Job Opportunities For Graduate Secretaries In This Millennium

Job Opportunities For Graduate Secretaries In This Millennium: (A Case Study Of Enugu Metropolis)

Job Opportunities For Graduate Secretaries In This Millennium: (A Case Study Of Enugu Metropolis)

In the new millennium, modern business environment has witnessed a lot of sophistication in operation and organization.

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Graduate secretaries of various cadres are very essential for the efficient and smooth running of business organizations. In any organized set up or office there has to be proper flow of communication and correct presentation fro such establishment to achieve its corporate goals.

In the light of the above, ideas, suggestions, thoughts, information and messages must be orderly and properly presented in printed forms.

Records are to be preserved in offices for external and internal dealings of the establishment. Also visitors should be handled with sound business etiquette to create the necessary goodwill and healthy public image required of an enterprise. The processional discharge of all these functions lies with the graduate secretary.

It takes about five to six years to train as a graduate in secretarial studies in most Nigerian Universities and polytechnics.

There are some basic academic qualifications that one has to acquire before one could be eligible to train as a graduate secretary.

These include a credit level passes in English Language and in four other art subjects plus a pass in mathematics at the senior schools certificate examinations. The graduate programme of the Nigerian polytechnic is in two tiers – the National Diploma and the Higher National Diploma disjoined by a one-year industrial training.

However, only the letter could be wisely regarded as the full graduate programme. If a secretary after completing the 2 year National Diploma abandons the Higher National Diploma programme, he could better be referred to as a national diploma graduate in the profession. As a full graduate of secretarial studies, she has been trained up to managerial potions in the office as she took courses in industrial psychology Business law, personnel management, business communication etc. there are the administrative secretaries and company secretaries who perform very minimal secretarial functions, but are involved in managerial organization of the various establishments where they work.

Considering the kind of training given to graduate secretaries, it is evident that most office functions revolve around the secretary – handling of mails, filing and indexing, taking down dictations and transcribing same, receiving and making telephone calls on behalf of the executive, arranging appointments and maintaining the diary of activities etc on behalf of her boss.

For the graduate secretary to be in a better footing to executive these functions, she needs some business and personal attributes. “A sound knowledge of English language is quite relevant as a secretary who cannot express him or herself well (orally and in writing) is worthless in the labour market, (Nweke 1986). She is the diplomat, ambassador and mirror of the organization.

She needs great diplomacy and tact in handling enquires, telephone calls and visitors, hostess qualities are indispensable in order to perform her reception duties. Discretion and confidentiality must not lack of in her and in fact, they are the major ethics of the profession.

Personal attributes should include good personality, integrity, pleasing temperament, imitativeness charming manners, understanding and sympathy toward others, self control and good humour in order to absorbed the heat of the day’s work. The introduction of sophisticated machines, the operation / manipulation of such machines (such as computers, word processors, and organization of other business activities have diversified in this millennium. Secretaries are to be trained and retrained to meet up wit the challenging situation taking place in the business environment.

This is a very good state of affairs for the secretaries as these machines introduced to aid them carryout official duties more efficiently and with less human exertion of energy. What the secretaries witness now is that there is a rampant employment by organizations of persons who have just rained to operate the computer in some private computer the computer in some private computer centres without the adequate knowledge and skill acquired through graduated programme, as secretaries.

These groups of secretaries use one finger to operate the keyboard of the computer. The activities of the these quacks grow as the day goes by. The table of an average graduate secretary is that through polytechnic and universities ought to have these machines and put the students through with the required knowledge and skill before graduation, most of them do not have the machines and where secrecy available, they are faulty. It now follows that for the graduate secretary to adapt in the use of the machines, post graduation training is required. Other machines such as tax, radio communication gadgets. etc are never exposed to the secretaries at school. The result is that there quacks are busy taking up employment opportunities available to the graduate secretaries in Enugu metropolis. For instance, there is great need for the department of secretarial studies in our various institutions to be equipped with these machines, so that graduate secretaries could be trained and derived in the use of the machines before graduation.

Job opportunities abound for grates secretaries in the public services, big private companies such as banks, insurances and oil companies engineering and manufacturing companies, international organizations, tertiary institution, secondary schools and even in self employment. Employment opportunities in the medical technical, linguistic and legal organization are yet to be tapped by Nigeria secretaries due to lack of lack of training in these fields. In the western counties like untied states of America (USA) and Britain, secretaries are thriving in these field. Infact a general review of the NBTE curriculum and course specification, for secretarial studies by the researcher reveals in adjutancy for he new millennium’s job demands on the secretaries and a poor state of affairs for the secretary of he paperless office.


1. To ascertain the extent to which the course content of the graduate programme in adequate for the job requirements on the graduate secretaries.

2. To investigate employment prospects available to secretaries, project new employment horizon and tackle unemployment problems among graduate secretaries

3. To determine the positive and negative effects of automation of modern office functions on the job prospects of graduate secretaries.

4. To ascertain the perception of people on the jog potentials of the serving graduate secretaries, and make appropriate recommendations.


At a time like this when almost all fields of human endeavour are discovering new things and new ways of doing things and / or practicing their professions a study of this nature become very important to announce a new dawn in secretarial practice.

The national Board for Technical Education (NBTE), which specifies the course curriculum of secretarial studies in our tertiary institutions, will particularly find this study very useful. It would enlighten the Board on possible areas to be incorporated into the course curriculum of the graduate programme in secretarial studies, to meet up wit the current job demands on graduate secretaries.

Tertiary institutions offering secretarial studies would see the need to acquire modern sophisticated office machines / equipment such as computers, word processors, fax machines, etc put these machines always in good working condition and use them in training secretaries at school.

Application graduate secretaries will also benefit form this study, as it would provide sources of employment information. The study will equally wake up the servicing secretaries to the appropriates potentials on the job and brace up to the challenges of the time in order to recreate the true image of secretarial practice which has so much suffered misconceptions.

