Career Overview: Operations Manager

What They Do

An operations manager oversees the production of goods and services for an organization in the public or private sector. Responsibilities include management of purchasing, warehousing and manufacturing departments. Creating policies, deciding on the best practices for use of materials and human resources and directing the daily operations of a business are generally part of the job description for operations managers. However, operations management isn’t solely overseeing others. Operations managers are expected to analyze data and improve the systems of operations, processes and policies concerning the mission of their organization. Increasing effectiveness and efficiency in an effort to promote operational excellence is an important aspect of this position.

Skills Needed

When considering a career as an operations manager, it is important to know that skills and knowledge relating to both mathematics and communication are keys to success. Financial management skills are essential. Developing budgets, payroll management, creating and maintaining fiscal documents, and invoicing clients or other funding sources are some of the finance-related facets of an operations manager’s job. Working and communicating with multiple departments is a common responsibility as well. This means the ability to communicate clearly and succinctly in both verbal and written forms so that efficiency is ensured.

Education Required

Most employers require a candidate for an operations manager position to have earned at least a bachelor’s degree. Business Administration is the suggested focus for candidates. Individuals with a Bachelor of Business Administration have the required skills and knowledge in subjects such as statistics, finance and accounting, as well as soft skill subjects like leadership and organizational behavior. Larger organizations, such as corporations, may require candidates for operations manager jobs to have a Master of Business Administration degree.


In addition to a college degree, most employers look at job experience when seeking an operations manager. Work experience in finance, bookkeeping, and development and oversight, as well as work in an industry that directly relates to the organization’s mission, are all relevant. Skills relating to technology are important. Proficiency in software like Microsoft Excel and Word is often required. Of course, communication skills are paramount for success in any managerial position. Understanding consumer and workplace behavior aids in the effective practice of communication. These competencies are often taught in business courses and programs.

Salary Potential

An operations manager’s salary depends on the type of employer. However, the median annual salary is around $97,000. The industries that hire the most operations managers include for-profit companies, restaurants, local government agencies, consulting services (like management, scientific and technical services) and technology-related services. For-profit enterprises and restaurants hire the most operations managers.