Payroll Administrator

Job Description:

Payroll administrators make sure employees get paid the right amount on the right date.

Job Category:
Financial Services

What you will do:

You may:

  • check how many hours employees have worked
  • calculate and issue pay by cash, cheque or electronic transfer
  • deduct tax and national insurance payments
  • process holiday, sick and maternity pay, and expenses
  • calculate overtime, shift payments and pay increases
  • answer staff queries about timesheets or pay slips
  • issue P45s and other tax forms


You’ll need:

  • maths knowledge
  • knowledge of English language
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently

As well as:

  • administration skills
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • the ability to work well with others (teamwork skills)
  • sensitivity and understanding
  • the ability to work on your own (drive)
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
Illustration of employee looking at workspace

Entry Requirements:

You can get into this job through:

  • a college course
  • an apprenticeship
  • applying directly
  • a specialist course run by a professional body


You can do an introductory course in bookkeeping and payroll, which can be studied at a college or by distance learning.  In the UK, for example, courses include:

  • Foundation Certificate in Bookkeeping
  • Certificate in Payroll
  • Certificate in Bookkeeping

You could do a course in Accounting and then apply for trainee positions. This may give you the chance to work towards further qualifications on the job through part-time study or a payroll apprenticeship.

Entry requirements for these courses vary.


Apprenticeships relevant to this role include:

  • advanced Payroll assistant
  • higher Payroll assistant manager

Direct Application

You could apply directly for job vacancies. While experience in payroll isn’t always essential, a background in bookkeeping and accounts could help improve your job prospects.

Working Hours and Environment:

A typical week consists of 37-39 hours of work. You could be required to work between 8am and 6pm.

You could work in an office.

Career Path & Progression:

With experience, you could progress to payroll supervisor or manager.