Other researchers on similar topics in future will find this study a veritable material for secondary data.


1. To what extent is the course content of the graduate programme adequate for the job requirement on the secretaries in the new millennium?

2. What areas do you think employment opportunities a sound for secretaries and are there other areas you believe secretarial training in Nigerian institutions is yet to embrace?

3. What are the positive and negative effect of automation of modern office functions on the job prospects of adequate secretaries.

4. What is your perception to the employment prospects / potentials of the graduate secretaries.

5. How do people see the relationship exiting between secretary and her boss?


During the comes of this study, several materials were reviewed. These included journals. Books, lecture notes, seminar contributions, newspapers etc. This motive was to seek the opinions of others already on the topic under review and compare such opinion with a view to making further contributions on the job prospects of graduate of secretarial studies.

Therefore, for the purpose of better understanding and coherent presentation of the review, the researcher broke up this chapter under the following sub-headings:

1) The graduate secretary definition categories, responsibilities and attributes.

2) Academic qualifications required for one to train as a graduate secretary in Nigeria universities and polytechnics.

3) Courses studied by graduate secretaries

4) Job opportunities for graduate secretaries.

5) Sources of employment information

6) Office automation and graduate secretaries job prospects.


The term “secretary” is derived from the latin word ‘secretaries’ meaning “something known only to one of few persons and kept separate or hider from the view or knowledge of others.

Azuka (1990) defined a secretary as one employed by another person, society or corporation, for the purpose of conducting corresponded, keeping business records and transacting other business.

According to the national secretaries association (international) a secretary is defined as a n executive assistance who possess a mastery of office skills, demonstrates the ability to assume responsibility without direct supervision exercises initiative and judgment and makes decisions within the scope of assigned authority.

Hornby (2000) opined that a secretary is “employee in an office who deals with correspondence, keeps records, makes arrangement and appointments for a particular members of the staff an official who has charge of he correspondence, record and other business affairs of a society, club or other organization”.

Place (1972) in his own simple view of the secretary, asserts that a secretary is “someone without direct responsibility who assists another with communication and public relations in business, professional and personal affairs.

Looking at the secretary from the point of view of her position, Eleamor (1980) define secretary ship as a complex activity requiring knowledge, experience and social skills, which need continually to be developed.

In his own view, Roman (1975) further says that the perfect secretary requires to possess all the virtues and none of the vices, she is a seer and a psychologist with processes of the firm, mentally equipped to tackle any situation in the essence of the chief executive, an interpreter of the acts and reactions of the boss and in short jewel among other employees.

Obodo (1996) said there is no gain saying the fact that the secretary is a professional and expert handler of office record, correspondence and in fact an information reservoir of he office. He therefore opined that sound educational background is a pre-requisite for anyone to actually work as a proficient and skilled secretary. Obdo went further to say that at least B. Sc. OR HND in secretarial studies / Administration is required of anyone who would work as a secretary in the present business environment. He went further to say is very necessary as the functions of graduate secretary borders on professional and expert handling of information, correspondence and documents. While other handlers of information may claim the title secretary for want of appropriate nomenclature, the fit and proper person entitled to the title, is one who by training, education and grooming in the art of record keeping is secret or confidentiality oriented.

Aniagolu (1993) said that discretion and confidentiality are indispensable qualities of a graduate secretary, and in fact the major ethics of the profession.

This corroborates that original meaning of the latin word secretaries from which the word secretary was coined. Explaining further, she said that a lot of lumour, proficiency, knowledge, is required of the graduate secretary because she is the pillar of the organization. Through her training, the graduate secretary develops high dexterity in typing and shorthand, and in other management course. The secretary is placed in such a position that according to Eleamor (1980) with her skills and understanding of the organization and administrative procedures, she has the capacity of obtaining results through other people on behalf of the employer. The graduate secretary she concluded is a human machine, versatile in knowledge, skills and interaction and a nucleus from where the efficient organization of the office emits.

Odenigbo (1996) in his own contribution, said he present environment of the curriculum for the graduate programme in secretarial studies, the graduate secretary is equipped with adequate knowledge, administrative and a managerial skills at the end of the training so as to be able to carry out administrative and managerial functions which she is looked upon today to discharge, in the secretary as a typist and stenographer.


In his effort to identify the various types and / or categories of secretaries, in relational to their level of operation, Azuka (1990) categorized secretaries, thus:


This is the graduates secretary employed to assist another person in correspondence in getting information for him and in assisting him in other confidential matters. He may be employed by any person ranging from the head of an institution administrative officer or a manager.

Anikene (1996) said that category of secretaries performs much secretarial functions and less administrative functions.


This is a civil servant who acts as the executive head of he ministry; such government secretaries perform special functions. Azuka said they assist and advice the minister or commissioner as the case may be.


The company secretary he went further to say holds a very influential position in any company. The work of a company secretary begins with the floating of the company and ends with its liquidation. He is the link between the directors and shareholders. He attends to routine duties of organization administration, writing letters, reports, proceedings and minutes of meetings in compliance with company’s act.

Harison et al (1979) identified another category of secretaries which they tagged stenographers / confidential secretaries. The different categories of secretaries are distinguished by their levels of education and interaction according to Aniagolu (1993).

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Writing on the various educational qualifications of the different categories of secretaries, Aniagolu (1993) and Anikene (1996) said that the personal secretary, should posses B. Sc. / HND in secretarial studies / administration to qualify as a graduate secretary. The permanent secretary or Director General Aniagolu said is one who rose to that rank and this nomenclature is used for lack of appropriate nomenclature as earlier stated, this also applies to the company secretary. These types of secretaries hold degrees in various disciplines especially in law and public administration. A degree or diploma in secretarial studies may be an added advantage in their discharge of functions according to Anikene (1996).

