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In a retail environment, a clerk is a white-collar worker who performs general office tasks or performs similar sales-related tasks. Recordkeeping, reporting, staffing service counters, screening callers, and other administrative duties, are typical roles for clerical employees (such as the store, grocery, accounting clerks). The word clerk is derived from the Latin ‘clericus’ meaning "cleric" or "clergyman". The association has been derived from medieval courts where most laypeople couldn't read and so writing was often assigned to the clergy. The word clerk meant "scholar" in this sense. Even today, the term clerk regular designates a type of cleric (one living life according to a rule).
The largest occupational group in the United States constitutes clerical employees. 3.1 million general office clerks, 1.5 million office administrative managers, and 4.1 million secretaries were employed in 2004. While some college education or 1 to 2 years in vocational programs are standard requirements, many clerical occupations do not require a bachelor's degree. Familiarity with office equipment and certain software programs is also often required. Employers may provide clerical training. According to sociologist Dennis Gilbert, the white-collar divide has changed to one between academics, including some semi-professionals, and routinized white-collar jobs. White-collar office supervisors can be classified as lower middle class, with certain secretaries occupying the socioeconomic strata where the working and middle classes meet.
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