what is an operations manager?

As an operations manager, you are in charge of running an organisation's daily functions. That involves planning and implementing production processes to improve quality, productivity and performance. Your primary role is to oversee company procedures and enforce the policies. For instance, it is your job to find the perfect balance between expenses and revenue. That means you need to optimise costs to maintain a company's financial health without compromising the quality or customers feeling short-changed.

Aside from formulating company processes and policies, the operations manager also manages all company resources. That includes raw materials, labour and capital. As an operations manager, you supervise and control all factors of production to ensure maximum productivity. Sometimes, you have to carry out human resource functions to improve employee engagement and productivity.

what does an operations manager do?

An operations manager is crucial in every industry, including manufacturing, healthcare, construction and retail. Your job is to put together the resources available to achieve a company's goals. For instance, you manage inventory and sales representatives to increase sales in retail. In manufacturing, you supervise the production processes and minimise costs without affecting the quality standards. In construction, you ensure all materials are utilised as expected and manage the workers on site.

Would working as an operations manager suit your enterprising skills? Then read on to find out what competencies and qualifications you need to thrive in an operations manager role.

operations manager jobs

average salary of an operations manager

According to ONS, the average salary of an operations manager is £37,500 per year. Your starting salary at an entry-level position is £29,000 annually, while experienced operations managers earn £52,500 per year. The compensation package also includes allowances and non-monetary benefits. For instance, operations managers often get medical insurance and various allowances to facilitate their responsibilities. Some companies also provide house and transport allowances. Paid vacations, pension benefits and bonuses are perks of becoming an operations manager.

what factors affect the salary of an operations manager?

Your compensation package as an operations manager often relies on various factors. For instance, your position in the company hierarchy can influence your pay. If you are an operations manager in charge of one department, your salary is less than for someone in charge of an entire company. When you are an operations manager for a single department, your responsibilities and qualifications are minimal. An operations manager in charge of the whole company often carries out complex tasks and earns a better salary. Your experience also influences your wages due to the transferrable skills you bring to the company. Employers will pay more for your expertise when you have years of experience working in operations.

Group of people having a meeting, in a room with glass windows
Group of people having a meeting, in a room with glass windows

types of operations managers

Operations managers vary depending on the industry they work for. Some include:

  • business operations manager: as a business manager, you supervise the operations of various departments in a company. You need to ensure company resources are optimised to improve business outcomes by promoting efficiency and productivity.
  • field operations manager: as a field operations manager, you implement field marketing and sales initiatives. That means you are responsible for training and hiring field sales representatives, evaluating performance and managing logistics of marketing activities.
  • healthcare operations manager: your job is to improve efficiency and quality services to patients. You ensure the hospital sticks to the budget by optimising resources and resolving hospital operational issues.
  • construction operations manager: as a construction operations manager, you supervise various building projects and ensure proper allocation of resources. You also develop efficient ways to improve construction standards and enhance commercial value.

working as an operations manager

Operations managers perform various functions to ensure the smooth running of business processes. Below are the tasks, duties and working conditions to expect in the role:


education and skills

The role of an operations manager is multifaceted and requires both industry-specific qualifications and management abilities. For that reason, you should pursue a degree that gives you a fundamental understanding of budgeting, supply chain management and concepts critical to operational efficiency. 

  • in general, you should consider an undergraduate course in business administration or management and other related fields like finance or supply chain. 
  • in some industries, you need basic industry sector knowledge to become an operations manager. For example, you need a computer science or engineering background to be qualified for an operations manager role in IT or vehicle assembling businesses. 
  • since it is a senior role, many companies also require a Master of Business Administration (MBA) for an operations manager position.

skills and competencies

Becoming an operations manager requires expert knowledge and technical skills to navigate the responsibilities. These include:

  • leadership skills: as an operations manager, you undertake many managerial duties. You need leadership skills to help you set goals, mentor, motivate and lead other employees. Leadership skills assist in guiding employees and leading by example to ensure the company's objectives are accomplished.
  • communications skills: operations managers interact with various stakeholders, from suppliers and customers to top management. Communication skills help you effectively deliver instructions and feedback to different stakeholders.
  • organisational skills: as an operations manager, you oversee multiple aspects of a business. Without organisational skills, you cannot accomplish all the tasks at the stipulated time. You need to organise your work and create a timeline for each project to ensure success.
  • financial acumen: as an operations manager, you ensure all business operations stick to the set budget. With financial insight, you can evaluate the daily operations of each department and ensure they meet the company's profitability goals without exceeding the budget.
Two men working together in an office environment
Two men working together in an office environment


FAQs about working as an operations manager

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