Writing further on the qualifications of the stenographer / confidential secretary Harison, et al (1979) said a stage II certificate in typewriting and shorthand obtained in the certificate examinations of Royal society of Arts (R.S.A) WAEC business studies (WBS), National Business and Technical Education Board (NABTEB), or pitman London certificate, would suffice. This class of secretaries are not graduates and it is obvious that the level of education and exposition of such people is grossly inadequate for the present days secretarial practice. Obodo (1996) would want to believe this class of secretaries are poorly equipped academically for the onerous tasks of secretarial duties. He said education training up to university of polytechnic (B. Sc / HND) is the only sure way of equipping the new millennium’s secretaries with the adequate knowledge and practical skills. These enable them to be proper and fit persons to confront the greater part of organizational functions trust on their shoulders.

However, of all the categories of secretaries listed above, Odenigbo (1996) made it clear that when we talk of secretaries, we refer to those who carry out secretarial functions. Graduate secretaries, he concluded are those who had obtained (B Sc.) or (HND) in secretarial studies / Administration and who are employed or would be employed in organizations to carryout pure secretarial functions. It is only secretaries in this category that are covered in this study.


Aniagolu (1993) said that the duties performed by graduates secretaries might very from office to office depending on the nature of the organization. These duties include.

1. Handling the day-to-day routine work, example, correspondence, filing, indexing etc.

2. Taking dictations and transcribing it on the typewriter.

3. Convening meetings and taking down the minutes of the meeting.

4. Supervisions of subordinates to ensure full implementation of the policies of the organization.

5. Liaising between staff and atop management.

6. Advising management on legal or statutory issues.

7. Receiving visitors, keeping the executives diary and arranging his appointments.

8. Taking care of the executives petty cash and bank transactions.

9. Keeping the statutory accounts books of the organization.

10. Booking hotel accommodation and making travel arrangements.

11. Handling of telephone callers etc.

Nweke (1986) remarked that the duties of he secretary is quite enormous, but she would not find the duty performance of her duties hectic if proper plans of such activities are made ahead of time.

It is useful to hectic certain aids, for instance, the use of telephone directory, airways guide and atlas.

The secretary is not expected to memorize all pieces of information but she is a reservoir for her boss on all sources of information.

He went further to express that it is not clear the extent the Nigerian secretaries are given the free hand to discharge their functions. Many executives take their telephone calls direct without recourse to the secretary who is supposed to sift callers and ward off undesirable callers. He also observed that today because of the slogan ‘m’ some visitors by-pass the secretary and go straight to the boss even when where is no previous appointment. What about those who have been designated in offices and given charge of confidential files and documents, yet they are not secretaries? There are yet others who act as public relations officers and are called image-makers of the organization.

The graduate secretary ought not and is no longer secluded to typing and writing shorthand alone. Her role has assumed great dimensions. This may have predicated the new titles given to secretaries, viz: private, confidential and company secretaries.

To be able to effectively carryout the many duties and withstand the heat of the day’s work, Aniagolu (1993) said some business and personal attribute / abilities are required of a graduate secretary.


The business attributes are qualities which the secretary should have for her to contribute meaningful to the running of the organization. The include

1) A good qualification in secretarial studies at least B. Sc or HND/

2) Initiative

3) Punctuality of duty

4) Willingness and conscientiousness

5) Discretion, diplomacy, tact and confidentiality

6) Loyalty to the employer

7) Responsibility – the secretary is usually responsible for certain amount and degree of the employers routine work which she must carryout efficiently and cheerfully, (Harison, et al 1977).


Anigolu stressed t hat the secretary should have certain natural abilities that are required to build her into a good secretary. These include;

1) Good general appearance and neatly dressed for the office

2) Self-control, understanding and good humour

3) Desire to add to her knowledge through constant reading of newspapers, journals and other good books.

4) Willingness to help her employer at all times.

5) Good health

Commenting further on the attributes of the secretary, Nedubuisi (2003) said, “a sound knowledge of English language is quite relevant as a secretary who cannot express himself or herself well (orally and in writing) is worthless in the labour market.” He identified some people who occupy secretaries seats in organizations but cannot construct good letters, cannot interact with people fluently, despise typing and shorthand works, as decorative statues.

It is not surprise to see today secretaries who nag at customers and treat visitors in the office with such discourteousness, that one begins to wonder where the original courteousness, cheerfulness, understanding sand good humour with which secretaries are associated with, have gone.

Obodo (2000) said this kind of secretaries are those who do not have flair for the course but went into secretarial studies as a stepping ground and when their visions could not be realized through inability to cleat certain papers, they graduate as disgruntled, inefficient and unenthusiastic secretaries. He concluded such people purely lack the vocation of the course.

Nweke emphasized that the productivity of the secretary depends to a great deal on the amount and extent of personal and business attributes she posses.

For instance, if she is a habitual latecomer to the office, the business of the organization will suffer because punctuality is the soul of business. In the same vein, if she lacks patience, self control and understanding, a nagging visitor may put her off for the whole day while her other staring volumes of work would not help matters.


Joint admission and matriculation board (JAMB) 2002 specify some polytechnics and universities in Nigeria that offer secretarial studies programme. Prominent among these institutions at the institute of management and technology (IMT) Enugu, Federal Polytechnic Bauchi Federal Polytechnic Idah, Kogi State, Rivers State University to mention but a few some laid down academic requirements, must be met by candidate(s) aspiring to be admitted into the university or polytechnic to study secretarial studies.

National Board for Technology Education (NBTE) (2000) is of the opinion that the essence of establishing the minimum academic requirements is to ensure uniformity in entry qualifications especially in polytechnics.

