Switchboard and Answering Service Operators
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Overview
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Operate telephone business systems equipment or switchboards to relay incoming, outgoing, and interoffice calls. May supply information to callers and record messages.
Titles for this career often contain these words
OperatorTelephoneSwitchboardServiceSpecialistClerkCommunicationExchangeAnsweringTechnicianTeacherPBXPrivateBranchReceptionistTelecommunicationsTrafficCBXCentralCommunicationsCombinationCommandControlCenterCoordinatorComplaintDeskInformationLineOperatorsPoliceDistrictAdviserRouteSwitchSwitchingTandemTelegraphOfficeTestThroughObserver
Education
Only 16% of switchboard and answering service operators have a bachelor's degree or higher.
Education attained by switchboard and answering service operators
None
High School
Some College
Associate's/Cert.
Bachelor's Degree
Master's Degree
Professional Degree
Doctorate
Context: workers with bachelor's degrees
Fewer switchboard and answering service operators have bachelor's degrees than 63% of other careeers.
Employment
Workforce size
Switchboard and answering service operators, with 73,400 workers, are near the middle of all careers in the number employed.
Predicted employment growth
Over the next decade, jobs for switchboard and answering service operators are expected to shrink by 24%, and should have about 6,300 job openings a year.
Safety from automation
Switchboard and answering service operators are more likely to be automated than 89% of other careers.
Salaries
Context: Median Salary
How do salaries for switchboard and answering service operators compare to other jobs' salaries?
Distribution: What salary can you expect?
See what most switchboard and answering service operators earn.
$31K$0$10K$20K$30K$40K$50K
Gender
Women account for 80% of switchboard and answering service operators -- that's a larger percentage than 90% of other jobs.
Gender of switchboard and answering service operators
Men
Women
Context: Salary inequity
For each career, we compared the median (middle) men's salary to the median women's salary. For switchboard and answering service operators, the median men's salary was 11% more the median woman's salary.
Race/Origin
About 30% of switchboard and answering service operators are minority, and 10% are foreign-born.
Race/origin of switchboard and answering service operators
White
Black
Pacific Islander
Hispanic
Asian
American Indian
Multiracial
Other
Context: Foreign-born workers (10%)
Where are the most jobs?
We ranked the number of jobs in Switchboard and Answering Service Operators per thousand workers in each state, DC, and Puerto Rico. Blue indicates low density, with lighter shades moving to yellow indicating higher numbers working in this profession.
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Worker concerns
Some jobs are more stressful than others, and some are just plain dangerous. The following list gives the percentages of switchboard and answering service operators who report hazardous or difficult situations typically occurring at least once a week.
  • Deal With Unpleasant or Angry People (74%)
  • Frequency of Conflict Situations (60%)
  • Time Pressure (39%)
  • Exposed to Contaminants (34%)
SOURCES:
Salary and diversity
What do switchboard and answering service operators earn?
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) provides company-reported job titles and corresonding salaries. This data excludes self-employed workers.
Distribution: Salaries for switchboard and answering service operators (BLS Salary Data)
$31K$0$20K$40K$60K$80K$100K$120K
Context: Median salaries across careers (BLS Salary Data)
$31K$0$20K$40K$60K$80K$100K$120K
The American Community Survey (ACS) asks individuals to report their occupation and salary, and as such includes self-employed workers.
Distribution: Salaries for switchboard and answering service operators (ACS Salary Data)
$29K$0$20K$40K$60K$80K$100K$120K
Context: Median salaries across careers (ACS Salary Data)
$29K$0$20K$40K$60K$80K$100K$120K
Switchboard and Answering Service Operators: Inflation-adjusted salary trend
This job's median $29KAll jobs' median $45K$30K$44K070809101112131415161718$0$20K$40K$60K$80K
A look at employers and corresponding salaries
The donut shares the break-down of workers by employer type, giving us a picture of what employers most typically hire switchboard and answering service operators.
Employers of Switchboard and Answering Service Operators (ACS)
Private for-profit (76.8%)
Private not-for-profit (10.1%)
Local government (4.8%)
State government (4.6%)
Federal government (3.2%)
Self-employed incorporated (0.2%)
Self-employed not incorporated (0.3%)
Working without pay (0.0%)
Distribution: Salaries of switchboard and answering service operators by type of employer (ACS data)
Following are the salary distributions by employer type calculated by aggregating individual household survey responses.
$29K$32K$28K$31K$30K$0$20,000$40,000$60,000$80,000State governmentLocal governmentPrivate not-for-profitPrivate for-profitAll
Distribution: Salaries of switchboard and answering service operators by type of employer (BLS data)
Following are the salary distributions by employer type as reported by BLS based on large employer-focused surveys. We note that smaller employer categories are not included by BLS.
$31K$0$10,000$20,000$30,000$40,000$50,000All

We only include salary data when the survey error is less than 20%, so you may see only partial information for some categories.

