Being the boss’s right hand!

A Career as a Secretary, Salaries for Secretaries, Benefits for Secretaries and more on Mywage Zimbabwe.

 

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By Wongai Zhangazha

“Being a secretary is the best position one could hope for,” says proud 30-year-old secretary Tsitsi Zihomwe. “It is a good feeling being the boss’s right hand”. Tsitsi is a legal secretary for a prominent law firm in the country that specialises in representing underprivileged people who have had their human rights abused either politically, business-wise or socially. 

The number of secretarial job opportunities in Zimbabwe has recently risen with the growth of several new companies. 

Salaries 

Salaries vary a great deal for secretaries as it depends on differences in education, experience, and level of responsibility. Most secretaries, excluding legal and medical secretaries, earn between US$300 and US$500. Tsitsi takes home a salary of about US$1500.

Duties

The responsibilities of a secretary over the years have developed and extended. Depending on the company one will be working for, the role of a secretary can involve anything from performing basic duties such as answering telephones, making appointments, filing papers, and making copies to training new employees and conducting internet research.

Tsitsi, as a legal secretary, is involved mostly in typing, editing and proofreading documents. Since secretaries are often close to the boss they are trusted with confidential information, and should handle all matters correctly and appropriately.

Requirements

The broader the duties of being a secretary the more the requirements are needed. At least five subjects are required from the Zimbabwe School examination council ordinary level examinations. Training can also be received through colleges that offer one and two year programmes in office administration and secretarial courses. One has to have computer knowledge of MS Word, MS Excel and MS PowerPoint.

According to Miriam Murimi, who has 29 years experience in the secretarial industry and is a lecturer of the module on Grooming and Deportment at a college in Harare, one of the requirements is being an expert at time management, juggling many activities and roles at the same time.

Murimi said: “One must have psychological skills, as daily one will dealing with different personalities. Excellent judgment to make dozens of critical decisions and talents while you function as a travel agent, personal shopper, living calendar, telephone directory, and mentor are also important.” 

She said secretaries also should have good grammar and be well-spoken. Also, since they sometimes deal with confidential matters they should be well organised and honest.

Working conditions

Tsitsi works five days a week, Monday to Friday from 8am to 4.30pm. If she has an extra workload she works on Saturdays from 8am to 1pm. She has full medical aid cover for private hospitals. Some secretaries can also benefit from a company car and get to travel around the world with their bosses.  

Prospects

Tsitsi is looking forward to a bright future. Currently, she is aiming to advance her career by becoming a paralegal and increasing her salary by at least 20%. This means she must take a paralegal course. 

For some generally it’s the respect that comes with the job that they enjoy most and the feeling of being in control of the boss!

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