Obodo (2000) also opined that is important that admission of candidates into higher institutions of learning be regulated to ensure that the course(s) is / are studied by only those who actually have the vocation and the aptitude for them and would come out in flying colours at the end of the programme as against admitting candidates may be on quotas and who are not academically competent to study the course(s) and will in the end be half-baked graduates.

According to NBTE, the graduate programme in Nigerian polytechnics is organized on a two-tier basis, thus;

a) The National Diploma (ND)

b) The Higher National Diploma (ND)


This is a two-year programme, which is aimed at producing graduate secretaries to be employed at the intermediate manpower level. This entry qualification for the programme include a credit level pass at the seniors schools certificate ordinary level examination in any four of he subjects listed below at one sitting or any five of the subjects at two sitting.

However, a credit level pass in English language, and ordinary pass in mathematics are compulsory. These subject are:

• English language

• Literature in English

• Commerce

• Economics

• Accounts / book-keeping

• Typewriting

• Shorthand

• Business method

• Mathematics


NBTE went further to regulate that on completion of the national diploma programme and one –year students industrial work experience interested candidates may apply for the higher national diploma programme. The programme has duration of two academic years candidates seeking admission for the HND programme must meet the following entry qualifications.

a) Must have met the minimum entry requirement for admission into the national diploma programme

b) Must have completed a one-year post national diploma supervised industrial attachment programme

c) Must have obtained a cumulative grade more out of a 4.00 points scale.

It is necessary to add that candidates who did not meet the condition in “C” above i.e those who could not obtain the minimum scale point of 2.50 may be admitted into the higher national diploma programme after they must have completed a two-ear post national diploma supervised industrial attachment.

In addition to the polytechnics, very few universities offer courses in secretarial administration and according to JAMB (2000), their admission entry form requirements are similar to those of the polytechnic except that the universities, candidates are expected to obtain credit level passes in at least five subjects at the senior school certificate examinations at one sitting.


Obodo (2002) lamented the wrong impression held by some people that secretarial studies are synonymous with shorthand and typewriting. This wrong notion needs to be corrected, he asserted. A trained graduate secretary is expected to be very versatile and knowledgeable in business management and administration because the modern secretary is looked upon as a manager rather than a typist or stenographer.

The National Board for Technical Education (NBTE) propounds the following careers to be studied by prospective graduate secretaries at the national diploma level in the polytechnic.


1. Shorthand

2. Typewriting

3. English language

4. Principles of Accounts

5. Introduction to business

6. Office practice

7. Business mathematics

8. Principles of law

9. Secretarial duties

10. Principles of economics

11. Government

12. Word processing

13. Project

In an existence of both the national diploma and higher national diploma coarse, Odenigbo (1996) went further to say that they and designed to equip the HND graduates with versatile knowledge and ardent skill to face the complexities of modern business management. He adhered that in Nigeria, secretarial studies are yet to be come a professional course which it is. In areas such as medicine and law, after the graduate training, one may decide to specialize in one area because it is usually not advisable to have all the general knowledge without being a master in one particular area.


Writing on employment prospects for graduate secretaries, Olusanya (1987) said that opportunities are rapidly opening up for secretaries in Government, Banking, Oil, Insurance, Publishing companies, etc where they can rise to executive positions.

He made and existence of the job opportunities as follows:


He defined public service as organization / establishments owned by the government with its employees appointed by the government. These employees discharge the duties in compliance with the rules and regulations laid down by the employer. The public services is usually very bureaucratic in nature and it is devoted to the enhancement of the welfare of the community.

Graduate secretaries can be employed by the public services as confidential secretaries on a commencement salary of graduate level 08 and above. They have opportunity of growth on the job up to graduate level 16. Also, a secretary can attain a very high position in the employment of public service through conversion from the secretary cadre to the administrative cadre. Some training programmes are designed to encourage such conversion and growth.


These companies includes commercial companies like banks, oil, insurance, construction building and manufacturing industries, legal firms, international organizations, airways, publishing companies etc.

Some of these organizations allow secretaries to rise to executive positions. They provide in-service trainings for the secretaries for adv ancement.

In addition, they are encouraged by their employers to sit for professional examinations of the various professional bodies to enable them diversity their employment opportunities.

Olusanga (1987) went further to note that these companies remunerate their secretaries very commensurately because they are expected to put in their best at the various work places, being pillars of the organizations.


The gradates of secretarial studies from the universities and polytechnics have employed opportunities in tertiary institutions. A secretary with a good degree / diploma could be employed to teach in the business education or secretarial studies department of the universities / polytechnics. She has the opportunities of growing on the job to the position of a professor if she is able to publish academic books and journals and also grow in her career by embarking upon a postgraduate programme.

As an alternative, if she decides not to take to teaching, she may be employed as an administrative staff where she could rise to the position of a registrar.


Graduates of secretarial studies may be gainfully to employ in the secondary schools to each some commercial subject such as typewriting, shorthand office practice, commerce, business studies economics etc. Since they are graduates they have prospect of rising to the position of supervisors of education or principals on special cadre before retirement.

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Allied of this areas is in the commercial colleges. Graduates of secretarial studies potentialities could be utilized in imparting knowledge to students. The graduate secretary will be opportune to demonstrate her skill on a wide range of subjects.


A graduate secretary could go into self-employment. This may be achieved through various ways. Some of the self-employment avenues available to her are as follows:

a) Establishing commercial colleges for training of candidates for the NABTED, SSCE and other equivalent where people can type, cyclostyle and photocopy documents on commercial basis.

b) Establishing secretarial service Bureau where people can type, cyclostyle and photocopy documents on commercial basis

c) Establishing a computer-training centre as well as internet services.

Ali (1978) said that through these self-employment, the graduate secretary would not only provide means of livelihood for himself, but could be helping the economy further by providing gainful employments opportunities for others who would hav othersie reminaed unemployed.

