Sections

Operations Manager Career Guide

Are you committed, driven, hardworking and seeking a high-flying career? Well, one as an operations manager might just be the one for you!

An operations manager is a senior manager who is responsible for the smooth running of operations in any organization or company. They focus on ensuring a company is efficient, produces high quality goods and promotes customer satisfaction. To become an operations manager, you will typically need a bachelor’s degree in a related field. To have the best employment and progression opportunities, operations managers should achieve a masters degree in business administration (MBA).

What is most important, however, is experience. Most operations managers will advance up from lower level positions.

A good operations manager is responsible for processes being followed and that teams are facilitated collaboratively to continuously improve these processes.

Alister Esam

Operations Manager Career Ratings

Income

Career
Growth

Personal Growth

Contribution

Influence

Job Profiles

Real-Life Operations Manager Job Profiles

Below is a list of links to anonymous job profiles of REAL PEOPLE who have filled out our survey and offered to share their insights with our users about their job in the Operations Manager field.
ID Job Title Gender Age Earnings City & State Date
33858 Director Of Business Development Female 42 $156,000 New York, NY 01/01/2010
33803 Owner/Partner-Educational Consulting Firm Male 64 $80,000 Bronx, NY 01/01/2010
33729 Exec Mgr Female 48 $97,000 SPRINGFIELD, NY 01/01/2010
33726 General Manager Male 31 $70,000 glendora, CA 01/01/2010
33651 Assistant Project Director Female 40 $60,000 phila, PA 01/01/2010

Overview

What an operations manager actually does

An operations manager is responsible for the smooth running of operations in any organization or company. They are senior managers who focus on ensuring a company is efficient, produces high quality goods and promotes customer satisfaction. They’re primary focus is to manage processes, budgets and people. The role of operations manager varies depending on their seniority and specialism. However, all operations managers can expect to have typical duties and responsibilities such as:

  • Evaluating the production or service processes and brainstorming solutions (if needed)
  • Managing stock control and inventory checks
  • Analyzing reports and determining effectiveness of staff and operations 
  • Creating and monitoring projects and teams
  • Supporting CEO’s or executive team’s in their vision and process ideals
  • Ensuring staff are happy and working efficiently
  • Monitoring budgets and budgetary changes 
  • Implementing methods for improvement (whether that be with staff, operations or budgets) 
  • Ensuring health and safety regulations are followed
  • Supporting all functions of the business to work together

Why they are needed

Operations managers play a crucial role in any business. They understand how to maximize profitability by managing processes, budgets and people. An operation manager is a senior role, with huge responsibility and one that plays a crucial role in any company. Without their dedication, knowledge and experience, organizations would not be able to correctly manage their resources to be able to operate the most productively and efficiently.

Pros and cons of a career as a operations manager

Pros:

  • There is a high sense of job satisfaction, as operations managers enhance business productivity and efficiency by managing budgets, operations and people
  • Operations managers have a great deal of responsibility and control over their decisions
  • It is a role with great importance, as many organizations cannot perform effectively without operation managers
  • It is a flexible and diverse role, as operations managers can work in any industry
  • There are jobs available globally

Cons:

  • The hours can be long and travel may be required
  • Like lots of jobs, there are some tedious and mundane tasks. For instance, operation manager will certainly have their share of paperwork and data entry to complete
  • As operations  managers are responsible for overseeing employees, they may often face staffing challenges and conflicts
  • It can be a stressful job as operations managers have to manage lots of people and meet the demands of the business

Employability

Job market

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment of operations managers is projected to grow 6% from 2019 to 2029, which is faster than the average for all occupations. This fast employment growth is expected because businesses and organizations will always have a need for operations managers to help their business operate productively and successfully.

Career paths

An operations manager is an executive role, and therefore requires a strong education and impeccable work experience. Most operations managers will have a bachelor’s degree in a related field,  such as business administration, public administration, law or liberal arts. To have the best employment and progression opportunities, operations managers will achieve a masters degree in business administration (MBA).

