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Administrative services managers.

Administrative services managers direct a wide variety of supportive activities in organizations. Employed throughout private industry and government, they coordinate and oversee supportive activities such as communication and mail services, data processing, personnel and financial records processing, printing, property procurement and disposal, secretarial and correspondence services, and transportation. Administrative services managers often hire and dismiss employees, but they rarely formulate policies.

Nature of the Work

In small firms, one administrative services manager may oversee all supportive services. As the size of the firm increases, however, administrative services managers increasingly specialize.

In larger firms, some administrative services managers work as office managers, overseeing supervisors of large clerical staffs. Others administer contracts for the purchase or sale of equipment, materials, supplies, products, or services. The allocation and use of building space is also an administrative services management function. Other administrative services managers dispose of surplus property, an increasingly important source of revenue. In State and local governments, administrative services managers locate the owners of unclaimed assets such as stocks, bonds, the contents of safe deposit boxes, and motor vehicles. Transportation managers oversee motor vehicle operations and management.

The duties of a manager also differ according to their place in the management hierarchy. Supervisory level managers directly oversee supervisors or staffs involved in supportive services. They report to mid-level managers. Mid-level administrative services managers-who are generally found in large firmsdevelop overall plans, set goals and deadlines, develop procedures to direct and improve supportive services, define supervisory level managers' responsibilities, and delegate authority. They report to the owner of the company or other top-level managers, such as the executive vice-president for administrative services.

Earnings and Working Conditions

In 1988, most administrative services managers earned between $20,000 and $70,000. Earnings vary depending upon the managerial level, size of firm, and industry . In the Federal Government, most administrative services managers started at $25,200 a year in 1988. In 1987, administrative services officers averaged $50,700 in the Federal Government, while support services officers averaged $45,500. Salaries in State and local government were generally lower.

Administrative services managers generally work in comfortable offices. In small firms, they may work alongside the supervisors and staffs they oversee, and the office area may be crowded and noisy. Since their duties involve a wide range of activities, they must maintain regular contact-in person or by telephone-with personnel in other departments.Their work can be stressful, as they attempt to schedule work to meet company deadlines. Although the 40-hour week is standard, uncompensated overtime is often required to resolve problems. Managers involved in the procurement, use, and disposal of personal property may travel extensively between home offices, branch offices, vendors' offices, and property sales sites.

Training and Advancement

These are not entry level positions in an organization. Most administrative services managers have several years' experience in various administrative services before assuming supervisory duties. For example, managers who oversee clerical supervisors usually have a working knowledge of office procedures, word processing, communications, data processing, and recordkeeping. Managers of personal property acquisition and disposal need experience in purchasing and sales and knowledge of a wide variety of supplies, machinery, and equipment. Managers concerned with supply, inventory, and distribution must be experienced in receiving, warehousing, packaging, shipping, transportation, and related operations. Contract administrators have often worked as contract specialists, cost analysts, or procurement specialists. Managers of unclaimed property often have experience in claims analysis and records management.

While relevant experience is almost always required for entrance into these positions, education is increasingly important. For supervisory level administrative services managers of secretarial, mail room, and related administrative support activities, many employers prefer an associate of arts degree in business or management, although a high school diploma may suffice. For managers of audio-visual, graphics, and other more technical activities, postsecondary school technical training is preferred. For managers of highly complex services, such as contract administration, a bachelor's degree, preferably in business administration, is usually required; the curriculum should include courses in office technology, accounting, business mathematics, computer applications, and business law.

Persons interested in becoming administrative services managers should be able to communicate and establish effective working relationships with many different people-managers, supervisors, professionals, clerks, and blue-collar workers. They should be analytical, detail-oriented, flexible, and decisive. The ability to coordinate several activities and quickly analyze and resolve specific problems is important. Ability to work under stress and cope with deadlines is also important.

Advancement is easier in large firms that employ several levels of administrative services managers. A bachelor's degree enhances a supervisory level administrative services manager's opportunities to advance to a mid-level management position, such as director of administrative services. Further advancement is even more likely to require a bachelor's degree. Those with the required capital and experience can establish their own management consulting or management services firm.

Employment and Outlook

Administrative services managers held about 198,000 jobs in 1988. They were found in virtually every industry. However, a significant proportion of these jobs are in local government (13 percent), miscellaneous business services-primarily management consulting firms (7 percent), educational services establishments (5 percent), and hospitals (5 percent).

Employment of administrative services managers is expected to increase faster than the average for all occupations through the year 2000, as the number of large firms-where these managers are concentrated-increases. The need to reduce administrative costs by improving the efficiency of operations should spur demand for these managers. In addition, the increasing emphasis on the sale of surplus property to raise revenue should add to the rapid employment growth of administrative services managers. As in the case of other managerial jobs, the ample supply of competent, experienced workers seeking advancement should result in competition for administrative services management positions.

Related Occupations

Administrative services managers direct and coordinate supportive services and oversee the purchase, use, and disposal of personal property. Occupations with similar functions include administrative assistant, appraiser, buyer, clerical supervisor, contract specialist, cost estimator, procurement services manager, project director, property and real estate manager, purchasing manager, and sales manager.

Sources of Additional Information

Information about careers in administrative and office services management is available from

Administrative Management Society 4622 Street Road Trevose, PA 19047.

For information about careers in personal property utilization management, contact

National Property Management Association Suite 105 16418 West Sixth Avenue Golden, CO 80401.

Information about careers in contract administration is available from

National Contract Management Association 1912 Woodford Road Vienna, VA 22180.
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Article Details
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Author:Gartaganis, Arthur
Publication:Occupational Outlook Quarterly
Date:Jun 22, 1989
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