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Working as an Operations Manager

As an operations manager, you have a lot of responsibilities. You may need to oversee several departments, coordinate operations in public or private organizations, but the big takeaway here is that you're in charge.

The job entails so much more than just being in charge, you'll be formulating policies, staying on top of daily operations, and figuring out how to use certain materials and resources. Before you stress out, you will probably have supervisors who will help oversee each section. Deep breaths.

Since you're essentially making sure everything consistently runs smoothly, you'll probably grow accustomed to working overtime hours. Then again, once you're running a well-oiled machine (or team), you can kiss that stress goodbye.

What Does an Operations Manager Do

Top executives devise strategies and policies to ensure that an organization meets its goals. They plan, direct, and coordinate operational activities of companies and organizations.

Duties

Top executives typically do the following:

  • Establish and carry out departmental or organizational goals, policies, and procedures
  • Direct and oversee an organization’s financial and budgetary activities
  • Manage general activities related to making products and providing services
  • Consult with other executives, staff, and board members about general operations
  • Negotiate or approve contracts and agreements
  • Appoint department heads and managers
  • Analyze financial statements, sales reports, and other performance indicators
  • Identify places to cut costs and to improve performance, policies, and programs

The responsibilities of top executives largely depend on an organization’s size. For example, an owner or manager of a small organization, such as an independent retail store, often is responsible for purchasing, hiring, training, quality control, and day-to-day supervisory duties. In large organizations, however, top executives typically focus more on formulating policies and strategic planning, while general and operations managers direct day-to-day operations.

The following are examples of types of top executives working in the private sector:

Chief executive officers (CEOs), who are also known by titles such as executive director, managing director, or president, provide overall direction for companies and organizations. CEOs manage company operations, formulate and implement policies, and ensure goals are met. They collaborate with and direct the work of other top executives and typically report to a board of directors.

Chief operating officers (COOs) oversee other executives who direct the activities of various departments, such as human resources and sales. They also carry out the organization’s guidelines on a day-to-day basis.

General and operations managers oversee operations that are too diverse and general to be classified into one area of management or administration. Responsibilities may include formulating policies, managing daily operations, and planning the use of materials and human resources. They make staff schedules, assign work, and ensure that projects are completed. In some organizations, the tasks of chief executive officers may overlap with those of general and operations managers.

The following are examples of types of top executives working in the public sector:

Mayors, along with governors, city managers, and county administrators, are chief executive officers of governments. They typically oversee budgets, programs, and the use of resources. Mayors and governors must be elected to office, whereas managers and administrators are typically appointed. 

Most educational systems, regardless of whether they are public or private school systems, also employ executive officers. The following are examples of top executives working in the elementary, secondary, and postsecondary educational school systems:

School superintendents and college or university presidents are chief executive officers of school districts and postsecondary schools. They manage issues such as student achievement, budgets and resources, general operations, and relations with government agencies and other stakeholders.

How To Become an Operations Manager

Although education and training requirements vary widely by position and industry, many top executives have at least a bachelor’s degree and a considerable amount of work experience. 

Education

Many top executives have a bachelor’s or master’s degree in business administration or in an area related to their field of work. Top executives in the public sector often have a degree in business administration, public administration, law, or the liberal arts. Top executives of large corporations often have a master’s degree in business administration (MBA).

College presidents and school superintendents are typically required to have a master’s degree, although a doctorate is often preferred.

Although many mayors, governors, or other public sector executives have at least a bachelor’s degree, these positions typically do not have any specific education requirements.

Work Experience in a Related Occupation

Many top executives advance within their own firm, moving up from lower level managerial or supervisory positions. However, other companies may prefer to hire qualified candidates from outside their organization. Top executives who are promoted from lower level positions may be able to substitute experience for education to move up in the company. For example, in industries such as retail trade or transportation, workers without a college degree may work their way up to higher levels within the company to become executives or general managers.

Chief executives typically need extensive managerial experience. Executives are also expected to have experience in the organization’s area of specialty. Most general and operations managers hired from outside an organization need lower level supervisory or management experience in a related field.