What is most important, however, is work experience. Most operations managers will advance up from lower level positions (management or supervisory). Therefore, they need suitable experience in a related field. If operations managers do not have all the skills and knowledge, some companies also offer their own training programs to help operations managers excel.

Example Job Titles for Operations Manager

Below is a list of common job titles in the Operations Manager field. Click the links below for more information about these job titles, or view the next section for actual real-life job profiles.

Benefits & Conditions

Income and benefits

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for operations managers in the United States was $100,780 The lowest 10 percent earned less than $45,050 per annum and the highest 10 percent earned more than $208,000. The top paying industry is ‘professional, scientific and technical services’, where the median annual salary was $140,840. The manufacturing industry is the second highest paying industry, with a median annual salary of $118,180. This is followed by wholesale trade($104,880), construction ($102,270) and the retail trade ($73,190).

Autonomy and Flexibility

Operations managers are senior managers. Therefore, they have a huge amount of responsibility and control over their decisions. They are in charge of budgets, services and staffing and the role has a huge level of autonomy. Being an operations manager is a highly demanding and often stressful role. Due to the huge amount of responsibility, operations managers are likely to find themselves working long hours and will have little flexibility over the hours they work. They are likely to, however, have flexibility over how they arrange their day and when they schedule in meetings.

Locations and commute

According to Zippia, the best states to be a operations manager, based on average annual salary and the number of jobs available, are:

  1. Delaware, where the average annual salary is $104326
  2. Connecticut, where the average annual salary is $98,361
  3. New Jersey, where the average annual salary is $98,222
  4. West Virginia, where the average annual salary is $90,368
  5. New York, where the average annual salary is $98,701

The worst states, according to Zippia, are Nebraska, Idaho, Utah, Maine and Vermont.

Work environment

12% of operations managers the United States were employed in the retail trade. Professional, scientific and technical services employed 11% of all operations managers, the wholesale trade employed 9%, the manufacturing industry employed 9% and the construction industry employed 7%.

Overall, operations managers have a lot of responsibility and are partly responsible for the success of the whole organization. Therefore, it can be an incredibly stressful role. They will typically work in an office and they may travel to nationally, regionally and locally to attend meetings, to check up on stores and/or to go to dealers’ and distributors offices. Operations managers will work closely with other senior managers, such as those in finance, human resources or purchasing.

Career Satisfaction

Common Matching Personality Types

Which personalities tend to succeed and thrive in Operations Manager careers? Based on our research, there is a relatively strong positive correlation between the following personality types and Operations Manager career satisfaction. This doesn’t mean that there aren’t many exceptions, of course, but if you fit into one of the following personality types then we suggest you give strong consideration to a career in Operations Manager.

16 Types (Myers-Briggs)

  • None

Big Five (OCEAN)

  • None

DiSC

  • None

Enneagram

Holland Codes (RIASEC)

  • None

Personality types

It is likely that successful operations managers will be an ESTJ personality type. ESTJ’s, or otherwise known as ‘the executive’ are decisive, confident and firm. ESTJ’s have a preference for working in a logical and methodical way, which is will suited to an operations manager as they have to carefully track numbers, stock and budgets. ESTJ’s work with a huge focus on productivity and are incredibly eager to take charge and ensure that things done correctly. All of these qualities are suited to an operations manager, who has the huge responsibility of ensuring that a company operates smoothly and productively.

Accomplishment and mastery

Operations managers can only achieve this position through hard work, dedication and graft. Therefore, when you finally secure an operations management role, you will feel a high sense of accomplishment and mastery. Furthermore, throughout your career you will constantly feel accomplishment and mastery as you increase productivity, efficiency and create happier and more effective employees.

