Stenography is used throughout business chiefly in correspondence; to a less extent for report and statement work, for legal work, and for printer’s copy. The stenographer in any business office, more than other clerical workers, is supposed to look after a variety of unorganized details including the use of office appliances, the filing of letters, and sometimes dealing with patrons or visitors in the absence of the employer. She is more important to the employer in his personal business relations than any other employee, except in the case of those few employers who have private secretaries.
In the case of large corporations, which are by far the largest employers of clerks, this work has been standardized to a marked degree. The organization of the office work of the telegraph, telephone, and express companies, the railroads, and the occasional large wholesale company in Cleveland is a nearly exact duplication of that of other district or division offices controlled by these companies in other cities. The same is true of the Civil Service. Whatever effects standardization may have upon opportunity, it obviously makes for definiteness in regard to training requirements. All the positions are graded on the basis of experience and responsibility and a logical line of promotion from one to another has been worked out.
The report contains detailed studies of different kinds of clerical work in the offices of transportation and public utility corporations, retail and wholesale stores, manufacturing establishments, banks, the civil service, and small offices employing relatively few people. In each of these such matters as character of the work, opportunities for advancement, kind of training needed and special qualifications are taken up.
Stated briefly the conclusions of the report with respect to wages and regularity of employment in office positions are as follows:
The wage opportunities for clerical workers, especially men, lie in business positions outside the limits of clerical work. Men clerical workers average about the same pay as salesmen and more pay than industrial workers. Women clerical workers receive more than either saleswomen or industrial workers. Employment is much more regular in clerical work than it is in salesmanship or industrial work. For men clerical workers the wage opportunity is better in manufacturing and trade than in some kinds of transportation business. For women it is better in manufacturing and transportation than it is in trade. Men’s wages tend to be higher than women’s in all branches of clerical work.
Among the clerical positions, bookkeeping shows the highest wage average for men; clerks’ positions show the lowest. Stenography shows the highest for women; machine work the lowest. Men bookkeepers show their best wage average in the wholesale business, clerks in transportation, and stenographers in manufacturing. The small office gives better wage opportunity to women bookkeepers and men stenographers; the large office favors women stenographers and men clerks.