what is a receptionist?

A receptionist is an essential employee for many types of organisations and businesses. This job is inclusive of meeting and greeting clients and centre visitors and provide exceptional customer service. You greet people who enter the building or handle phone calls and emails for the company. Although receptionists' workloads are mostly related to customer service, they often perform other administrative tasks. Some receptionists assist with setting appointments, filing records and sorting mail.

what does a receptionist do?

Your role as a receptionist can vary a lot depending on the business. Sometimes, you are responsible for cleaning and tidying a reception area or providing beverages to guests. Some receptionists also handle payments or manage bookkeeping for their employers.

When most people think of receptionists, they visualise a person working in an office building. However, you'll find this position at any workplace that needs someone to coordinate interactions between customers and employees. That may be in an office or another type of location, depending on the industry sector. For example, some receptionists work in law firms receiving new clients and showing visitors to their appointments. In hospitals, receptionists direct patients to the right treatment areas and organise their medical records. Receptionists also work in hospitality,  and manufacturing.

receptionist jobs

average receptionist salary

The salary of a receptionist usually depends on the experience and skill level. When you are highly qualified, your starting salary will be generous even if you have minimal work experience. In Australia, the median remuneration package for a receptionist is $50,000 yearly. On the lower end, entry-level receptionists earn a median salary of $45,000 annually. Your salary can increase to over $55,000 yearly when you have extensive skills.

Most employers pay receptionists higher hourly rates for working overtime. You can also get year-end bonuses, which increase your salary prospects. While receptionists don't receive many extra allowances, most employers cover medical insurance costs and offer a car allowance.

how to increase your salary as a receptionist

The remuneration package of a receptionist often depends on the company size. When you work for a small start-up with limited resources, they may not afford to pay a high salary. However, working for a large organisation boosts your salary prospects. The complexity of the role and the company's extensive resources increase your remuneration.

Location can also influence your salary. For instance, working in metro areas and large cities improves your remuneration due to the high demand for receptionists. In smaller towns, the cost of living and lower need for receptionists lowers the average salary for workers.

Want to know what you will earn as a receptionist? Check out your real value with our salary checker.

receptionist salary

types of receptionists

While receptionist jobs can't be strictly categorised, there are several types of positions in this field. Some typical receptionist jobs include:

  • front desk receptionist: your job is to monitor the front desk and direct visitors entering the office to their appointments. You also ensure the reception area is tidy and add decorative touches to make it more welcoming.
  • corporate receptionist: you assist executive assistants with repetitive tasks like screening calls and handling mail. You also write memos from executives to staff and summarise reports from various departments.
  • hr receptionist: in a company with a dedicated HR department, you sit at the entrance of the departmental offices. You perform administrative tasks like tracking holidays and sick leave, filing paperwork for new workers and planning employee travel.
hotel receptionist giving directions to a guest
hotel receptionist giving directions to a guest

working as a receptionist

Working as a receptionist involves handling administrative and front-office duties. Let's explore the daily tasks and work environments of receptionists.


education and skills

Most employers don't have specific educational requirements for receptionists. You can join the profession with a high school or Year 10 certificate. You only need basic office and administrative skills, such as one year of experience in an administrative role. Most employers provide on-the-job training to equip receptionists with skills for managing office computer systems.

receptionist skills and competencies

Some of the qualities and soft skills of a receptionist include:

  • time management skills: as a receptionist, you must be good at setting priorities and meeting deadlines to ensure the organisation's functions are completed on time. You will become a valued member if you expedite your work and complete tasks before deadlines.
  • detail-oriented skills: as a receptionist, you must pay attention to details when performing tasks. For instance, if you are preparing important documents, ensure you proofread your work to avoid errors.
  • multi-tasking skills: most of a receptionist's work involves assisting managers in completing their tasks. That requires you to juggle numerous duties. For instance, you will also need to greet walk-in visitors and escort them to specific destinations. Further, you will also complete tasks such as copying, filing and maintaining documents and records for the business.
  • customer service skills: as a receptionist, you welcome customers and answer phone calls, so you constantly interact with people. You need to understand their needs and respond positively.

FAQs about working as a receptionist

Here are the most asked questions about working as a receptionist:

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