Salary growth for switchboard and answering service operators

Is this a job that rewards experience, or is this job most likely a part of a career ladder? The higher a job's experience quotient, the more experience is rewarded with pay increases. Jobs in the green range have the best rewards with experience.

Take a minute to look at how much you might expect your salary to increase with each five years' experience, as well as how the numbers working at each age change. Does this seem to be a job for the young or the old, or could it be a career offering steady salary growth for many years?

Salary distribution
$26K$30K$31K$37K$31K$30K$32K$22K$31K$0$20K$40K$60K$80K20-2425-2930-3435-3940-4445-4950-5455-5960-64
Number employed
01K2K3K20-2425-2930-3435-3940-4445-4950-5455-5960-64

We only include salary data when the survey error is less than 20%, so you may see only partial information for some categories.

Switchboard and answering service operators and gender

With 80% women, this occupation has a higher percentage of women than 90% of careers.

Context: Women in the workforce
80%0%20%40%60%80%100%
Gender of Switchboard and answering service operators
Men (20%)
Women (80%)
Distribution: Salaries by gender

The median salary for all full-time male workers in the US exceeds the full-time median salary for women by 19%. The situation is a little better for switchboard and answering service operators, with the median salary for men 11% higher than the median salary for women.

$29K$32K$0$20K$40K$60K$80KWomenMen
Context: Salary Inequity

The chart below shows the salary inequity, the percentage by which the median men's salary is higher than the median women's salary for all but about 20 jobs in which women typically earn more than men. Switchboard and answering service operators have one of the smaller inequity calculations, with the increase for men's median salary over women's median salary in this job lower than that for 67% of other jobs.

11%0%20%40%60%80%100%

We only include salary data when the survey error is less than 20%, so you may see only partial information for some categories.

Race and origin of switchboard and answering service operators

Here we check out the diversity of origin in this career. There is a higher percentage of minority switchboard and answering service operators than for 86% of other careers. While this career employs many minorities, it employs a relatively small number of foreign-born people.

Race/origin of switchboard and answering service operators
White (65% )
Black (21% )
Other (5% )
Asian (4% )
Multiracial (3% )
American Indian (1% )
Hispanic (0% )
Pacific Islander (0% )
Context: Representation of minorities in the workforce
30%0%20%40%60%80%100%
Context: Representation of foreign-born workers
10%0%20%40%60%80%100%
Distribution: Salaries for switchboard and answering service operators by race/origin

For some careers, there is a pay disparity depending on race or origin, though this is not prevalent. We calculate standard errors for all of our calculations, and when the error is high we do not show results. Therefore, for some jobs will have omitted race/origin categories.

$26K$26K$29K$29K$30K$41K$0$20K$40K$60K$80KOtherPacific IslanderWhiteMultiracialBlackAsian
Distribution: Salaries for switchboard and answering service operators by nativity
$29K$33K$0$20K$40K$60KAll native citizensAll foreign-born

We only include salary data when the survey error is less than 20%, so you may see only partial information for some categories.

Switchboard and answering service operators and Part-time/Full-time employment

We've found that somes jobs hava a huge number of part-time workers, and that typically most who are working part-time are doing so because they cannot find full-time work or the job they have cannot provide full-time hours. With 23% part-time workers, this occupation has a higher percentage of part-time workers than 74% of careers.

Context: Part-time workers in the workforce
23%0%20%40%60%80%100%
Why workers are part-time
Full-Time is less than 35 hours a week
Retired/Social Security limit on earnings
Could not find full-time work
Seasonal work
Slack work/business conditions
School/training
Health/medical limitations
Child care problems
Other family/personal obligations
Other reasons
Distribution: Salaries by part-time/full-time status

The salary distributions for full-time and part-time switchboard and answering service operators is shown following.

$12K$29K$0$20K$40K$60KPart-time workersFull-time workers
Pathways to this career
Education attained by switchboard and answering service operators

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), switchboard and answering service operators typically hold a high school diploma or equivalent.

Sometimes the typical education identified by the BLS differs a bit from the reality of the how much education current workers actually have. The donut shows the education level held by people currently working as switchboard and answering service operators as reported in responses to the American Community Survey.

Education attained by switchboard and answering service operators
None
High School
Some College
Associate's/Cert.
Bachelor's Degree
Master's Degree
Professional Degree
Doctorate
Distribution: Salary by education level

What level of education is truly needed for switchboard and answering service operators? Below we see the distribution of switchboard and answering service operators salaries based on the education attained.

$28K$28K$28K$36K$0$20K$40K$60KHigh School (35%)Some College (34%)Associate's/Cert. (12%)Bachelor's Degree (13%)

We only include salary data when the survey error is less than 20%, so you may see only partial information for some categories.

Switching Careers
The most common next careers for switchboard and answering service operators

What jobs will most switchboard and answering service operators hold next year?

