Civil service administrative officer

Administration, business and management

Career outlook for civil service administrative officer

UK Salary Ranges





Currently employed in Scotland


Salary information is provided by the "National Careers Service". "Oxford Economics" supplies job forecasts and employment figures. Due to COVID-19 the jobs market is constantly changing. Some of the information may not reflect the current situation.

What's it like?

You would provide vital services to the public. You’d give people information and answer their questions. Or you could review a person’s situation and help decide which services can help them.

You could work in any of the Scottish Government directorates and agencies that serve the public, for example:

  • Communities Directorate
  • Enterprise, Environment and Innovation Directorate
  • Finance Directorate
  • Creative Scotland
  • Education Scotland
  • Forestry Commission Scotland

Depending on which department or agency you worked for you would:

  • Handle enquiries from the public in person, by telephone or email
  • Provide information to deal with customer queries
  • Research information
  • Contact customers to follow up enquiries
  • Process benefit payments
  • Update computerised and paper-based records
  • Do filing, photocopying and other administrative tasks
  • Deal with complaints

You might also be responsible for reviewing customer cases and making decisions based on set rules and regulations. You would refer any complex queries or cases, which required discretion or judgement, to an executive officer.

With experience, you could start to deal with more complex enquiries or complaints, or take on more specialist work related to your department.

Working conditions


You would usually work around 36 hours a week, Monday to Friday. Depending on the department you work for, you may need to work shifts which could include evenings, weekends and public holidays. Part-time work, job sharing and temporary work are all widely available.


You would be based in an open plan office, which may be open to the public.

UK employment status





Self employed


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  • Cooperating
  • Verbal communication
  • Written communication
  • Observation
  • Attention to detail
  • Sorting
  • Developing a plan
  • Time management
  • Reliable

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Entry requirements for courses can change. Always contact the college, university or training provider to check exactly what you'll need.

Foundation Apprenticeships

Choosing a Foundation Apprenticeship as one of your subjects in S5 and S6 can help you get a head start with this type of job.

You'll get an SCQF level 6 qualification (the same level as a Higher) plus valuable work placement experience and skills you can't learn in a classroom.

Interested? Find out what's on offer at your school on


Each Civil Service department has its own entry requirements and advertises its own vacancies but administrative officers usually need at least five subjects at National 4 or 5 (SCQF level 4/5). 

Many applicants have Highers (SCQF level 6 ) or relevant Higher National Certificate (SCQF level 7), Higher National Diploma (SCQF level 8) or a degree (SCQF level 9/10) qualifications.

Useful subjects

  • English (usually required)
  • Maths
  • Business
  • Administrative
  • ICT
  • Languages
  • Social subjects

You will also need

You may have to sit an entrance test covering areas such as teamwork, communication and number skills. 

You can apply for any job in the Civil Service if you are a UK national or have dual nationality with one part being British. If you are a Commonwealth citizen or a national of any of the member states of the European Union (EU) or the European Economic Area (EEA), you can apply for about 75% of Civil Service jobs.

Helpful to have

Relevant work-based experience and qualifications such as a Scottish Vocational Qualification in Business and Administration (SVQ level 2/3/4).

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