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Records manager

Manages information received and produced by a wide range of public and private sector organisations.

Job description

A records manager is responsible for the effective management of the information that is received and generated by an organisation.Information is at the centre of everything an organisation does. How it manages this information can directly affect its ability to operate efficiently.

Records management, defined as the systematic control of all business-relate documents throughout their life cycle, is a vital component of successful business practice. Record managers are employed to organise, maintain and protect a company’s information database, in both paper and electronic forms. The aim is to achieve a structured, efficient and user friendly system, resulting in effective and economical management of the company’s operations. Effective records management ensures that the information needed is retrievable, authentic, and accurate.

Documents include all forms of recorded information, such as: correspondence, computer data, files, financial statements, manuscripts, moving images, publications, photographs, sound recordings, drawings, or other material bearing upon the activities and functions of the institution or organisation, its officers, and employees. A document becomes a record when it is placed in an organised filing system for use as evidence or information. It becomes archival when transferred to a repository for preservation and research use.

Records managers must be dedicated to and proficient in methods of document use, storage, organisation and protection. Patience and a methodical, logical approach to work are prerequisites for this role. Tasks include storing, monitoring and maintaining records, developing and updating methods of classification and ensuring compliance with legislation.

Work activities

  • Meeting legal obligations for the creation and retention of paper and electronic records.
  • Maintaining operational efficiency by controlling the volume of records created and stored.
  • Identifying those records to be preserved for historical and research purposes.
  • Providing efficient access to the right information.

Work conditions

Travel: not a normal part of the working day.
Working hours: mainly office hours Monday to Friday.
Location: mainly in towns or cities throughout the country.
Opportunities for self-employment: unlikely.

Typical employers

  • Local or central government
  • Multinational companies
  • Schools, universities and other educational institutions
  • Museums and galleries
  • Charitable organisations
  • Records and information management consultancies.<

Career development

As records management is a relatively new profession career progression is not clearly defined.

Salaries

Salaries vary depending on employer and sector of employment. However, the Society of Archivists recommends that the minimum salary paid to archivists, archive conservators and records managers who have recently qualified in their respective professions should be: £22,001.

Entry requirements

Open to graduates of any discipline.

Other relevant degree subjects

  • Administration
  • Archaeology
  • Archive and museum studies
  • Classics
  • English
  • Geography
  • History
  • Law
  • Library and information studies
  • Modern languages.

Postgraduate study

To become a record professional (archivist or records manager) you will need a postgraduate qualification in archives/records management.

Training

Mainly on the job.

Tips for application

Experience in a relevant environment is recommended.

Skills and qualities

  • Good communication and interpersonal skills combined with the ability to work with many different people.
  • Ability to anticipate changing demands for use of information.
  • Excellent research and organisational skills.
  • Commitment to professional development.
  • Curiosity and an eye for detail.
  • Knowledge of industry specific software.
  • Good negotiation skills.
  • An analytical mind.
  • Working knowledge of current legisalation regarding data protection and freedom of information.

Labour market information

Legislative developments, including the freedom of information and data protection acts, have created substantial demand from employers for qualified records managers.