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Operations Manager

Education and Training: Bachelor’s or master’s degree in business administration
Average Salary: $91,570 per year
Job Outlook: Modest

An operations manager is responsible for formulating policies and devising strategies to ensure that the organization’s goals and objectives are met. Operations managers are responsible for overseeing that the operations of the organization run smoothly and ensuring that the desired objectives are achieved. The operations manager’s tasks are not restricted to a specific managerial field. Instead operations managers need to focus on all the aspects of an organization so as to iron out any issues that might hamper the day-to-day working of the organization. Operations managers might need to focus on finance management, project management, risk management, human resources management, inventory management, customer relationship management, or even logistics management.
Operations managers need to ensure that the business operations are efficient and use minimum resources to meet the customer requirements.
An operations manager in any organization is a very senior profile and requires years of experience, leadership skills, and a very composed personality to handle various stress situations.

Education and Training Requirements

Operations managers need a bachelor’s or a master’s degree in business administration. The specific type of education often depends on the organization or industry in which they work. Some credentials that operations managers can earn for better job prospects are: Certified Manager (CM), Program Management Professional (PgMP), Certification in Production and Inventory Management (CPIM), and Certified Supply Chain Professional Program (CSCP).
Apart from the educational requirements, an operations manager needs to have years of experience in managing various organizational responsibilities.

Getting the Job

Operations managers are likely to get the job if they have the required qualifications and relevant experience wherein they have demonstrated effective leadership traits. Considerable experience in handling key aspects of operations in an organization is one of the key factors for getting a job as an operations manager.
While hiring outside people, managerial experience is a prime consideration. Being a senior-level position, operations managers need to be effective leaders to direct the organization towards progress. They need to have excellent communication skills so as to communicate clearly and effectively with various functions of the organization. Other key personality traits desired for the role of an operations manager are: decisiveness, analytical mind, creativity, persuasiveness, tactfulness, calm personality, motivation, sound business judgment, and self-confidence. Operations managers should be good planners and should have a flexible attitude.
Operations managers need to keep themselves abreast of the latest developments in the industry and technological advancements having an impact on their business. Operations managers should be proactive and should analytically weigh the pros and cons of all decisions impacting the business.

Job Prospects, Employment Outlook and Career Development

The job prospects for operations managers are modest. As per the Bureau of Labor Statistics, little or no change in the employment growth for top executives is expected for 2008-2018 and will largely be dependent on the growth of the industry. Due to the large number of mergers and acquisitions, some management jobs will be lost. Moreover, since the role of operations managers is very prestigious and high-paying, there is immense competition for the position. With the growth in economy, new jobs will be created. Many people currently working as operations managers will quit, retire, or start their own businesses. Often when operations managers quit, they are easily hired by other organizations in the same role. This trend limits the number of new positions created for operations managers.
Experienced operations managers, with a distinguished list of accomplishments demonstrating their efficiency, will always be the most sought after. Operations managers can move to become top executives. They might even become members of the board of directors. Senior managers, often, move on to start their own businesses.

Working Conditions and Environment

Operations managers work in excellent office setup with numerous support staff. Long work hours, late evenings, and work on weekends is common for operations managers. They spend a considerable amount of time travelling. This is a very high pressure job and involves handling a lot of stressful situations. There is immense pressure on operations managers to succeed as their individual success has a direct bearing on the organization’s success. Non-performance might result in a loss of job.

Salary and Benefits

Operations managers are one of the highest paid professionals. The annual median salaries for operations managers were $91,570. However, this figure might vary depending on the industry and size of the organization. Other benefits offered to operations managers include: stock options, performance bonuses, profit sharing, health and dental insurance, sick leave, paid vacations, and retirement savings plan.

Where to Go for More Information

AMA Headquarters
1601 Broadway
New York, NY 10019
(212) 586-8100

APICS: The Association for Operations Management
8430 West Bryn Mawr Ave., Ste. 1000
Chicago, IL 60631
(800) 444-2742

Additional topics

Job Descriptions and Careers, Career and Job Opportunities, Career Search, and Career Choices and ProfilesBusiness