what is a supervisor?

As a supervisor, you oversee a team or department's activities, programmes and functions. You are the go-to person in charge of a department or activity in the organisation. In most companies, a supervisor is next in line after a manager as they are responsible for employees in their department.

Unlike managers, a supervisor is hands-on and oversees the daily performance of a small team or department. That means they oversee one aspect of the company by supervising a particular project. As a supervisor, you also hire, dismiss or recommend workers for promotions.

Supervisors are important to an organisation since their functions improve the company's productivity and ensure projects are completed within the stipulated time. The supervisor role is popular in industrial and administrative settings that require close monitoring of various activities and teams. To become an effective supervisor, you need strong leadership skills to create a supportive work environment for workers. You also need cultural awareness to recognise diversity and its impact on the workplace.

Would working as a supervisor suit your leadership skills? Then read on to find out what competencies and qualifications you need to thrive in a supervisor role.

supervisor jobs

average supervisor salary

According to National Careers, a new supervisor starts with a £15,000 compensation package per year. Experienced supervisors take home an average salary of £30,000 per year. The compensation package is usually inclusive of allowances provided by the employer, such as paid holidays and sick days. You can boost your salary with overtime pay and bonuses. Employers offer overtime pay at higher hourly rates, while some offer yearly bonuses.

how to increase the salary of a supervisor

You can expect a higher compensation package when you have experience in a supervisory role. Your experience shows the skills and values you bring to the team, improving your salary prospects. Educational qualifications also raise your take-home pay.

The industry impacts your salary depending on the job complexity and whether the position is critical for the business sector. For instance, in manufacturing and other industrial settings, the role of supervisors is crucial since they oversee the activities of various teams in the production process. Therefore, working in the manufacturing sector earns you a higher salary compared with the business administration sector.

employee supervisor discussion
employee supervisor discussion

types of supervisors

Supervisors work in various industries and undertake diverse roles, for example maintenance supervisors, site supervisors and cleaning supervisors. Some of the specialisms also include:

  • project supervisor: as a project supervisor, you oversee team members and work beneath the project manager. Your job is to create a plan for the project. You also establish the resources to ensure each project phase is completed on time and in accordance with the management's instructions. Project supervisors need to understand the project components and how they fit with other aspects of a project.
  • office supervisor: as an office supervisor, you oversee administrative tasks. You make sure the tasks are performed in a timely and efficient manner. 
  • operations supervisor: an operations supervisor oversees the activities of a specific department or area within an organisation. Your goal is to improve operating processes and report to upper management. You also monitor the performance of each employee and ensure the team is productive.

working as a supervisor

As a supervisor, you will be a team leader, ensuring that operations and project activities are completed effectively and correctly. Let's explore the daily tasks and work environment of a supervisor.


supervisor education and skills

Some supervisory roles rely on work experience instead of educational qualifications. However, if you want to progress faster in the role, consider the following academic qualifications:

  • degree and apprenticeships: a bachelor's degree in business or management helps you to become a supervisor. You can also pursue team leader or advanced supervisor apprenticeships to join the field.
  • work experience: most employers often provide on-the-job training, but you need prior experience to excel in the role. Most supervisors start with entry-level jobs and learn the skills they need as they work towards advancement.

supervisor skills and competencies

Some of the qualities that a supervisor needs include:

  • communication skills: as a supervisor, communication skills are vital since you relay information to employees and convey expectations and feedback. Effective communication helps you build trust with team members.
  • leadership skills: as a supervisor, you must inspire and motivate your team members to ensure they perform efficiently. You also need leadership skills to guide employees through difficult situations.
  • problem-solving skills: as a supervisor, you need to find solutions to problems that crop up among team members. Your problem-solving skills also help you find solutions to workplace challenges.
  • teamwork skills: as a supervisor, you work with a team of employees. Interpersonal skills are important to improve collaboration with your team members.


employee man smiling
employee man smiling


FAQs about working as a supervisor

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