ARMA International Seeks to Elevate BLS RIM Job Classification

    Oct 14, 2015

    In an effort to promote a records and information management occupation of established and increasing importance, ARMA International last month provided input directly to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) as part of the agency’s efforts to update the “administrative services manager” description in the Occupational Outlook Handbook (OOH).  

    According to BLS, the OHH provides information on the activities, work environment, education, training, and other qualifications for 334 occupational profiles covering about 84% of the jobs in the economy. It includes occupations that are covered in the 2010 Standard Occupational Classification System (SOC), which is used by federal statistical agencies to classify workers into occupational categories for the purpose of collecting, calculating, or disseminating data.

    On May 22, 2014, the BLS published a notice soliciting public input on a multi-year process for revising the SOC system in 2018. The agency directly approached ARMA International and offered the association the opportunity to provide feedback to the drafted description related to records and information management. The final recommendations are scheduled to be published in the spring of 2016 and implemented by 2018. The last revision was completed in 2010.

    According to the OOH, administrative services managers “plan, direct, or coordinate one or more administrative services of an organization, such as records and information management, mail distribution, facilities planning and maintenance, custodial operations, and other office support services.”

    In its comments to BLS, ARMA noted that the description does not reflect the more robust responsibilities for those in records and information management, observing that employees within management positions must achieve a balance of a strategic perspective related to purpose of the job and mastery of detailed specifics to ensure that the programmatic area (e.g., facilities management, records management) works appropriately.

    ARMA also urged BLS to change the term “recordkeeping” and “record management” to “records and information management” throughout the description to reflect the more commonly used term in the industry and draw attention to the management focus of the administrative services manager job class.

    As part of the process that led to the 2010 SOC update, ARMA International recommended the adoption of a new occupation for “records and information managers” that would recognize the important role practitioners have in our knowledge-based economy.

    “Prior to 2010, the SOC made no mention of a ‘Records and Information Manager’ or treatment of records and information management as a management level occupation,” said Liz Icenogle, ARMA’s director of government affairs. “The only reference to the function of recordkeeping was with the clerical level occupation of ‘File Clerk’ as well as the numerous other records managers identified in the grouping of ‘Information and Record Clerks.’”

    As a result of ARMA’s input, the 2010 SOC update included a modified definition for administrative services managers to clarify the inclusion of records and information management. 

    The Washington Policy Brief is an online advisory that contains brief summaries of recent legislative and regulatory issues that may affect the records and information management profession. Further information about the issue is accessed by clicking on the link provided at the end of each summary.


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