Data Entry Clerk

The Job and What's Involved

As a data entry clerk you would update, maintain and retrieve information held on computer systems. You would also transfer information from paper-based records to computer files.

Examples of the work include:

- Inputting personal details of customers
- Opening new bank account
- Entering classified adverts in a newspaper
- Transferring paper-based market research result
- Updating patients' medical record
- Processing sales invoice
- Tracking students' test results in a school or college

In most jobs, you would input both text and figures into spreadsheets or databases. You may use ready-made software packages or tailor-made systems designed to meet your organisation's particular needs.

Data entry work is often combined with customer service assistant and contact centre operator roles.

A full-time post would normally involve working 35 to 40 hours a week, although part-time work and temporary contracts are often available.

You would be based at a computer workstation, often in a busy, open-plan office or contact centre.

Starting salaries can be between £12,000 and £15,000 a year. Experienced data entry clerks can earn up to £18,000.

Getting Started with this Career Choice

Many companies rely on computerised information storage and retrieval systems, so you could find work in a range of industries.

Vacancies are advertised through Jobcentre Plus, recruitment agencies, the local press and on company websites.

Education and Training

You do not always need qualifications to work as a data entry clerk, although employers may prefer you to have GCSE's (grades A-C) or equivalent in English and maths.

You will need a basic knowledge of word processing, spreadsheets and databases, and your skills and speed in inputting data will often be tested at interview.

You could develop your computer skills before looking for work by completing qualifications such as:

OCR Certificate and Diploma for IT Users (New CLAiT)

BCS European Computer Driving Licence (ECDL)

Visit the OCR and British Computer Society (BCS) websites for more details about these qualifications, and check with local colleges and training providers to find out which courses are available in your area.

You may be able to get into this job through an Apprenticeship scheme. The range of Apprenticeships available in your area will depend on the local jobs market and the types of skills employers need from their workers.

Apprenticeships and Advanced Apprenticeships provide structured training with an employer. As an apprentice you must be paid at least £95 per week; you may well be paid more. A recent survey found that the average wage for apprentices was £170 a week. Your pay will depend on the sector in which you work, your age, the area where you live and the stage at which you have arrived in the Apprenticeship.

Entry to Employment (e2e) can help to prepare those who are not yet ready for an Apprenticeship. In addition, Young Apprenticeships may be available for 14- to 16-year-olds. More information is available from a Connexions personal adviser or at

There are different arrangements for Apprenticeships in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

For further information visit My World of Work, Careers Wales; and for Northern Ireland contact

A Few More Exams You Might Need

Once you start work, you would usually receive induction training, including your employer's office procedures, data entry systems and confidentiality rules. It is common to spend the first few weeks working under the supervision of a staff mentor or training officer.

You could take a range of work-based qualifications including NVQ levels 1 and 2 in Contact Centre Operations.

Your employer will usually choose the qualification best suited to your particular job role.

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Skills and Personal Qualities Needed

A data entry clerk needs:

  • Good computer skills.
  • The ability to work in a busy environment.
  • Good maths and English skills.
  • Excellent customer service skills.
  • An understanding of data confidentiality issues.
  • The ability to work quickly and accurately, and pay attention to detail.
  • An awareness of health and safety issues.

Your Long Term Prospects

With experience, you may be able to progress to supervisor or team leader roles.

There may also be opportunities to train and mentor new recruits.

Get Further Information

OCR Information Bureau
Tel: 024 7685 1509

e-skills UK, 1 Castle Lane, London SW1E 6DR

British Computer Society Block D, North Star House,
North Star Avenue, Swindon, Wiltshire SN2 1FA

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