The data in this chart comes from person interviews for the Census Bureau's Current Population Survey. The survey interviews households eight times over a two-year period, allowing us a glimpse into how people move from job to job. You can see more details from the results of the survey in our last tab in this section, and you can read about our methodology in our source descriptions.

Here we see all of the jobs that at least 1% of switchboard and answering service operators reported holding in their second year's survey. Is your future job on this list?

Switchboard and Answering Service OperatorsReceptionists and Information ClerksCustomer Service RepresentativesGeneral Office ClerksFirst-Line Supervisors of Office and Administrative Support WorkersTelecommunications Line Installers and RepairersTelephone OperatorsHealth Technologists and TechniciansRegistered nursesCarpentersLogisticiansCounselorsCrossing Guards and FlaggersntsAcsOcc_4060Specialized Plant and System OperatorsDesignersBailiffs, correctional officers, and jailers
Lateral job transitions for switchboard and answering service operators

A lateral career transition is a move to a job with similar pay and responsibilities. A move to such a job can offer a change of pace without an increase in stress or a decrease in pay. The following table simply identifies all 5 jobs which were held by at least 1% of survey respondents before working as switchboard and answering service operators as well as 1% of respondents after working as switchboard and answering service operators. Select a row to investigate the job's full description and determine if it truly offers an opportunity for a lateral transition.

Employed
How many people have this job?
Salary
Salary distribution for people in this occupation. Range is 0-$200,000.
Median
Middle 50%
Middle 80%
Education
No degree
Associate's/Cert.
Bachelor's Degree
Master's Degree
Doctorate/Professional
Gender
Men
Women
Prior and next careers for switchboard and answering service operators: full listings

What do people typically do before and after they work as switchboard and answering service operators? Here are the full lists of all jobs that at least 1% of switchboard and answering service operators surveyed reported as holding a year earlier or later.

Choose which type of transition to view
Prior jobs
Next jobs
Variation by state
State-by-state employment numbers

Some careers tend to be centered in specific parts of the country. For example, most jobs in fashion are in New York or California. Let's see if your dream job is easy to find in your dream location! We have a few choices for viewing the data that can help you get a full employment picture.

Job density versus job count

Which states hire the most switchboard and answering service operators? We wonder if that's a fair question since states come in all sizes, so instead let's start with the question of which states have the highest density of people working as switchboard and answering service operators. You can choose to view the number of jobs per state if you prefer.

BLS vs ACS data

This map defaults to employment information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), which provides job totals carefully compiled for accuracy and with a primary focus on how employers describe their workers. The BLS job totals do not count self-employed workers. We've also compiled totals using the Census Bureau's American Community Survey (ACS) which are based on how workers describe themselves. Sometimes ACS results are quite a bit different from the employer-based BLS data.

Choose the metric to review
Jobs per 1000 working
Number of jobs
Use this data source
BLS
Number of Switchboard and Answering Service Operators per 1,000 workers (BLS)
Select a state to see local area details
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0.00.20.40.60.81.01.2
Salaries by state
Let's get a feel for where switchboard and answering service operators earn the highest salaries. There are several choices for which data we consider and how we view that data, and each can lead to different conclusions, so please read on...
Median salary versus state ratio

We use two methods to compare salaries across states:

  • In-state comparisons: the ratio of median (middle) salaries for switchboard and answering service operators compared to the median salary for all people working in each state, or
  • Median salary: the unaltered median salaries for switchboard and answering service operators.

We hope the ratio allows perspective about how salaries may compare to the regional cost-of-living.

BLS vs ACS data

We have two sources for statewide salary information with important distinctions. The BLS data is created by surveying companies, missing individuals who are self-employed or work for smaller companies. The ACS data is compiled from multi-faceted household surveys and may reflect the inconsistencies that people may have in reporting information.

Choose the metric to review
Location-adjusted median salary
Median salary
Use this data source
BLS
Location-adjusted median salary for Switchboard and Answering Service Operators (BLS)
The darkest shading corresponds to states in which switchboard and answering service operators earn the highest salary when compared to other jobs in the state. We think this ratio might be a better indicator than the actual salary for your buying power as a state resident.
Select a state to see local area details
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$0$10K$20K$30K$40K
Compare to similar jobs

If this job interests you, then use the tabs and education selector to find other careers that might be a good fit for you.

How should the career similarity be computed?

There are a number of ways to measure the similarity of jobs, here are a few we provide:

  • Interests: Also known as a Holland Code - Are you a thinker? A helper? What fits your personality?
  • Environment: Are there hazards? Will you be comfortable? Will it be stressful?
  • Knowledge: What do you need to know the most about?
  • Physical Abilities: Do you need to especially strong or coordinated?
Choose the similarity measure to compare careers
Interests
Environment
Knowledge
Physical Abilities
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All education levels
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