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Commercial Manager

Education and Training: Bachelor’s degree, master’s degree preferred
Average Salary: $113,100 per year
Job Outlook: Fair

Commercial managers are senior-level management employees who plan and direct companies’ or organizations’ day-to-day operations.

Though the duties may vary depending on the industry and employer, commercial managers are typically responsible for coordinating daily activities, developing policies, allocating human and capital resources to diverse company functions, managing projects, building commercial relationships, securing contracts, limiting the company’s commercial risk, making strategic hiring decisions, and overseeing the different departments. In fact, some of their duties may actually overlap with those of the chief operating officer (COO) and chief executive officer (CEO).

In smaller companies, commercial managers may also take on more direct responsibilities for company functions like sales, negotiations and finance, while in larger companies they may exercise a more strategic function.

Education and Training Requirements

Commercial managers typically have at least a bachelor’s degree, but those holding a master’s degree will be the most competitive candidates. Relevant college majors for this position include business administration, management and finance. Professional certification, while not required, may be helpful when competing for a position. The Certified Manager (CM) designation from the Institute of Certified Professional Managers is one example of such professional certification.

Once commercial managers get the job, they should stay current with business and management practices by attending relevant conferences and regularly reading items in the leading business press.

Getting the Job

Aspiring commercial managers should directly apply to job vacancy announcements in newspapers and on websites. Alternatively, they could register with an executive placement firm. Candidates should be able to demonstrate some prior management or supervisory experience in addition to some type of business experience in any field. Examples include sales, marketing, and finance. Candidates should be prepared to put their best face forward during a series of interviews.

Job Prospects, Employment Outlook and Career Development

The employment outlook for commercial managers is fair. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics does not predict any growth in the number of these types of positions over the period from 2008 to 2018. Available positions will be due to turnover – commercial managers who retire, or move on to another position or company. However, there will be lots of competition for these positions.

Commercial managers who are looking to advance further can apply for C-suite positions, such as chief executive officer and chief operating officer.

Working Conditions and Environment

Commercial managers work in a comfortable office setting. They may spend lots of time working alone on their computer, but also in meetings or collaborating with both higher- and lower-level staff. As the position comes with much responsibility, commercial managers typically have dedicated or shared administrative support staff who take care of their clerical tasks.

Salary and Benefits

Most commercial managers earn between $47,280 and $142,030 each year, with an average of $113,100 per year. However, commercial managers who work in finance-related industries tend to earn the most money. Compensation is typically in the form of a salary, but some commercial managers also earn annual bonuses, profit share revenue, and commissions. Medical, dental, and vision benefits are generally included as part of the benefits package for commercial managers.

Where to Go for More Information

The Institute of Certified Professional Managers
James Madison University, MSC 5504
Harrisonburg, VA 22807
(540) 568-3247

International Association for Contract and Commercial Management (IACCM)
90 Grove St., Ste. 01
Ridgefield, CT 06877
(203) 431-8741

MRA – The Management Association
N19W24400 Riverwood Dr.
Waukesha, Wisconsin 53188
(262) 523-9090

The Management Association of Illinois
1400 Opus Place, Ste. 500
Downers Grove, IL 60515
(800) 448-4584

Additional topics

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