Some general managers advance to higher level managerial or executive positions. Company training programs, executive development programs, and certification can often benefit managers or executives hoping to advance.

Important Qualities

Communication skills. Top executives must be able to communicate clearly and persuasively. They must effectively discuss issues and negotiate with others, direct subordinates, and explain their policies and decisions to those within and outside the organization.

Decisionmaking skills. Top executives need decisionmaking skills when setting policies and managing an organization. They must assess different options and choose the best course of action, often daily.

Leadership skills. Top executives must be able to lead an organization successfully by coordinating policies, people, and resources.

Management skills. Top executives must shape and direct the operations of an organization. For example, they must manage business plans, employees, and budgets.

Problem-solving skills. Top executives need to identify and resolve issues within an organization. They must be able to recognize shortcomings and effectively carry out solutions.

Time-management skills. Top executives do many tasks at the same time, typically under their own direction, to ensure that their work gets done and that they meet their goals.

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Average Salary$77,322
Job Growth Rate6%

Operations Manager Career Paths

Top Careers Before Operations Manager

Manager
9.3 %

Top Careers After Operations Manager

Manager
8.3 %

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Average Salary for an Operations Manager

Operations Managers in America make an average salary of $77,322 per year or $37 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $133,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $44,000 per year.
Average Salary
$77,322

Best Paying Cities

City
Average Salary
San Francisco, CA
Salary Range61k - 141k$93k$93,477
New York, NY
Salary Range63k - 125k$89k$89,127
Washington, NJ
Salary Range62k - 122k$88k$87,712
Washington, DC
Salary Range60k - 117k$85k$84,514
McLean, VA
Salary Range59k - 116k$84k$83,617
Baltimore, MD
Salary Range57k - 112k$81k$80,658
$42k
$141k

Recently Added Salaries

Job TitleCompanyCompanyStart DateSalary
Food Operations Manager-Minooka-Earn (2700)
Food Operations Manager-Minooka-Earn (2700)
Domino's
Domino's
01/31/2021
01/31/2021
$27,13101/31/2021
$27,131
Braintrust
Digital Asset Operations Manager
Digital Asset Operations Manager
Braintrust
Braintrust
01/30/2021
01/30/2021
$156,52501/30/2021
$156,525
Operations Manager
Operations Manager
Waukesha County
Waukesha County
01/29/2021
01/29/2021
$85,21801/29/2021
$85,218
Operations Manager
Operations Manager
Weld Re-4 School District
Weld Re-4 School District
01/29/2021
01/29/2021
$60,36301/29/2021
$60,363
Operations Manager, Arrow Digital
Operations Manager, Arrow Digital
Arrow Electronics
Arrow Electronics
01/29/2021
01/29/2021
$79,20001/29/2021
$79,200
See More Recent Salaries

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Operations Manager Resumes

Designing and figuring out what to include on your resume can be tough, not to mention time-consuming. That's why we put together a guide that is designed to help you craft the perfect resume for becoming an Operations Manager. If you're needing extra inspiration, take a look through our selection of templates that are specific to your job.

Learn How To Write an Operations Manager Resume

At Zippia, we went through countless Operations Manager resumes and compiled some information about how best to optimize them. Here are some suggestions based on what we found, divided by the individual sections of the resume itself.