He went on to note that in the recent times, government has recognized the need to encourage young graduates to go into self-employment. Consequently, government has established the national directorate of employment (NDE). This agency grants loans to unemployed graduates to start their own business enterprises.

The loans are granted to the beneficiaries based on their certificates, which are mortgaged to the NDE as security. Many graduates have utilized the opportunity offered by the scheme.


Flippo(1984) opined that graduates of secretarial studies who are looking for employment may seek information regarding employment vacancies form the following media amongst others;


Organizations that have vacant positions may advertise them in the national and local newspapers. Applicants may get jobs by responding to the advertise positions.


The polytechnics and universities may be visited by prospective employees to seek information about employment vacancies.


This ministry has the offices in every state to enable unemployed persons to the information about firms / establishments where job opportunities exist.


Job requiring highly skilled personnel or professional may be advertised in the professional journal. These include “the tool Engineer” for production Engineer, “the Nigerian accountant for accountants, medical journals for doctors and medical personnel, the practicing Nigerian secretaries and legal journals for layers and notary public. Job seekers could readily apply for such posts.


In situation where staff are urgently needed, unemployed graduates may apply by responding to postal.


Applicants can apply directly to companies where they intend to work without the position being adverted.


This means filling vacant positions from within, serving secretaries may be promoted to vacant positions.


The phrase “office automation has been variously tagged the millennium officer” office automation is defined as the integration of computers, communication and advanced office equipment to support the many activities that occur in an office environment (Senni. R. 1978).

Many areas of office functions and activities have been automated but the fact seen (1978) concluded that an office can never be truly automated like the robot-run manufacturing assembling lines. These areas include word processing, computer graphics, desktop publishing, typewriting, copying and printing, office communication, fascicle transmission, local area networks, telecommunication, remote conferencing etc.

James (1982) maintained that the introduction of these machines has increased output generally and technological changes have sped up office operations. It is obvious that the invention of modern machines (computer and word processors, for example) has gone a long way to “eliminating expectative handling of information, increased secretaries rate of out put and improve their performance of work.

The popular belief that new technology will replace human labour by robot’s is completely falsie. Actually, there was the fear of replacement but instead; it has created more job opportunities especially for the secretaries. This was noted in the words of Druker (2000)… “it was widely believed that mass production technology yesterday’s industrial revolution threw people out of work”. Today, we see that whenever office automation or technology is introduced, it rapidly increase the number of job opportunities in industries.

For the secretaries, the introduction of modern technology into the secretarial practice has brought some advantages and disadvantages. Job opportunities have actually opened but many people today have become emergency secretaries. These people who did not acquire formal education in secretarial practice enroll in computer centres and undertake short period training.

After, they issued with certificates to the effect that they can operate computers and word processors. Such people are employed by organizations to operate these machines while anything that has to do with keyboard ought to be exclusive preserver for secretaries. The end result is that even though automation has opened up job opportunities for secretaries, there are many scramblers for the position and it has given room for quack in this prestigious profession.

According to the observation of Ogunlade (1986) unemployment now gnaw many Nigerian graduate secretaries in the face and they have joined the greater percentage of Nigerians being blown off their feet by unemployment, unlike in the past when secretaries were “hot cakes”.


The 79 (seventy nine) questionnaires distributed among the working class graduate secretaries, 74 (seventy four) were returned well completed. Out of the fifty (50) questionnaire s circulated among applicant graduate sectaries, only 46 (forty six) were also returned will completed; while all the four (4) questionnaires given to the senior management executive were returned bringing the total number of respondents to 124 (one hundred and twenty four).

This chapter is therefore presented in two sections.

Section I relates to the analysis of the data got from working class and applicant graduate secretaries analyzed collectively or separately as the case may be while

Section II will deal with analysis of data collected form senior management executives.



What qualifications did you obtained?



Variable No of respondents Percentage

HND Sec. Studies 80 66%

B. Sc. Sec. Admin. 20 17%

ND. Sec. Studies 15 13%

NCE Sec. Studies 5 4%

Total 120 1005

From table 1 above, 80 representing 66% of the respondent hold HND in secretarial studies, 20 or 17% obtained B. Sc. In secretarial Administration while 15 or 13% hold ND in secretarial studies. An insignificant number of 5. or 4% are NEC holders in secretarial studies.


Did you obtain the requisite entry qualifications into the graduate programme of secretarial studies?



Variable No of respondents Percentage

Yes 100 83%

No – –

Not at all 20 17%

Total 120 100%

The table portrays 100 or 83% of the respondents as obtaining all the request entry qualification into the graduate programme of secretarial studies, while 20 or 17% did not obtain at all.


Did you study all the course specified by NBTE for the graduate programme of secretarial studies.



Variable No of respondents Percentage

All the course 80 66%

Not at all the course 30 25%

I don’t know 10 9%

Total 120 1005

Looking at the table 3 above, 80 or 66% of the respondents studied all the course 30 representing 25% said they did not do at all, 10 or 9% of the respondents were ignorant of the list of course for the programme and therefore do not know whether the whole courses were covered.


How long have you been or did you look for a job after graduation?



Variable No of respondents Percentage

1 year 95 79%

2 – 3 years 8 7%

6 – months 10 8%

3 years and above 7 6%

Total 120 100%

Table 4 above 95 representing 79% of the respondents as saying that they look for job one year after graduation while 10 or 8% searched for six months to get job, 8 or 7% of the respondents spent 2-3 years in search of employment while 7 or 6% spent 3 years and above to fid a source of living.


To what extent did you obtain the necessary knowledge and practical skill required for the present day job demand on secretaries?



Variables No of respondents Percentage

To a great extent 110 92%

To a minimal extent 10 8%

Total 120 100%

From the table 5 above, 110 representing 92% of the respondents said they got ample knowledge and practical skills at school and therefore well equipped for the present day job demand on secretaries, 10 or 8% of the respondents said only minimal knowledge and practical skills were acquired.


