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Operations Director

Education and Training: Bachelor’s or master’s degree in business administration
Average Salary: $158,560 per year
Job Outlook: Modest

An operations director is responsible for providing directions to the operations of the organization with the aim to provide maximum value to the shareholders. Operations directors need to utilize limited resources to derive maximum productivity for the organization. The operations director has the top-most operational role in an organization and is second only to the Chief Executive Officer. The Operations director is often referred to as the Chief Operating Officer (COO).
The main functions of the operations director include ensuring the overall efficiency of business operations. The operations director, in collaboration with the chief executive officer, establishes the organization’s goals and governing policies. The operations director is responsible for overseeing the activities of executives responsible for leading various departments. Operations directors also need to ensure the overall operational success of the organization.
The roles and responsibilities of the operations director vary, depending on the size of the organization and the industry. They might be required to oversee the functioning of the sales, finance, and manufacturing departments. The operations director also needs to ensure that good project management practices are being adopted and all the risks are identified and appropriate risk mitigation strategies are devised.

Education and Training Requirements

Operations directors need a bachelor’s or a master’s degree in business administration. In addition to the educational requirements, experience in leading various operational functions in an organization is a prime consideration. Most organizations look for people with 10-15 years work experience for the role of an operations director.

Getting the Job

The role of an operations director requires a huge amount of hands-on experience in leading various organizational functions. Operations directors need to think clearly and speak forcefully. They need to drive the importance of effective management within the organization. Excellent interpersonal skills are important for operations directors to get a buy-in from their support staff while adopting tough measures. Operations directors should be good team players as they need to work in collaboration with diverse functions and people within the organization.
Operations directors should be able to win the trust of their support staff. This can only be done by being fair, encouraging open communication, and by willing to admit and correct mistakes. They must also have an analytical mind and should be able to weigh the implications of their decisions to ensure the overall well-being of the organization.

Job Prospects, Employment Outlook and Career Development

The job prospects for operations directors are modest. As per the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there will be negligible change in the demand for operational directors for 2008-2018. Moreover, due to the nature of the job and the respect it commands, the competition for getting the job of an operations director will remain high.
Operations directors can move over to bigger companies offering better opportunities and perks. Some of them can even start their own businesses.

Working Conditions and Environment

Operations directors work in well furnished offices and have numerous support staff. Although their schedule is flexible, the job is very stressful and often involves working during evenings, weekends, and holidays. It might also involve a lot of travelling. The pressure to succeed is immense and has a direct bearing on their personal growth within the organization.

Salary and Benefits

Operations director is a very high-paying job. The median annual salary of an operations director is $158,560. This figure may vary depending on the size and type of organization. Operations directors are also entitled to a number of other perks and benefits such as stock options, profit sharing, performance bonus, executive dining rooms, company-owned aircraft and cars, expense allowances, company-paid club memberships, and medical and dental insurance.

Where to Go for More Information

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

National Management Association
2210 Arbor Blvd.
Dayton, OH 45439
(937) 294-0421

Additional topics

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