View Detailed Information

Operations Manager Demographics

Gender

male

65.9 %

female

30.4 %

unknown

3.7 %

Ethnicity

White

72.2 %

Hispanic or Latino

13.3 %

Asian

6.1 %

Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

56.4 %

French

7.7 %

German

3.8 %
See More Demographics

Operations Manager Education

Majors

Business
42.9 %

Degrees

Bachelors

48.1 %

Associate

14.8 %

Masters

14.7 %

Top Colleges for Operations Managers

1. University of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, PA • Private

In-State Tuition
$55,584
Enrollment
10,764

2. Northwestern University

Evanston, IL • Private

In-State Tuition
$54,568
Enrollment
8,451

3. University of Southern California

Los Angeles, CA • Private

In-State Tuition
$56,225
Enrollment
19,548

4. New York University

New York, NY • Private

In-State Tuition
$51,828
Enrollment
26,339

5. Pennsylvania State University

University Park, PA • Public

In-State Tuition
$18,454
Enrollment
40,108

6. University of Texas at Austin

Austin, TX • Public

In-State Tuition
$10,610
Enrollment
40,329

7. SUNY at Binghamton

Vestal, NY • Public

In-State Tuition
$9,808
Enrollment
13,990

8. Northeastern University

Boston, MA • Private

In-State Tuition
$51,522
Enrollment
13,760

9. Bentley University

Waltham, MA • Private

In-State Tuition
$49,880
Enrollment
4,177

10. Lehigh University

Bethlehem, PA • Private

In-State Tuition
$52,930
Enrollment
5,030
See More Education Info
Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary

Top Skills For an Operations Manager

The skills section on your resume can be almost as important as the experience section, so you want it to be an accurate portrayal of what you can do. Luckily, we've found all of the skills you'll need so even if you don't have these skills yet, you know what you need to work on. Out of all the resumes we looked through, 18.5% of operations managers listed customer service on their resume, but soft skills such as communication skills and leadership skills are important as well.

Best States For an Operations Manager

Some places are better than others when it comes to starting a career as an operations manager. The best states for people in this position are Delaware, Connecticut, New Jersey, and New York. Operations managers make the most in Delaware with an average salary of $93,955. Whereas in Connecticut and New Jersey, they would average $91,880 and $88,575, respectively. While operations managers would only make an average of $88,254 in New York, you would still make more there than in the rest of the country. We determined these as the best states based on job availability and pay. By finding the median salary, cost of living, and using the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Location Quotient, we narrowed down our list of states to these four.

1. Delaware

Total Operations Manager Jobs:
273
Highest 10% Earn:
$168,000
Location Quotient:
1.13
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

2. Connecticut

Total Operations Manager Jobs:
976
Highest 10% Earn:
$168,000
Location Quotient:
1.04
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

3. New Jersey

Total Operations Manager Jobs:
2,307
Highest 10% Earn:
$161,000
Location Quotient:
1.01
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here
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How Do Operations Manager Rate Their Jobs?

Zippia Official Logo

5.0

Dream Job!September +0000

5.0

Zippia Official LogoDream Job!September +0000

What do you like the most about working as Operations Manager?

I love being able to mold my team and the distribution center to the culture of respect and accountability! Having senior and executive leadership support is a huge positive factor in making this happen!! Show More

What do you NOT like?

Long hours and calls outside of regular business hours are the norm! Show More

Zippia Official Logo

5.0

Area operation managerMarch +0000

5.0

Zippia Official LogoArea operation managerMarch +0000

What do you like the most about working as Operations Manager?

I love it and I wish I was back at my old job but I guess it is what it is Show More

What do you NOT like?

Not being loyal Show More

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Top Operations Manager Employers

We've made finding a great employer to work for easy by doing the hard work for you. We looked into employers that employ operations managers and discovered their number of operations manager opportunities and average salary. Through our research, we concluded that United States Army was the best, especially with an average salary of $59,916. FedEx follows up with an average salary of $55,562, and then comes Amazon.com with an average of $110,588. In addition, we know most people would rather work from home. So instead of having to change careers, we identified the best employers for remote work as an operations manager. The employers include HSBC North America Holdings, Wells Fargo, and Dataminr

1. United States Army
4.0
Avg. Salary: 
$59,916
Operations Managers Hired: 
3,345+
2. FedEx
4.4
Avg. Salary: 
$55,562
Operations Managers Hired: 
2,703+
3. Amazon.com
4.7
Avg. Salary: 
$110,588
Operations Managers Hired: 
1,028+
4. The Home Depot
4.9
Avg. Salary: 
$122,527
Operations Managers Hired: 
872+
5. Walmart
4.9
Avg. Salary: 
$121,826
Operations Managers Hired: 
819+
6. Staples
4.6
Avg. Salary: 
$117,639
Operations Managers Hired: 
809+

Operations Manager Videos

Updated October 2, 2020