Front Office versus Back Office Administration Jobs: What is the Difference?

Speaking from a traditional perspective, the front office administration jobs involve being in direct contact with the clients or consumers, whereas the back office staff are responsible to taking up behind-the-scenes tasks or supporting roles.

However, the discrimination between these two roles is slightly more complex in a modern day setting where jobs tend to crossover resulting in confusion over what constitutes a front office versus a back office role.

Front Office Administration Careers

In simple words, the front office staff is those personnel who are responsible to directly generate revenue for the business. The front office primarily consists of roles that are client-facing. So in a financial services company, for example, this would consist of departments such as sales and trading, wealth management, private equity and investment banking. However, an exception to the rule in this particular industry is equity research which is also considered front office even though it does not bring in direct revenues.

Working in the Back Office

The back office consists of jobs in office administration that does not directly generate revenue for the business but are critical to the provision of support. This would consist of positions in the IT department, operations, accounting, HR and compliance. Most of the functions would involve processing or support.

While client facing office administration careers are considered more glamorous so as to say, these teams will not be able to operate without the existence of a strong back office department. It is the role of the back office personnel to design IT systems, maintain accurate databases, handle the finances of the company and hunt for newer talent. The success of the front office is essentially dependent on the back office team.

Many roles that were traditionally dismissed as back office are now gaining much important in the business world, especially with the growth of service oriented strategies. Technical roles have gone beyond provision of just IT support and now increasingly also involve development careers. Hence, technical roles in sectors such as infrastructure and development engineering are increasingly going up in volumes as well as status and importance. Banks, infrastructure companies, hospitality and healthcare firms are all flooded with office administration resumes that highlight technical expertise.

How much does each one of these positions pay?

Another obvious distinction between front office and back office careers is the salary. While the difference isn’t extremely wide, the front office personnel tend to make more money than their back office counterparts. This is primarily due to the fact that the back office staff is usually offered a flat level pay while the front office staff can reap the benefits of commission, bonuses and other such incentives on sales and performance. If you are in the make some big bucks, this is where you need to be.

However, individuals who have the motivation and capacity to raise up the ranks in the back office administration department, can also command impressively handsome salaries. Select a profile that best suits your personality, interests and long-term goals.