Meaning and contribution

Operation managers play meaningful role in any business. They contribute greatly to the businesses productivity and success. However, the work of an operations managers has little meaning and contribution to the greater population. If you’re looking to really help people who need it, then this might not be the career for you!

Life fit

Most operations managers will work full time in offices. However, they may often find themselves working overtime and long hours, as well as travelling a lot. Therefore, it can sometimes provide a difficult life fit.

Who will thrive in this career?

You will thrive as an operations manager if you are creative, quick thinking, and adept at solving problems. This is because operations managers will need to think outside the box when making decisions and solving problems on anything from budgets and finance to staffing. Additionally, you will thrive as an operations manager if you are a strong communicator. You must be able to interact confidently with employees, vendors, senior executives, and others who work for the company. You must also enjoy analyzing and interpreting data, and using this to implement solutions.

Who will struggle in this career?

Firstly, those who cannot lead a team and confidently interact with others may struggle as an operations manager. If you cannot make decisions with ease you may struggle, as operations managers need to be confident and certain they have made the right choice. Those who cannot manage their time or work well under pressure may struggle with the demands and workload. Finally, those who struggle to interpret data and use it logically to create solutions and interventions may not thrive as an operations manager.

Requirements

Skills and talents

Operations managers will need extensive experience in the field. As well as this, they will need skills and talents such as:

  • Verbal and written communication skills, as this will allow operations managers to communicate clearly with staff, colleagues and customers.
  • Numerical skills, as operations managers need to manage budgets and stock
  • Leadership skills, are operations managers oversee lots of employees and must be confident and set a good example
  • Active listening skills are essential as operations managers must give their full attention to what employees, vendors or suppliers are saying so that they can figure out the best solution
  • Problem-solving skills, as operations managers will need to find solutions to many problems
  • Analytical skills, as operations managers need to evaluate how their staff are performing and develop strategies for meeting goals

Education

An operations manager is an executive role, and therefore most operations managers will have a bachelor’s degree in a related field,  such as business administration, public administration, law or liberal arts. To have the best employment and progression opportunities, operations managers will achieve a masters degree in business administration (MBA).

Certifications

There are no specific certification requirements to become an operations manager.

How to Become

Summary

An operations manager is responsible for the smooth running of operations in any organization or company. They are senior managers who focus on ensuring a company is efficient, produces high quality goods and promotes customer satisfaction. It is a well respected and fast paced career, that is predicted to offer many exciting employment opportunities over the coming years.

Immediate action

If you have decided, after reading our career guide, that aspiring to become an operations manager appeals to you, then fantastic!

It is a career that requires dedication to the industry. So, if you haven’t already, we recommend picking a degree program in a related field and considering a masters. You should also be focused on getting as much experience as possible in lower level roles, and showing commitment and dedication to being promoted.

Education and learning

Operations managers typically need a bachelor’s degree in a related field,  such as business administration, public administration, law or liberal arts. To have the best employment and progression opportunities, operations managers will achieve a masters degree in business administration (MBA).

Skill development

What is most important is experience. Most operations managers will advance up from lower level positions (management or supervisory) and develop their skills that way. Some companies also offer their own training programs to help operations managers excel and further develop their skills.

FAQs

Ask a Question

Have a question about Operations Manager careers? If so, our mentors would love to help! Just click on a mentor’s profile below and then fill out the “Ask a Question” form on that page. Your question will then be emailed to the mentor, who can then email you a reply.

ID Job Title Gender Age Earnings City & State Date
33858 Director Of Business Development Female 42 $156,000 New York, NY 01/01/2010
33803 Owner/Partner-Educational Consulting Firm Male 64 $80,000 Bronx, NY 01/01/2010
33729 Exec Mgr Female 48 $97,000 SPRINGFIELD, NY 01/01/2010
33726 General Manager Male 31 $70,000 glendora, CA 01/01/2010
33651 Assistant Project Director Female 40 $60,000 phila, PA 01/01/2010

Resources