Secretaries and Typists in the BBC 

4 April 2023


Secretarial posts in the BBC are secretarial in the true sense of the term and essential qualifications include a good educational background, an adaptable personality, a helpful telephone manner, and speeds of at least 100 w.p.m. shorthand and 45/50 w.p.m. typing.

The inexperienced shorthand typist who is recruited on completion of her secretarial training usually joins the BBC Training Department. While there she attends a Course which includes lectures on the Corporation’s many activities and is taught the rudiments of BBC secretarial practice. She is usually given the opportunity of working with an experienced secretary to improve her knowledge of the Corporation be- fore accepting a specific post. When fully qualified a shorthand typist can be promoted in her existing post to junior secretary.

An experienced secretary is generally recruited for a particular vacancy in which she would normally be expected to stay for at least one year. Alternatively, as many secretaries wish to learn about the work of the various departments before taking a specific post, they can be placed on the Secretarial Reserve and work as relief secretaries throughout the Corporation in the Technical, Administrative, Programme, or other Departments where required.

A production secretary who is actively engaged in programme work in both Sound and Television requires a good knowledge of the BBC. Vacancies for such posts, are, therefore, normally filled by serving members of staff. The duties of a television production secretary, for example, are very exacting and responsible, and she can eventually be promoted to a monthly grade; for these posts there is strong competition.

The standard required for secretaries with language qualifications is exceptionally high and there are only occasional vacancies.

The normal grade on recruitment for a secretary with experience is S4 (see back page). It is the Corporation’s practice to fill the more senior posts by the promotion of serving members of staff through internal advertisements. Posts not filled as a result of internal advertisement can be offered to external candidates.

The range of the BBC’s work is very wide, and opportunities for promotion among those who join the staff are good.

Posts for typists

Typing is a useful qualification for anyone who intends to make a career in the BBC. A good typing speed is often an asset in applying for a senior clerical post. A large number of copy typists (grade S3), who should have a speed of at least 45 w.p.m., are used in the Script, Duplicating, Programme Contract, Buying and Finance Departments, and schedule typists (grade S4) are employed in Programme Operations, Presentation, and Finance Departments.

Experienced dictation typists who have a real knowledge of current affairs and are prepared to work shift hours are employed in the News Rooms. The work is exacting but can be exhilarating, especially to those with a genuine interest in world events and the personalities of the day. Because of the specialized nature of the work, dictation typists (grade S4) receive substantial increase in salary after a minimum training period of three months. They can also be trained as telediphone operators involving promotion to grade S5.

Conditions of Service

Normal office hours are 9.30 a.m. to 5.30 p.m., Monday to Friday, with occasional Saturday mornings to 12.30 p.m., but many of the Corporation’s staff work irregular hours to meet programme requirements. Office staff are allowed three weeks’ annual leave each year and are admitted to the pensionable staff after a qualifying period, providing they have reached the age of twenty-one.

The BBC runs excellent canteens and all members of staff can join the BBC Club which for a very small subscription offers a wide choice of activities. Amateur dramatics, dancing, riding, hockey, sailing, squash, tennis, are only a few of the hobbies and sports that can be enjoyed.


Salaries for secretarial and typing staff


Starting salaries
(according to qualifications
and experience)
Grade S3 £7 13s. 6d.
to £9 9s. 6d.
£8 5s. 6d.
Grade S4 £8 14s. 0d.
to £10 13s. 0d.
£9 7s. 0d.
Grade S5 £9 14s. 6d.
to £11 16s. 6d.
£10 8s. 6d.
Grade S6 £10 13s. 0d. £13 1s. 0d.


The most senior secretaries can earn salaries of £855 to £1,005 per year.



If you think a post in the BBC would interest you, write to:

Appointments Officer,
BBC, Broadcasting House,
London, W.1



Published by the British Broadcasting Corporation, 35 Marylebone High Street, London, W.1 and printed by The Broadwater Press Ltd, Welwyn Garden City, Herts.


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