What Are Management Jobs?

Definition & Examples of Management Jobs

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Management jobs require overseeing the work of other employees, and exact duties can vary across industries and companies.

Learn more about what management jobs are, the kinds that exist, and how to get one.

What Are Management Jobs?

Management jobs offer some of the most direct ways to take on more responsibility in many companies. People in management jobs focus on one thing: They manage the people below them to ensure that the work is being done properly.

There are management jobs in every profession and every industry, in large and small companies, and in nonprofit and for-profit organizations. Someone has to be in charge and provide oversight and direction to staff, no matter the size of the company.

The median annual wage for management jobs in the U.S. in 2019 was $105,660.

How Management Jobs Work

The simplest way to understand what differentiates a management job from a non-managerial one is to look at the daily tasks of employees. In general, management jobs are positions in which your job responsibility is to accomplish tasks through the work of others, rather than by doing the work yourself.

For example, a production manager at a factory does not operate one of the machines even though they may be better at that task than some of the machine operators. A software development manager does not write lines of code even though they are capable of that task. That's because they're in management positions.

Think about a team leader, a lead iron welder, or a senior programmer. These are all positions that rank on an upper level in their area, but they're not considered management positions. There may be times when they manage other people, but they're doing mostly the same work as the other workers in their group.

Becoming a manager isn't merely doing your old job with a few direct reports and a better salary. It involves a different skill set and approach to your work.

How to Get Management Jobs

To get a management job, you generally have to demonstrate two key things. First, you usually need to have a mastery of the tasks that are done by the group you will manage. More importantly, you must be able to demonstrate an ability to manage and motivate people.

That second skill set can be challenging to develop when you're not working in a management role. You have to learn to think like a manager even before you have the title. This is the age-old conundrum. Like most other jobs, no one wants to give you that first management job unless you have experience, but you can't get experience if no one will give your first job.

You can, however, focus on developing people skills, learning about management, and doing your job well. If you persist in these efforts and demonstrate initiative in leadership, you're likely to be considered for a promotion to management.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics expects management jobs to grow 7% from 2018 to 2028, which is faster than the average for all occupations.

Like a first management job, you can qualify for a higher management position by demonstrating your ability to handle the position you already hold. That means your first priority should be to excel in your current role.

Beyond that, you need to recognize that at each escalating level of responsibility, you are competing with more candidates for fewer management positions. In a large company, for example, there may be many first-line managers, but there will only be one manager in charge of all employees: the CEO. This means that you'll have to sharpen your focus on your own professional and career development in order to stand out.

As you pursue your management career, it's important to learn to help others excel at their jobs. Often, the most effective managers are those who focus on lifting others up along the way and who are always willing to learn from others.

Key Takeaways

  • People in management jobs oversee the work of other employees.
  • Management jobs are available across industries and companies, but exact duties vary.
  • To become a manager, you generally have to demonstrate proficiency in the tasks the employees are performing and the ability to supervise and motivate people.