30-40 per week
£35,000 + per year
As a company secretary or chartered secretary, it would be your job to make sure that your company and its directors follow company law and financial regulations. If you have an organised approach to work, and would like a job dealing with business law and finance, this job could suit you.
You’ll be using your excellent communication skills to deal with people at many different levels. You’ll also need an eye for detail and have great negotiation and presentation skills.
Most company secretaries have a lot of business experience. Many new company secretaries also have a degree or professional qualifications in business, law, accountancy or public administration.
You would have a wide range of financial and legal management responsibilities, which would typically include:
- keeping records such as lists of directors and shareholders up to date
- sending company information to Companies House or to the Stock Exchange
- organising and taking minutes of annual general meetings and board meetings
- preparing annual company reports
- administering share option schemes and paying dividends
- keeping up to date with company law
- advising directors and board members about their legal responsibilities
- being the company’s named representative on legal documents
- dealing with other professionals like lawyers and auditors
Depending on the size of company you work for, you may also be responsible for accounting and finance like payroll, budget and internal audits. You could also oversee health and safety, property and general management.
Take a look at the ICSA: The Governance Institute (ICSA) website to read careers information and watch a video about the role of a company secretary.
Working hours and conditions
In a full-time job you would typically work standard office hours Monday to Friday. Part-time work is also possible. You may sometimes work extra hours to meet deadlines, or attend evening meetings.
You would be mainly office-based, but may travel to some meetings.
Starting salaries are usually around £35,000 a year.
With experience average salaries can rise to around £50,000 a year.
Senior company secretaries can earn around £70,000 a year.
Top salaries can be between £100,000 and £150,000 a year.
Figures are intended as a guideline only.
To become a company secretary you will need to have lots of business experience. Many company secretaries also have a degree or professional qualifications in business, law, accountancy or public administration. Even with a degree or professional qualifications you will need to show that you also have relevant experience.
Experience in the following areas could be useful:
- credit control
- office management
To be the secretary of a public limited company, you must qualify with the ICSA, or be an accountant, solicitor or barrister. Taking ICSA examinations may also improve your chances of finding employment if you wish to become a company secretary of a private limited company.
There are two ways to become a full chartered member of ICSA.
- Completing the Chartered Secretaries Qualifying Scheme (CSQS)
- ICSA validated postgraduate qualification
Once you have completed one of these qualifications you will become a graduate member of ICSA and gain GradICSA status.
Chartered Secretaries Qualifying Scheme (CSQS)
The CSQS is an open entry qualification, so you don’t need to have a degree to study it. It is made up of eight modules and the route you take through it will depend on your existing qualifications and experience. If you already have a related degree or are a law or finance professional you could be exempt from some modules.
Visit the ICSA website for more course information.
Validated postgraduate courses
You could also gain GradICSA status and become a chartered secretary by completing a postgraduate qualification that is validated by ICSA. Take a look at the ICSA website for more information on universities, courses on offer and entry requirements.
You can study for ICSA courses part-time or by distance learning whilst you are working, or full-time at certain colleges and universities. Contact individual course providers for more information.
If you're interested in becoming a company secretary, work experience could help you to decide whether this is the career for you. Work placements may sometimes be advertised on the ICSA website, or you could contact companies yourself.
Training and development
You will develop your knowledge on the job, as well as studying for the ICSA exams whilst you are working.
Once you have gained chartered status you will become a graduate member of ICSA. With six more years’ experience you can reach associate member level. After eight years of relevant work experience you can apply to become a fellow of the institute. Membership benefits include networking and professional development events, discount on training courses and a monthly newsletter.
ICSA also offers single-subject certificates, awards and qualifications. Courses include:
- Advance Certificate in Corporate Governance
- Certificate in Employee Shares
- Postgraduate Diploma in Charity Management
- Company Law and Compliance in Listed Companies
You can study these either as stand-alone qualifications or as part your ongoing professional development. See the ICSA website for details.
Skills, interests and qualities
To be a company secretary you should have:
- excellent spoken and written communication skills
- good presentation and negotiation skills
- good organisational and time management skills
- an eye for detail
- a good understanding of business law and finance
- sound judgement
- problem-solving ability
- the ability to prioritise and manage a busy workload
ICSA: The Governance Institute (ICSA)
6-10 Kirby St
Tel: 020 7580 4741
6 Graphite Square
Tel: 020 7091 9620
All public limited companies must have a company secretary by law. You could work for registered companies in all types of industry sector, or you could work in the public sector for local authorities, charities, universities or NHS hospital trusts.
Jobs may be advertised in the local and national press, law or accountancy industry publications, or websites for local authority or charity recruitment.
With experience you could become a company's chief executive or managing director. Alternatively, you could choose to work freelance as a consultant or a part-time company secretary for several smaller businesses.
You may find the following useful for job vacancies and general reading:
Job market information
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The 'Market statistics' charts are based on figures from the UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES) and the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
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