Which of these modern office machines were you trained and exposed to at school?



Variable No of respondents Percentage

a. Electric typewriting – –

b. Computers – –

c. Word processors – –

d. Fax machines – –

e. A and C only 95 79%

f. All of the above – –

g. None of the above 25 21%

Total 125 100%

From the above table, 95 or 97% of the respondents were only trained in the use of electronic typewriters and word processors at school while 25 or 21% said they did not receive any training whatsoever in the use of sophisticated office machines mentioned in the table.


If your answer to question 6 above is (g) why?


Variable No of respondents Percentage

Unavailability of the machines in the office practice – –

The ones available are only about one or two in number – –

The ones available are in serious state of disrepair 25 100%

Total 25 100%

Table 7 above shows that all the respondents who claimed they were not exposed to the use of modern office machines attributed the lack of exposure to state of disrepair of the available machines.


Do you have the sophisticated machines mentioned in question 6 in your office?



Variable No of respondents Percentage

Yes 74 100%

No – –

Total 74 100%

The table shows that the whole respondent (74) representing (100% have and make use of modern sophisticated office machines in carrying out secretarial functions in their offices.


Did you experience initial problems in the operation of such machines when you started work?



Variable No of respondents Percentage

a. Very serious initial problems 30 41%

b. Minimal initial problems 40 54%

c. No problems at all 4 5%

Total 74 100%

Table 9 above reveals that 30 or 41% of the respondents experienced very serious initial problems in the manipulation of sophisticated modern office machines at the statement of work while 40 or 54% had only minimal initial problem. An insignificant number of 4 or 5% were only respondent whose training from school carried them through with these machines on resumption of work.


Did you agree that the introduction of these machines create more job opportunities for graduate secretaries.

TABLE 4.10


Variable No of respondents Percentage

a. Strongly agree 100 83%

b. Agree – –

c. Strongly disagree – –

d. Disagree 20 17%

Total 120 100%

Table 10 above shows a majority number of 100 representing 83% of the respondents as strongly agreeing that office automation has created more job opportunities for secretaries while 20 or 17% disagree with such belief.



Do you have graduate secretaries in your employ?


Variables No of respondent Percentage

a. Very many – –

b. Many 2 50%

c. Very few 1 2%

d. Few – –

e. None at all 1 25%

Total 4 100%

From the table above, 2 representing 50% of the respondents said categorically that they have graduate secretaries in their employ; while 1 or 25% said they have very few graduate secretaries in their employ. However, 1 or 25% also stated they had none at all in their employ.


To what extent can graduate secretaries rise in their jobs in your organization



Variables No of respondents Percentage

a. Senior management positions 1 25%

b. Perpetual sewants 2 50%

c. Level of growth unenviable 1 25%

Total 4 100%

Looking through table 2, 2 representing 50% of the respondents hold the belief that graduate secretaries are perpetual servants in organization while 1 or 25% agree that graduate secretaries could rise to hold senior management positions.

However, 1 or 25% believe that level of growth is unenviable.



In table 2 and 3, 100 or 83% of the respondents stated they get all the entry qualifications while 20 or 17% stated they did not get at all.

The researcher thinks that the later many have cleared their defects through preliminary studies usually offered by the institutions. However, it is of interest that a great majority of secretaries had this good formation. On the other hand, 80 or 66% of the respondents in table 3 stated they studied all the courses / subjects for the graduate programme and 30 or 25% averred that they could not while 10 or 90% do not even know the subjects specified by NBTE for the programme, so that they could not be sure of which ones they did not study.

Going by the revelations of this table, it is clear that many institutions do not offer all the courses may be due to lack of equipment or death of lecturers. One finds that today, for some secretaries to be properly equipped in knowledge and practical skills, especially in the operation of modern and sophisticated office machines, further training or rather post graduation training on personal efforts or by the employer becomes apparent.

Some respondents confirmed this as we can see in table 5 where, even through the majority (110) or 92% of the respondents agreed that they acquired a great deal of knowledge and practical skills at school, 10 or 8% said only minimal knowledge and skills were obtained.

The statistical data in table 6 shows, that some institutions have only electronic typewriters and word processor, indicated by 95 or 21% said, the institutions where they trained had no modern office machines such as computers, fax machines etc.

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A secretary that does not have the knowledge and practical skills in manipulation and use of modern office equipment has serious problems. This is because most of organizations and offices are currently automated as we can see from table 8 where 74 or 100% (the whole respondents) stated that such machines / equipments are available in their organizations and offices.

Table 9 shows that 30 or 41% of the respondents experienced serious initial problems in the operation of such machines, 40 or 54% were subjected to only minimal problems while just an insignificant number of 4 or 5% did not encounter much initial problem on statement of work. This may be responsible for the current trend whereby graduate secretaries spent or spend an unreasonably length of time in search of jobs as most organizations now require the proper knowledge of the operation of modern equipment before they could employ anyone as a secretary.

In table 4, 95 or 79% spend one year in search of job, 8 or 7% spend 2-3 years and worse still 7 or 6 languish with out jobs for 3 years and more. Only an encouraging number of 10 or 8% were lucky to secure jobs after about 6 months.

To buttress the cause(s) of unemployment courage among secretaries today, and the effects of automation of office functions on the job prospects of secretaries.

The problem here is that many chief executives hold wrong notion about the secretarial profession –either classing graduate secretaries as typists and stenographers, who did not train in other administrative and managerial courses or supportive staff who have little or nothing to offer to the organization except to type and take notes in shorthand. This class of respondents went further to branch secretaries as staff whose level of growth on thee job is unenviable.

