Quality managers ensure companies and organisations meet recognised standards for the quality of the products or services they provide. Customer satisfaction depends on quality being maintained and improved, so quality managers set up systems for constantly assessing products and services against the set standards.
These systems help ensure the consistency and improvement of working practices or manufacturing processes. Quality managers advise on how the system is performing and publish data and reports on performance, comparing it to the guidelines, sometimes called benchmarks.
The precise nature of their work varies according to the size of the company and the industry. Generally, quality managers liaise with managers and staff throughout the organisation to ensure that the quality management system is functioning properly.
The quality manager acts as the focal point for customers on quality issues. Some quality managers spend part of their time on other management systems issues such as environmental, health and safety and information security. Other general managers may have a part-time responsibility for quality systems within their organisation.
The hours of work vary according to the industry. Quality managers working for engineering or production companies may occasionally work shifts; others, in local government or banks for example, work typical office hours.
Salaries for quality managers vary considerably according to the organisation, industry and location in which they work. They may earn from around £22,000 on entry up to £60,000 a year with experience.
There are around 25,000 quality managers in the UK. They work for a whole range of industrial, commercial and public sector organisations. They work for small companies through to large multinational corporations.
There is no set route to become a quality manager, although many have previous management or quality control experience. Some people enter with a degree or postgraduate qualification in a subject related to quality management or business studies. Others have a qualification relevant to the industry in which they wish to work as a quality manager.
The qualifications provided by The Chartered Quality Institute (CQI), for example, are often a second qualification for a manager qualified in an area such as accountancy, law, engineering or marketing.
The CQI offers the Certificate in Quality (Level 3) and the Diploma in Quality (Level 5).
The Chartered Management Institute offers a range of general management qualifications and the Diploma in Quality Management (Level 4). These courses can be studied on a part-time basis. There are no set entry requirements.
Continuing professional development (CPD) is important for quality managers so they may keep their skills and knowledge up to date.
Laboratory technicians carry out routine laboratory tests and perform a variety of technical support functions to help scientists, technologists and others with their work. They can work in research and development, scientific analysis and testing, education and manufacturing.
They are employed in a wide range of scientific fields which affect almost every aspect of our lives.
Quality managers should:
There may be opportunities for experienced quality managers to progress to senior management or director-level positions, or work as consultants.
Some may work towards chartered quality professional or chartered manager status.
Chartered Management Institute,
Management House, Cottingham Road,
Corby, Northamptonshire NN17 1TT
Tel: 01536 204222
The Chartered Quality Institute (CQI),
12 Grosvenor Crescent, London SW1X 7EE
Tel: 020 7245 6722
Additional resources for job seekers and those already in a job.