General and Operations Managers

General and Operations Managers Career Overview

Every company has a particular set of goals that they desire to meet. It is the job of the general and operation managers to strategize and devise plans that will enable the company to attain its goals. Learn more about this career path to see if general and operations management is right for you.

What Is General Operations?

General and operations managers are among the top paid employees, however, this also causes competition for the position to be strong. Most general and operations managers have at least a bachelor’s degree and experience, but education levels are significantly varied because each manager will have different obligations to fulfill.

What Do Business Operations Managers Do?

General and operations managers belong to a larger labor group called top executives, which also include executive officers, chief operating officers, president, vice president, school superintendent, county administrator, and mayor. What do business operations managers do? Regardless of the title, all top executives work to create regulations and conduct operations of the business in private firms, government, and nonprofit organizations.

Responsibilities of the Operations Manager

Responsibilities vary depending on the needs of the organization. In small organizations, like small manufacturers or independent retail stores, the responsibilities of the operations manager include handling mergers and acquisitions, overseeing cash management activities, devising fundraising strategies to support the growth of the organization, and supervising various investments of funds while managing associated risks.

Local, regional, national and sometimes international travel is required in order to successfully delegate and oversee all of the organization’s staff, customers, and other executives. They may also attend meetings and conferences sponsored by professional associations. The responsibilities of the operations manager include driving profits, providing better service, or meeting fundraising goals.

Responsibilities of the Chief Executive Officer

The chief executive officer (CEO) is the person who establishes the goals and policies of the company. The general and operations managers work closely with the CEO to ensure that company conduct is in alignment with these goals.

While the CEO always has overall liability for the company, they may delegate other responsibilities to the general and operations managers, such as allowing them to supervise other departments and set rules and regulations of the organization on a daily basis. It is slightly different in a nonprofit organization, where the board of directors has the final authority on the company’s direction, and the chief executive officer reports to the board.

Operations Manager vs. General Manager

Operations managers are responsible for directing the operations of public or private organizations. They have many duties, such as supervising daily operations, creating policies, and delegating how materials and human resources can be classified into one area of management or administration, including purchasing, personnel, or administrative services. 

General managers may cover some of the same duties, but many operate in a broader management position in a company. They will often work in comfortable offices with a large amount of support staff. While their schedules may be flexible, extended hours and working during evenings and on weekends should be expected.

The specific differences between operations manager vs. general manager positions depend on the company structure. CEOs organize and divide these positions in various ways.

How to Become a General and Operations Manager

Follow these steps to pursue your career as an operations or general manager:

  1. Earn a high school diploma
  2. Earn a bachelor’s degree, typically in business, engineering, law, or related field
  3. Work five or fewer years in a related industry

Strong communication skills are necessary for this career, as general and operations managers must be able to communicate clearly and effectively to other departments and personnel. Applicants must be analytical in nature, have the ability to quickly analyze data and information, and be able to determine the relationships between many facets of the organization. They must be leaders, have self-confidence, decisiveness, flexibility, determination, and sound business judgment.

What Degree Do You Need to Be a General Manager?

It is common for the required operations manager education to be a bachelor’s degree or master’s degree in business administration, liberal arts, or a specialized discipline. What degree do you need to be a general manager? This is dependent on the industry and goals of the organization in which the general and operations managers work.

Often, a lower-level manager will fill a general and operations manager position when there is an opening. In industries such as retail and transportation, someone with a college degree can work their way up through the company in order to eventually become a general manager. Chief executive officers prefer to hire those with managerial experience when they do hire from outside the organization.

What Qualifications or Credentials Do You Need to Be a General Manager?

Attending company training programs that teach a more in-depth knowledge of company operations and policies can aid in advancement for this career. Employees may also participate in conferences and seminars that provide a broader knowledge of national and international policies specific to their organization, and may also help in making new contacts. Managers who have experience in a particular field such as accounting or engineering may attend company programs that are geared towards those specific specializations.

Local or national training programs are sponsored by training organizations, such as the Institute of Certified Professional Managers, which offers a Certified Manager (CM) credential. Managers of all levels of experience are able to attain this certification and although it is not required for advancement, it may aid in demonstrating management skills.

General and Operations Managers Salary

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimates that the 2020 national median wage for general and operations managers was $103,650. This wage can vary depending on the industry. For example, administrative services and facilities general and operations managers’ salary was $98,890 in 2020. Top executives, like CEOs, however, earned median pay of $107,680, according to BLS.

Often, general and operations managers will hold stock options in the organization and will receive performance bonuses. Membership to exclusive dining clubs, company-owned transportation, expense allowances, company-paid insurance premiums, and physical examinations are also common forms of compensation.

General and Operations Managers Job Market

The specific growth of general and operations managers’ jobs varies depending on the industry. The number of top executives in the nation is expected to grow by 8% between 2020 and 2030, according to BLS. The number of training and development managers, however, is expected to increase by 11%, according to BLS.

Also affecting the growth of general and operations managers’ jobs are company mergers, in which some managers may be let go. As an organization grows, the number of general managers typically stays the same, so job growth is not common in this career. Usually, openings become available when a manager retires or transfers to a new position.

General and operations managers will have the best results if they are experienced, demonstrate strong leadership skills, and have the ability to increase company efficiency. As the global market expands, marketing, international economics, and knowledge of several languages will all be desirable skills.

Scroll to Top