days can be stressful when you are required to investigate pricing errors, and when there are transitions, or administrators have made errors!

Any advice for young people wanting to follow your career path?
Always be positive because anything is possible as long as you don’t underestimate yourself; and don’t change who you fundamentally are – you will be dealing with different people in the industry so be flexible, but always stay true to yourself.

What do you enjoy most about your work?
That it’s challenging and you often have to solve problems and deal with difficult situations; but these are the situations from which you learn the most.

Are there any aspects of the job that you aren’t too keen on?
I have to admit, I am not mad about doing manual reporting!

Mention one of the career highlights you have enjoyed thus far
One of the highlights is that each and every day presents it’s own opportunity for me to rise to meet a new challenge.

Would you care to share your future career goals?
To become more involved in community development projects.

Describe your job in three words
Challenging, Stressful (at times) and Fun.