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Data entry jobs have been described as "envelope stuffing for the digital age". It entails the processing and entry of data onto a file or a document and, due to its time consuming and repetitive nature, is generally outsourced to a home worker, leaving in-house employees to use their time more productively.
While it requires no formal training, data entry does demand a high level of accuracy and a good command of both English and mathematics. It is also necessary for those considering such a position to be familiar with spread-sheets and word processing and be able to work to rigid time constraints if requested.
The term, data entry, can sometimes be used as an umbrella to encompass other types of work; database updates, the transcription of records, collation of data and the preparations of reports or the submission of classified advertisements to search engines. Generally, whatever the application, average wages for data entry start from £5 - £6 per hour, though some employers prefer to pay piece-work to incentivise the worker to complete the task more quickly, thereby earning a higher rate of income.
Regrettably, a legitimate data entry job to do at home is extremely difficult to find. Due to the high level of demand for this type of employment, the market has been swamped with internet scams and fraudulent businesses looking to profit from the uninformed and the desperate who, anxious to secure a relatively simple way to supplement their income, will be caught in the traps set by unscrupulous individuals. A random entry into a search engine will bring up thousands of sites offering data entry opportunities, some claiming that they can guarantee amazing financial returns for just a few hours work each week, but, as with all things in life, if it looks too good to be true, remember it will be. No legitimate employer will ask to be paid for registration fees or 'training' seminars and literature. Any website which demands an upfront payment will, almost certainly, be fraudulent.
Finding a reputable employer will be time consuming due to the need for considerable research, however, the Better Business Bureau website can offer good advice when checking the validity of a potential employer as they keep a record of all sites which have been proven to be running scams.
Perhaps the safest way to find home based data entry work is to use websites with local applications, such as Yahoo, Craigslist or Monster. Jobs could also be found in the local press or by approaching any large business or organisation which may have premises in the local area, and asking about the availability of any out-sourced data entry positions.
While some people are lucky enough to generate a good income from data entry work at home, they are probably the fortunate minority. One industry insider has stated that any legitimate employer will want to conduct an in-house interview, accuracy and typing test prior to considering any individual for this work. Testing a person online would be impossible and open to abuse.
There are also certain, minimum standards of proficiency which are required to be a productive operative; an individual must be able to type at 65 wpm (words-per-minute) with a 97% accuracy rate for a period of 5 minutes to even be considered for employment. Also, with the current data protection legislation, it would be extremely unlikely that a third party would be allowed access to company data - this is why most home based data entry work is given to current employees who are on maternity or sick leave, or to former employees who are looking to supplement their income.