However, in Nigeria, secretarial training is yet to embrace such areas whereby secretaries could repair the various modern office machines they use. Also no training is being offered especially for those who would work in legal and medical establishments to equip them with the knowledge of outlines of most of the professional jargons particular to these filed.

The researcher shares the views of he first respondents as these areas, if appropriated, would provide more employment opportunities for graduate of secretarial studies and go a long way to buttress the idea of versatility with which secretaries are usually associated with.


The researcher summarizes the findings thus:-

1) That basis academic entry qualification is a safe foundation for the training of graduate secretaries to avoid post-natural problems.

2) That the present NBTE course curriculum of the graduate program needs to be broadened to accommodate some field neglected in secretarial training.

3) That because of poor training and in adequate skills acquired by secretaries at school especially in the use of modern and sophisticated office machines, most secretaries experience lots of difficulties on resumption of duties in this regard.

4) That the quality and quantity of training given to secretaries need to be greatly improved as graduate secretaries have been emancipated from the shackles of mere typist/stenographers and administrative positions.

5) The opportunities are available to graduates of secretarial studies in almost all fields of business and human endeavour and the sky is the limit of them who know their onions.

6) The introduction of modern office functions has created more employment opportunities for secretaries, but some quakes and hastily scrambling and taking up these positions.

7) That graduate secretaries have become applicant as a results of retrenchment while some other look for many years without success unlike in the past.

8) That some chief executives in some organization still relegate their secretaries to the background.

9) That most tertiary institutions office practice laboratories are not equipped with sophisticated office machines.

10) Many people employed in offices as secretaries today are not graduates.

11) Many secretaries are already making giant studies in their career and performing administrative and managerial functions efficiently.


It is fitting and wise to conclude this study by saying that commends one to quick employment opportunity as secretarial studies. And in all fields of human endeavour, secretaries are needed and are found managing and administering office functions efficiently. This had given them the name office managers’ in the western countries.

A graduate secretary is well equipped academically and practically to organize an office efficiently. And the introduction of modern machines in this area has made the profession ore uncreative and less tasking.

The bright future for secretaries can no longer be over –shadowed by those who do not want to recognize the dignity of this profession as many secretaries are already making giant strides in their careers and many viable job opportunities are fast evolving for them.


The importance of making very significant recommendations as a result of the findings in this study cannot be over-emphasized.

The researcher therefore postulates the following recommendations which if imbibed and implemented by all concerned, will improve the level of efficiency of secretaries and equip them with necessary knowledge and skills to appropriate the ever-growing employment opportunities for them as we are already in the age of paperless office.

1. Tertiary institutions offering secretarial studies should be equipped with sophisticated machines such as computers, world processors, facsimile machines, etc and maintain these machines by regular servicing and use them in imparting knowledge and skill on the graduate secretaries.

Obodo (1996) said that because of the absence of the machines in schools, the graduate secretary is not properly equipped to face the challenges of automated office after school.

2. Much effort should be put to disallow those who lack vocation for secretarial studies to study the course. This is because such person use the course as stepping ground and if luck runs out of such gamblers, they turn out to be disgruntled, inefficient and unenthusiastic secretaries.

3. The course content of secretarial studies should be expanded to include special training in areas such as technical, legal, linguistic and medical secretaryship.

4. Graduate secretaries should carryout propaganda on the evils of quack / non-professional secretaries who occupy positions in organizations as secretaries and also consciences some uniformed senior management executives on the difference between secretaries.

5. Like their counter parts in other professional fields such as engineers, medicine, law and architecture, graduate secretaries should be placed on higher level as salary starting point against the placing on 08 in the civil service for instance, with other gradates who did not read professional courses.

6. Graduate secretaries should be allowed to enjoy growth to lips and bounds in their career against the present pegging of their growth on the job o n GL 13 in the civil servant.

7. The graduate secretaries should see the modern inventions in office technology as annually in progress and therefore swing into action to grab what rightfully belong to them.

8. As a matte of urgency, special institutions of secretaries with highly sophisticated equipment should be established for secretaries who are to be trained in post- qualification secretarial administration.



The questionnaire is in three section; section I is working class graduate secretaries and section III for top management executives. Please answer / respond to the questions in the section appropriate to you by ticking () in the boxes provided against any option you deem correct.


1. Name of organization ———————————————–

2. Sex

a) Male [ ] (b) Female [ ]

3. Age

a) 20-25 [ ] (b) 26-30) [ ] (c) 31 – 35

4. Which institution did you attend?

a) University [ ] (b) Polytechnic [ ] (c) College of

Education [ ]

5. What qualifications did you obtain?

a) B. Sc. Sec Admin [ ] (b) HND Sec. Studies [ ] (c)

NCE Sec Studies [ ] (d) ND Sec Studied

6. Did you obtain all the entry qualifications into the graduate programme of secretarial studies?

(a) Yes [ ] (b) [ ]

7. Did you study all the course specified by NBTE for the graduate programme of Sec Studies?

(a) Yes [ ] (b) [ ] (c) Not at all [ ]

8. How long did you look for a job after graduation

a) Months [ ] (b) 1 year [ ] (c) 2-3 year [ ] (d) 2 years and more [ ]

9. To what extend did you obtain the necessary knowledge and practical skills for the present job demand on secretaries?

a) To a great extent [ ] (b) To a minimal extent [ ]

10. Which of these modern machines were you trained and exposed to at school?

a) Computer [ ] (b) Word processor [ ] (c) Fax

machine [ ] (d) a and c only [ ] (e) All of

the above [ ] (f) None of the above [ ]

11. If your answer to question 10 is (f) why?

a) Unavailability of such machines in the office practice laboratory.

b) The ones available are only about one or two

c) The available are in serious state of disrepair

12. Do you make use of these sophisticated machines listed in question 10 in your office?

(a) Yes [ ] (b) [ ]

13. Did you experience initial programmes in the operation of the machines?

a) Very serious initial problem [ ]

b) No problem at all [ ]

14. If your answer to question 13 above is option ‘a’ and ‘b’ did you employer send you further training on the operation of the machine?

