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Managers: the guiding hands in an organization.

Lee Iacocca--President of Chrysler Corporation--and Mr. Green--who owns a corner candy store--have at least one thing in common. Both are managers. So are Raymond donovan, the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Labor; Judy Martin, local branch manager for a supermarket chain; Joe Bettencourt, the comptroller of a construction company; Mary Ashe, manager of a private tennis club; and over 9 million other American workers. Put all together, they're quite a mixed bag. And, given the definition of the term manager, they'd have to be. According to the Standard Occupational classification Manual, managers plan, organize, direct, and control the major functions of an organization. Wide as that definition is, however, it does exclude some people who are occasionally referred to as managers. For example, supervisors of clerical and blue-collar workers are excluded because they rarely set goals for the organization. Professional or technical personnel--such as accountants, engineers, and lawyers--are also excluded because most of their time is not spent on management.

This article points out some of the differences among managers in level of responsibility, employment and utilization of managers by industry, and educational attainment and earnings.

Who's a Manager?

* Vice president in charge of international operations,

* supervisor of data processing,

* treasurer,

* hospital administrator,

* school principal,

* postmaster.

These are some of the job titles used for managers. (Lots more are listed in the accompanying box, "The Many Titles of Managers.") The titles are numerous because they can reflect either the specific responsibility of a position or the industry in which the managers work.

The nature of a manager's duties vary widely because management includes many different functions, such as designing the product that an organization will offer, manufacturing it, and marketing it. Financial control--that is, keeping track of the organization's income and expenses--is another important management function. But perhaps the most basic management function concerns personnel, for the difference between a manager and a self-employed entrepreneur with no employees is that the manager works through other people to reach a goal. Managers, therefore, must be skilled at working with others.

In a small owner-operated firm with few employees, all management functions may be exercised by one individual--the owner. But, as the size and complexity of an organization's operations increase, so does the management hierarchy. Numerous functions--accounting or legal services, for example--that may be contracted for in small firms are often performed internally by large corporations. Giant corporations, such as those found in the automobile and oil industries, contain several layers of management, which are generally grouped in three levels--supervisory, middle, and top. An example of such a hierarchy encompassing selected managerial functions accompanies this article.

Supervisory or junior managers plan, schedule, and supervise the day-to-day work of employees. For example, a junior manager in a department store might supervise several sales clerks, keep records of inventory and sales, and be responsible for insuring that adequate supplies of merchandise are on hand. In a ceramics factory, a junior manager might be responsible for seeing that machinery is properly maintained, that the raw materials are available, and that production schedules are met. In a government or business office, junior managers might oversee and review the work of professionals. Junior managers must be familiar with their firm's products or services, thoroughly understand work procedures, and have strong interpersonal skills. Besides supervisory responsibilities, they may spend part of their time on other work. They are found in every sort of organization directing every kind of activity, such as accounting, data processing, inspection, maintenance, marketing, personnel, research, sales, security, and shipping.

Mid-level managers, as their title indicates, hold intermediary positions between supervisory and top management. Their specific duties and job titles depend largely on the way the particular organization they work for is set up, but they would always be in charge of several junior managers. In a very large corporation manufacturing many products, a mid-level manager might be responsible for a separate division that makes only a few of these products. In a corporation that has a single purpose, such as a supermarket chain, a mid-level manager might be responsible for all the stores in a region. Or the corporation might be organized according to activities such as personnel, sales, service, and production.

Top-level managers include members of the board of directors, the chief executive officer--who may be the president or the board chairman--and the vice presidents for major administrative units, such as marketing or financial operations. These executives establish the objectives of the organization and chart its future course. They must analyze and evaluate large amounts of information to gauge the possible impact on their organization of economic, political, and social trends, technological change, and competition. They also coordinate the activities of various administrative units within their organizations and maintain lines of communication with middle managers.

Working Conditions

Like their duties and job titles, the working conditions of managers vary widely depending upon their position, their employer, and their industry. In a large corporation, a top-level manager might have a lavish office and a private secretary, whereas a production line manager might have a simple office and use a secretarial pool. Most work a standard 8-hour day and 5-day week, but many do not. Some, like those in newspaper publishing, regularly work the night shift. Others, like hospital administrators, are on call 24 hours a day to deal with emergencies. And almost all managers are expected to work overtime when necessary. Other working conditions also differ greatly from job to job. For example, managers in the construction industry work outdoors a lot, while those responsible for a large region travel a great deal.

