what is an operations manager?

As an operations manager, you are in charge of running an organization'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, finding the perfect balance between expenses and revenue is your job. That means optimizing costs to maintain a company's financial health without compromising quality or making customers feel short-changed.

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

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

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 minimize costs without affecting the quality standards. In construction, you ensure the company utilizes all materials as expected and manage the on-site workers.

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

view jobs near you

average operations manager salary

You can expect the median salary for a general or operations manager in the United States to be $98,100. However, keep in mind that the salary range usually falls between $43,470 and $221,270, and this could vary depending on important factors such as your education, certifications, additional skills and the number of years you have spent in your profession.

operations manager salary by city

If you are an operations or general manager, you can expect to earn the highest salaries in the following metropolitan areas. In San Jose, California, the average salary for this profession is $187,870, while in Trenton, New Jersey, it's $175,530. New York City follows closely behind with an average salary of $174,340. Meanwhile, in San Francisco, California, operations managers could expect to earn around $168,190 on average, and in Bridgeport, Connecticut, the average salary for this profession is $166,080.

operations manager salary by state

The states and districts with the highest median salaries are New Jersey, with an average salary of $179,190, followed by the District of Columbia, with an average salary of $164,860. In Delaware, the average salary for this profession is $164,650; in New York, it's $157,260. Finally, Massachusetts rounds out the list with an average salary of $150,930 for operations managers.

Wondering what you can earn as an operations manager? Find out immediately with the Randstad salary checker! You can quickly and easily see what the average salary of an operations manager is.

Team working on a Google Jamboard in an office.
Team working on a Google Jamboard in an office.

types of operations manager

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 optimize company resources 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 the logistics of marketing activities.
  • healthcare operations manager: Your job is to improve patient efficiency and quality services. You ensure the hospital sticks to the budget by optimizing resources and resolving hospital operational issues.
  • construction operations manager: As a construction operations manager, you supervise various building projects and ensure the 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.


operations manager skills and education

As a person seeking a career in operations management, you'll need to have at least a bachelor’s degree to meet the education requirements. This degree should be in a field related to operations management, such as business administration, management or accounting, as it provides the foundational knowledge necessary to succeed in this field throughout your career.

If you're looking to advance your career in operations management even further, consider pursuing an advanced degree, such as a Master of Business Administration (MBA). While a master's degree isn't always required to enter the field, some employers prefer applicants with a graduate degree for senior roles.

skills and competencies

To become a successful operations manager, you need a range of skills and competencies. Here are some key ones to focus on:

  • strong critical thinking and problem-solving skills: Your assignment requires you to process information from different perspectives and develop solutions that balance the needs of different people.
  • leadership and motivation: You help team members develop by promoting a culture of safety, justice, fairness and inclusion.
  • creativity and innovation: Your team relies on you to come up with new ideas and find new opportunities and solutions for problems.
  • business acumen: Your deep understanding of how a business achieves its objectives and goals is critical to your success.
  • effective delegation: In this field, micromanaging doesn’t work. You delegate tasks based on the abilities of those taking on responsibilities and building a cooperative environment.
  • customer focus: Gaining insight into customer needs and identifying opportunities that benefit them makes you valuable to employers.
  • willingness to learn: You continuously take in knowledge and challenge yourself by staying up with the trends.
  • time management skills: The ability to organize and plan how to divide your time between various responsibilities will help you get more done in less time.
  • strategic thinking: This skill lets you see the big picture and plan a future course of action.
operations manager
operations manager

FAQs about working as an operations manager

Here you will find answers to the most frequently asked questions about operations managers.

thank you for subscribing to your personalised job alerts.