(a) Yes [ ] (b) [ ]

15. Do you agree that the introduction of these modern office machine create more job opportunities for secretaries?

a) Strongly agree [ ] (b) Agree [ ] (c) Strongly disagree [ ] (e) Disagree [ ]

16. Do you agree that office automation has thrown many secretaries off the job?

a) Strongly agree [ ] (b) Agree [ ] (c) Strongly disagree [ ] (e) Disagree [ ]

17. Do you believe that office automation has exposed secretarial field to infiltration of quacks / non-professionals?

a) Strongly agree [ ] (b) Agree [ ] (c) Strongly disagree [ ] (e) Disagree [ ]

18. Are there persons employed in your organization as secretaries who did not have formal graduate training in the field?

a) Very many [ ] (b) Many [ ] (c) Very few [ ] (d) few [ ] (e) none at all [ ]

19. Do you subscribe to the idea that any machine having to do with the keyboard should be exclusive preserve for secretaries?

(a) Yes [ ] (b) [ ]

20. Would you advocate for a broadening of the course of the graduate programme to incorporate special areas?

(a) Yes [ ] (b) [ ]

21. What areas would you suggest to be incorporated?

a) Technical secretaryship [ ] (b) Medical secretaryship [ ] (c) Legal secretaryship [ ] (d) Linguistic secretaryship[ ] (e) All of the above [ ]

22. Why would you choose option 21 (e) above?

a) Training in these areas are lacking in Nigeria institutions [ ] (b) It would create mote employment opportunities for secretaries [ ] (c) It would give credence to the notion of versatility on the part of secretaries [ ]

23. Do you now that as a graduate, you can rise to the most covetous positions in your organization?

a) I know clearly [ ] (b) It is possible [ ] (c) Don’t know [ ] (d) Don’t know clearly [ ]

24. How do you cope with the managerial and administrative functions you have had to perform as a graduate secretary?

a) I cope very well [ ] (b)I experience little problem[ ] (d) I find it very difficult to perform [ ]


25. Name———————————————————————

26. Sex

a) Male [ ] (b) Female [ ]

27. Age

a) 20-25 [ ] (b) 26-30) [ ] (c) 31 – 35 (d) 36-40 [ ] (e) 41 and above [ ]

28. Which institution did you attend?

a) University [ ] (b) Polytechnic [ ] (c) College of

Education [ ]

29. Which qualifications did you obtain?

a) B. Sc. Sec Admin [ ] (b) HND Sec. Studies [ ] (c)

NCE Sec Studies [ ] (d) ND Sec Studied

30. Did you obtain all the entry qualifications into the graduate programme of secretarial studies?

(a) Yes [ ] (b) [ ]

31. Did you study all the course specified by NBTE for the graduate programme of Sec Studies?

(a) Yes [ ] (b) [ ] (c) Not at all [ ]

32. How long did you look for a job after graduation

a) 6 Months [ ] (b) 1 year [ ] (c) 1-2 year [ ] (d) 2-3 years [ ] (e) 3 year and more [ ]

33. Have you ever worked in any organization before?

(a) Yes [ ] (b) [ ] (c) Not at all [ ]

34. How did you become an applicant?

a) Fresh graduate [ ] (b) Retrenchment [ ] (c) Resigned to seek a better opportunities [ ] (d) Organization folded up [ ]

35. Where would you want to get job now?

a) Oil company [ ] (b) Banking industries [ ] (c) Variable government establishment [ ] (d) Tertiary institutions / colleges / secondary school [ ] (e) Other big commercial companies [ ] (f) Self –employment [ ]

36. To what extent were you trained in the use of computers, word processor, fax machines electronic typewriters etc at school?

a) To a great extent [ ] (b) the training was haphazard [ ] (c) No significant exposure [ ] (d) None at all [ ]

37. If your answer to question 36 above is (d) why?

a) Machines not available [ ] (b) The ones available are faulty and in serious state of disrepair [ ] (c) Only about one or two machines were available [ ]

38. Do you think secretarial studies would commend you to any managerial / administrative positions in an organization?

(a) Yes [ ] (b) [ ]

39. Did you receive training in special areas such as medical, technical, legal and linguistic secretaryship?

(a) Yes [ ] (b) [ ]

40. Would you subscribe to be broadening of graduate programme course content to incorporate special trainings in the areas stared in question 39?

(a) Yes [ ] (b) [ ]


41. Do you have graduate secretaries in your employ?

a) Many [ ] (b) Very many [ ](c) few [ ] (d) very few [ ] (e) None at all [ ]

42. What is you conception / perception of a graduate secretary?

a) A Supportive staff [ ]

b) A receptionist / typist [ ]

c) A stenographer skilled in typewriting and shorthand [ ]

d) A manager [ ]

e) An executive assistant [ ]

f) The Ambassador minor of the organization [ ]

g) C, d, e, and f, only [ ]

h a and b only [ ]

43. To what extent can graduate secretaries rise in their jobs in your organization?

a) Senior management positions [ ]

b) Perpetual servants [ ]

c) Level of growth unattractive [ ]

44. How would you assess the performance of graduate secretaries sin your organization?

a) Very satisfactory [ ]

b) Satisfactory [ ]

c) Very unsatisfactory [ ]

d) Unsatisfactory [ ]

45. Do you really know the benefits to be derived in recruiting only graduates in this field into your organization as secretaries?

a) I know [ ] (b) I don’t really know [ ] (c) All secretaries are secretaries [ ]

Job Opportunities For Graduate Secretaries In This Millennium: (A Case Study Of Enugu Metropolis)

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