The pace of work also varies. In the radio and television broadcasting industry, managers are subject to constant deadlines. For hotel managers, checkout time can be particularly hectic. In retail trade establishments, seasonal changes in activity are pronounced. In the drug manufacturing industry, research projects may be long term, scheduled for completion months or even years in the future.

Naturally, the degree to which managers work with other people also depends on their particular job. Some, like those in restaurants, automotive service departments, and social service agencies, are in constant contact with the public. Managers associated with research and development activities, on the other hand, may rarely deal with people outside their office.

Earnings and Other Benefits

Managers tend to earn more than workers in other occupations. (See table 1.) About 7 percent earned at least $52,000 in 1982; only 1 percent of the workers in all occupations earned this much.

Median earnings of experienced managers were $22,600 a year in 1982, 40 percent higher than the $16,100 figure for all occupations combined. The median varied considerably from occupation to occupation, ranging from less than $15,000 for restaurant, cafeteria, and bar managers to more than $28,000 for nonretail sales managers. Variation by industry was even greater, ranging from $17,000 for retail trade to $34,500 in chemical manufacturing. As is the case in most fields, large employers in major metropolitan areas tend to pay higher salaries than small employers in rural areas.

Most salaried managers in the private sector receive additional compensation in the form of bonuses, stock awards, and cash-equivalent fringe benefits such as company-paid insurance premiums and use of company cars. Limited available information indicates that this additional compensation may, on average, range from 5 to 10 percent of salaries.

Top-level managers are among the most highly paid workers in the country. Recent surveys of top corporations revealed that in 1982, over 500 executives had compensation (salary plus bonus equal to about 20 percent of salary) of at least $500,000. These earnings excluded both fringe benefits and long-term income such as stock options, which could add 30 percent or more to the manager's total compensation. Other surveys of executive salaries reveal the importance of the size of the corporation. A top-level manager in a very large corporation can earn ten times as much as a counterpart in a small firm.


Describing a manager's duties is difficult, in part because the occupation is so large. Managers held about 9.4 million jobs in 1982, about 80 percent of which were salaried positions. (See table 2.) In most industries, the percentage of managers is roughly the same as it is in the economy as a whole, about 9 percent. Finance, insurance, and real estate, however, has a relatively high proportion of managers (17 percent); and agriculture, forestry, and fisheries has a relatively low one (2 percent).

The largest groups of industries--wholesale and retail trade, services, and manufacturing--are also large employers of salaried managers; each has at least 1 million. Just 30 detailed industries out of 378 employ 100,000 or more, accounting for about 80 percent of all salaried managers. The employment levels and selected job titles unique to these industries are shown in the accompanying box, "The Many Titles of Managers."

Self-employment is much higher among managers than other occupations. Nearly 1.8 million managers (19 percent) are self-employed. This proportion is more than twice the rate for all occupations combined. Many self-employed managers work in retail trade--an industry characterized by a large number of relatively small establishments.


Between 1982 and 1995, 2.7 million managerial jobs will be added to the 9.4 million already found in the economy, according to the Bureau's projections. The employment of salaried managers is projected to increase faster than the average for all occupations through the mid-1990's as business operations become more complex. The number of self-employed managers, on the other hand, is projected to decrease slightly--from 1.8 to 1.6 million--as large enterprises and chain operations increasingly dominate business activity.

The projected change in employment varies greatly among managerial occupations, as shown by table 2.

The employment of health services administrators outside hospitals is expected to increase much faster than average as the health industry expands and health services management becomes more complex. Particularly strong demand will arise from the growth in health maintenance organizations, group medical practices, and other health care facilities such as emergency centers, surgicenters, and rehabilitation centers for patients not requiring the full spectrum of medical services. In addition, there will be great pressure to expand skilled nursing and personal care facilities to accommodate the large increase in the number of senior citizens.

Many managerial occupations are projected to grow faster than average. Among them are bank officers and managers, automotive service department managers, automotive parts department managers, hospital administrators, retail trade sales managers, and store managers. The growth in the number of bank officers will occur as banks expand their services. Automotive service managers and automotive parts department managers will increase to keep pace with the servicing and maintenance requirements of the growing stock of motor vehicles. Growth in the number of hospital administrators will result from the need to provide medical care to a growing and aging population. Retail trade and store managers are expected to increase in number because of the growing number of chain operations.

Two occupations projected to grow as fast as average are hotel manager and restaurant, cafe, and bar manager. They will grow because population growth, higher incomes, more leisure time, and an increased proportion of working women all add to the number of people dining out and vacationing. Wholesaler is another occupation expected to grow about as fast as the average.

