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THE STATUS AND IMPACT OF THE SECRETARY IN THE LABOUR MARKET

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THE STATUS AND IMPACT OF THE SECRETARY IN THE LABOUR MARKET

 

ABSTRACT

This study was centred on the status and impact of the secretary in the labour market. The study was carried out in three organization in Enugu North. The result of the study would assist the management of the various organization in determining the worth of secretary in the business world. In order to carry out the study successfully, certain hypotheses were formulated amongst which were secretaries are in great demand in the labour market compared with those of other professions, job specification can bring about a better appreciation of the role of the secretary in the establishment. Two sets of questionnaires covering these hypotheses were drawn up and administered to a sample of secretaries and bosses from these organizations in Enugu North. From the analyses of the data collected, some findings were mada. The most prominent of these findings were that secretaries are more in demand in the labour market them any other category of staff that the role of a secretary will be better appreciated if she performs well defined duties. Based on the findings, a number of recommendations were made. These were that since the duties of secretaries are indispensable and demanding in all organization, efforts should be geared towards job satisfaction like realistic salary structure, automatic car and housing loan, and good working conditions so as to retain secretaries in the profession; that the duties of a secretary should be specify for a better result.

 

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY

The expansion of industries and the increasing complexities of organization have led to a swilling appreciation of the indispensability of secretaries.  For sometime, it has been discovered that there exists a growing demand for secretaries in almost all the sectors of business enterprise including private, public, big and small business sectors. But contrary to general expectation, however, specific jobs are not designed for secretaries and thus their jobs lack proper definition. In the present world, there is the popular misconception by the society that anybody that has little knowledge of shorthand and typewriting is regarded as a secretary so long as he can manipulate the typewriter well even without possessing other qualities and business attribute that distinguish secretaries from typists and stenographs.  This is a great irony of the importance of the secretary.

The word ‘secretary’ is today very confusing as people who are not directly involved in the special aspects of secretarial work are often called secretaries.  The secretary in this context is one whose duty it is to intimate herself with the knowledge of her employer’s work and the requirements of the office in which she works, supervising the work of her subordinates and taking on as much of her employer’s own work as her employer is willing to delegate’s appointment, meetings and be ready to record the proceedings and prepare itineraries for her manager.  These activities call for much decision making.  What is worthy of mention is, secretaries who passed out from higher institutions are different from those who are mere shorthand – typing, it should be noted that with the increased course contents and the dynamic nature of the profession, the secretary is imbued with managerial skills.

The above qualities have been neatly summed up in one long sentence by Roman (1975) when she said that:

“A good secretary does not blab what first comes into her head, she does not try to command and demand, she does not confide in all and sundry, she does not try to ruin the boss, she is not dogmatic, she does not arrogate to herself responsibilities that are not hers, she does not look down on other people, but is quietly courteous to all and treats everybody with respect, she is quiet in demeanour, she is not elegant and chattily and does not judge superficially, and is willing to co-operate and be helpful without bargaining to make turnover bid for other people’s responsibilities."

Shaw (1977) buttressing this point, said that a secretary should have ability to handle all types and levels of people and get their best reactions, in all situation, ability to force needs, and consequence, and use initiative to take appropriate action, ability to act as an information channel both to and from the boss. Effort should be made to x-ray the employment rate of turnover, that is, the frequency of recruitment, resignation and or change of designation secretaries change through resignation which could be as a result of their search for higher pay, their eagerness to get place or because they are highly needed in offices.

One would however, not loss sight of how often the post of secretary is advertised in newspapers and magazine. In spite of the high demand for secretaries in the labour market, it could be observed that secretaries do not get adequate remuneration and other incentives such as training and promotion like their counterparts in other profession. Qualified secretaries often express disappointment in their profession because they feel that the public are unaware of the breadth and depth of their training and their significance which are indications that they seem not to be recognized. It is the under-utilization of personal secretaries that course them not to be promoted to the senior managerial position.  But it is doubtful if any organization can function effectively without the services of secretaries who are the image makers of the organization.

STATEMENT OF PROBLEM

Over these years, there has been serious misconception about secretaries by the public and others who are not in the profession.  Some look down upon them as Secretarial Assistant II (typists and stenographers) who wait and work according to the wishes of the boss. Others look at them as Subordinates who cannot actually act even when there is the need for them to do so unless with authority from the superior.  All these have been the problems facing them.  People take them as the inferior ones in an organization because they can never be the boss in that organization no matter their levels.  In the labour market, the secretary must, of a necessity, go beyond what is normally regarded as her duties event into the personal affairs of her boss.  For instance, going to the bank to withdraw money for the boss, serving him tea when he wants, sweeping the office if the cleaner did not come on time and this can even lead the boss to demand for self satisfaction from the secretary.  All these have been the problems facing the secretaries in an organization.

PURPOSE OF THE STUDY

This study is aimed at finding out the status of secretaries and their perceived role in establishments.  It is also aimed at investigating whether secretaries are needed more than their counterparts, and whether their remuneration is commensurate with their duties. The researchers are also delving into this topic to find out whether or not secretaries are allowed to take part in managerial function and whether they are seen as robots (wheel operators) that take and obey instructions without complaint. It is also the intention of the researchers to find out whether secretaries leave the profession to other professions and problem that militate against their effectiveness and productivity in the office. Finally, the finding will ensure uniformity in grading workers according to their qualification and merit if implemented.

SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY

The finding of this study will be of great help to many people.  Student in the secretarial professions will expose them to the actual place of the secretary in the labour market and her perceived role. The findings of the study will also correct the misconception on the part of the public regarding secretaries as typists or stenographers.  It will also give the undergraduate secretaries an insight into what their prospects will be or the completion of their course, it will expose the worth of secretaries in the business world. Moreover, the research work will help bosses to determine the quality and output of those they have in their employ or those they intend to employ.  It will also enable them to know the importance of motivation and commensurate benefits to secretaries. Finally, the finding will ensure uniformity in grading workers according to the qualification and merits if implemented.

SCOPE OF THE STUDY

This study is on the status and impact of the secretary in the labour market.  It is restricted to the secretaries only for the purpose of thorough study, using some organization in Enugu North L.G.A. Enugu State as the case study.   It is hoped that whatever results obtained would be assumed to be applicable generally.

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