The Job and What's Involved

Managers play a key role in helping organisations to achieve their goals, through managing resources (such as people, money and materials) and work activities or projects.

The responsibilities of individual managers vary according to the type of organisation and their position within it. Junior managers, for example, may have responsibility for only a small team and are likely to have limited influence on an organisation's policies. They may combine their management role with another work role.

Senior managers may be responsible for a whole department and are likely to have a high degree of responsibility for, and influence on, their organisation's policies and strategic direction. This may include re-developing the company mission, changing company culture and significant reorganisations.

The day-to-day work activities of individual managers vary considerably. They may be responsible for the systems or processes that create goods or provide services. They may have responsibility for controlling and monitoring budgets and producing management reports. Managers in some fields, such as construction, are likely to also have technical responsibilities.

Many managers are involved in managing people. People-management activities may include some or all of the following:

  • Recruiting and training new staff.
  • Coaching, mentoring and developing members of the team.
  • Motivating staff.
  • Conducting performance reviews and appraisals.
  • Team building and resolving conflicts within a team.
  • Taking part in grievance and disciplinary procedures.

Further information on some specialist managerial roles is available in the separate articles, Company Director and Quality Manager.

Some managers work regular office hours, typically from 9.00am to 5.30pm, Monday to Friday. Many work additional or irregular hours to meet the demands of the job.

Managers' work environments vary between organisations. Many are primarily office based, but may have to travel to visit clients or attend meetings at other sites. Overseas travel may be required, particularly of managers working for national or international organisations.

A driving licence is useful and may be essential in some jobs.

Managers may start on at least £21,000 a year. An experienced manager may earn around £45,000 a year.

In addition, some managers may receive bonus payments, a share of company profits and private health insurance.

Getting Started with this Career Choice

Managers work for every type of organisation, including:

- Manufacturers
- Commercial organisations, such as banking & insurance
- Construction companies
- Hotels and restaurants
- Local authorities
- The Civil Service
- Hospitals.
- Transport organisations
- Charities

It is estimated that over four million people in the UK have management responsibilities. There is, though, a shortage of people with management skills and an increase in demand for managers is likely.

Vacancies for managers may be advertised in local and national newspapers, and in specialist journals such as Professional Manager and Management Today. They may also be advertised through recruitment agencies.

Education and Training

There are three main routes into management:

Progression from job role. There are many areas of work where people progress to management having first developed expertise in a work role, and this is the main route into management. Examples are accountancy, engineering, teaching, healthcare and hotel and catering. This route is normally possible even in career areas that also have a formal management training scheme.

Management training schemes. Many large organisations, particularly in the retail industry, offer trainee manager posts. Minimum entry requirements vary. Some ask for at least two A levels and five GCSE's (A*-C), including English and maths, or equivalent qualifications such as relevant BTEC National Certificate or Diploma. Others ask for a BTEC Higher National Diploma (HND) or Certificate (HNC), a foundation degree or an honours degree. Some applicants have a postgraduate qualification.

For management trainee posts in some specialist areas the HNC/HND or degree subject may be specified but many companies recruit candidates with a whole range of subjects. Subjects such as business studies, management science, business information systems, accountancy, economics and modern foreign languages tend to be useful. The Diploma in business, administration and finance may be relevant for this area of work.

Entry to an HNC/HND or foundation degree is usually with one A level or equivalent. Minimum entry requirements for an honours degree course are often five GCSE's (A*-C), plus two A levels or equivalent. Normal academic entry requirements may be relaxed for applicants with relevant experience.

Apprenticeships. There are Apprenticeships in team leading and Advanced Apprenticeships in management. There are no formal entry requirements but employers may require applicants to have some GCSE's (A*-C) in subjects such as English and maths. It is expected that most entrants will be over 19 years old. For both Apprenticeship schemes, entrants must be in team leader, supervisor or manager roles.

Apprenticeships and Advanced Apprenticeships provide structured training with an employer. As an apprentice you must be paid at least £95 per week; you may well be paid more. A recent survey found that the average wage for apprentices was £170 a week. Your pay will depend on the sector in which you work, your age, the area where you live and the stage at which you have arrived in the Apprenticeship.

Entry to Employment (e2e) can help to prepare those who are not yet ready for an Apprenticeship. In addition, Young Apprenticeships may be available for 14- to 16-year-olds. More information is available from a Connexions personal adviser or at

There are different arrangements for Apprenticeships in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

For further information visit My World of Work, Careers Wales; and for Northern Ireland contact

A Few More Exams You Might Need

Most managers are trained on the job. They may also work towards management qualifications, of which there is a wide range. They include:

  • NVQ Level 2 in team leading.
  • NVQ Levels 3, 4 and 5 in management.
  • BTEC HND and HNC in business (management).
  • BTEC Advanced Professional Diploma in management studies.
  • Foundation and honours degrees in management.
  • Postgraduate qualifications, including a Master of Business Administration (MBA).

The Chartered Management Institute (CMI), the Institute of Leadership & Management (ILM) and The Institute of Operations Management all offer a wide range of management qualifications at different levels. It is possible to gain Chartered Manager status through the CMI.

Team leader apprentices work towards NVQ Level 2 in team leading, while advanced apprentices work towards NVQ Level 3 in management.

Continuing professional development (CPD) is important for managers so they may keep their skills and knowledge up to date.

Featured Job Guide - Oil Drilling Roustabout

Oil Drilling Roustabout

Oil Drilling Roustabouts and Roughnecks work as part of a small team on offshore oil or gas drilling rigs or production platforms. Roustabouts do unskilled manual labouring jobs on rigs and platforms, and Roughneck is a promotion from roustabout.

Roustabouts do basic tasks to help keep the rig and platform working efficiently and Roughnecks do practical tasks involved in the drilling operation, under the supervision of the driller.


Skills and Personal Qualities Needed

A manager should:

  • Be able to motivate and encourage others.
  • Have excellent verbal and written communication skills.
  • Be able to delegate where appropriate.
  • Be well organised.
  • Be decisive and work well under pressure.
  • Be effective at planning, monitoring and reviewing work.
  • Be numerate, and able to analyse and interpret information.
  • Be able to command respect and trust.
  • Be persuasive in order to influence people.
  • Be good at problem solving.
  • Work well on their own and as part of a team.
  • Have good negotiating skills.
  • Be honest and fair in dealing with other people.

Your Long Term Prospects

Many organisations have a management structure and managers may be able to progress to senior level and beyond that to become a company director.

Managers who work for smaller companies may have to move to other organisations to progress.

Get Further Information

Chartered Management Institute (CMI),
Management House, Cottingham Road,
Corby, Northamptonshire NN17 1TT
Tel: 01536 204222

Institute of Leadership & Management (ILM),
1 Giltspur Street, London EC1A 9DD
Tel: 01543 266867

The Institute of Operations Management,
CILT (UK), Earlstrees Court, Earlstrees Road,
Corby, Northants NN17 4AX
Tel: 01536 740105

Other Related Jobs

Additional resources