A few managerial occupations are expected to increase very slowly or even decline between 1982 and 1995. For example, the employment of elementary and secondary school administrators--which is highly dependent on the level of enrollments--is projected to increase more slowly than average. Although the present decline in the school-age population will be reversed in the next few years, enrollments will only be modestly above their 1982 levels by 1995. The employment of postmasters and mail superintendents is expected to decline as postal supervisors assume some of their duties. Captains of water vessels are projected to grow more slowly than average; chief executives, general administrators, and legislators are projected to change little; and funeral directors are projected to decline in number.

Besides those in the above occupations, many managers are in a not-elsewhere-classified group. In all probability, the employment of these managers will change along with the employment of the industries in which they work. Industries are generally divided between the service-producing and the goods-producing. The service-producing industries employ more people and are projected to grow slightly faster between 1982 and 1995. Services--including business, health, and educational services, among others--will account for about one-third of all employment growth over that period. Finance, insurance, and real estate are also projected to grow faster than average. Among the other components of the service-producing sector, trade and transportation, communications, and public utilities are projected to experience average growth, while government is expected to grow more slowly than average.

The goods-producing industries include farming, mining, construction, and manufacturing. The construction industry's rebound from its 1981-82 recession level is expected to be at a much faster than average rate. In addition, building construction and projects are becoming more complex; consequently, more management will be needed to hold down costs and maintain efficiency. The manufacturing sector is projected to experience average growth as it recovers from the recession. Farming is projected to decline, while mining is projected to grow more slowly than average.

How Do You Become a Manager?

Management is not usually an entry-level function. Some people enter management training programs after completing college, but most people who become managers start their careers in other occupations. School administrators often begin as teachers, treasurers begin as accountants, and store managers start out as sales workers.

To be considered for management positions, workers must first prove themselves, showing that they can do their own work. In evaluating candidates, superiors look for determination, confidence, innovativeness, high motivation, and managerial attributes, such as the ability to make sound decisions, to organize and coordinate work efficiently, and to establish good personal relations with other workers.

Potential junior managers may be given occasional supervisory assignments and, shortly before or after assuming full-time supervisory duties, may participate in management seminars and training courses--offered by industry and management associations, consulting firms, and institutions of higher education--lasting from 1 day to several months. Training may also include rotational assignments to other administrative units, plants, or overseas posts; service on boards and committees; and serving as assistants to higher level managers.

A college education has become increasingly important in management jobs. The proportion of managers with 4 or more years of college tripled--from 12 to 36 percent--between 1950 and 1982, as it did for the labor force as a whole. Managers have more schooling--14.2 median years completed in 1982--than all occupations combined--12.7 years. However, there is considerable variation among managers in specific occupations, as shown in table 3. The median ranges from 12.7 years for building managers and superintendents to 18.2 years for elementary and secondary school administrators. On average, self-employed managers--many of whom work in small retail trade establishments--have relatively little formal education; more than 60 percent have only a high school education or less.

In highly technical activities such as engineering, data processing, and complex manufacturing operations, a graduate degree in business management can enhance one's chances for promotion to top-level management positions. Graduates with a master's degree in business administration from a prestigious school can often enter a wide range of industries and many, especially those with previous managerial experience, move up the management hierarchy soon after employment in their new position.

Continuing formal education is also important. Industry sources indicate that many top-level managers complete academic refresher or "catch-up" programs, about 1 year long, at least two or three times during their management careers.

For More Information

General information about managerial functions, training programs, and career development is available from:

American Management Associations Management Information Services (for high school students) or Society for the Advancement of Management (for college students and graduates) 135 West 50th Street New York, N.Y. 10021. National Management Association 2210 Arbor Blvd. Dayton, Ohio 45439.

Specific information may be obtained from the national organizations listed under a number of headings--administration, administrators, directors, executives, management, managers, superintendents, and supervisors--in various encyclopedias or directories of associations, available in public libraries.

For information on educational institutions offering a specialization in business and management, consult directories of institutions of higher learning, available in public libraries.

Consult the Dictionary of Occupational Titles, Fourth Edition, 1977 (U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration), for a detailed description of various managerial jobs. Consult a number of headings--administrator, director, executive, manager, superintendent, and supervisor. A copy of this publication should be available in most public libraries.
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Author:Gartaganis, Arthur
Publication:Occupational Outlook Quarterly
Date:Sep 22, 1984
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