Office Managers are sometimes known by other titles, such as administrative services manager, office coordinator, office assistant, or administrative support manager. As the position of office manager is not exclusive to a certain industry and is a very common role in businesses of many types, it is a very stable field. There are a variety of career paths that can lead to promotion into the office manager position, such as administrative assistant, secretary, or office assistant. Common promotions for office manager include executive assistant/executive support or human resources positions.
Office Manager Job Responsibilities
An office manager makes sure that all functions of an office are being coordinated and that office needs are being fulfilled. This role differs varies based on the size of the company but may include coordinating office moves (including internal changes), hiring and training office support staff, and alerting management to potential issues. The office manager also typically acts as the lead resource for administrative and secretarial support, and may also train personnel in these roles. In smaller companies the office assistant may also serve as backup to these roles during vacation or other time off, so knowing how to do perform the tasks involved in these roles may be essential.
An office manager may also be in charge of administrative tasks such as photocopying and creating binders or materials, faxing, coordinating meetings, mailing packages, ordering office supplies, maintaining the company’s filing system, and more. Personality traits for an office manager include excellent communication skills, leadership abilities, organizational skills, an ability to resolve problems, and a pleasant, resourceful demeanor that gets along well with a wide variety of personalities. The office manager typically works with many if not all departments of a company and may have to resolve problems for all of these departments, assisting employees from a wide variety of roles.
Office Manager Training and Education Requirements
Typical training for this position involves holding positions such as secretary, administrative assistant, or office assistant. Knowledge of the company’s industry and internal work flow, processes, and paperwork are also typically considered important to the role. A good familiarity with common computer office applications (such as Microsoft Office Suite) and other common software (use of the internet, browsers, email) and basic office equipment (multi-line phone, photocopier, fax, postage machine) is highly advisable.
Though most skills can be learned on the job and a high school diploma may be suitable to obtain an office manager position (particularly when obtained via promotion within the same company), an associate’s degree may be preferred by some companies and an associate’s or bachelor’s degree may be necessary for promotions beyond this position. Industries of a more technical nature may require advanced degrees for office managers, depending upon the specific duties of the position. Degree types that may be helpful include management, construction, business administration, accounting, or human resources.
Office Manager Salary and Wages
The current typical hourly rate for an office manager is $24.04, with an average annual wage of $49,990. As of May 2009, the top 10% of the profession earned $76,100 whereas the bottom 10% clocked in at $28,400. Some of the top wage-earners can be found in the postal service, computer manufacturing, aerospace, and energy fields. Advancement potential is increased in larger companies with a larger administrative/executive staff, where there is a larger number of suitable positions. Common industries with large administrative staffs include health care, government (federal or local), education, and financial services. Even when companies downsize, this position is typically considered necessary and enjoys relative stability and even growth; office manager positions are expected to grow at a rate of 11% between 2008 and 2018, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. In 2008, the field included about 259,400 jobs within the United States.*
*According to the BLS, http://www.bls.gov/oco/
Office Manager Certifications
Certifications which may give an edge to prospective office managers are offered by the IFMA, or International Facility Management Association. Two such certifications include FMP (Facility Management Professional) or CFM (Certified Facility Manager). To obtain these certifications, applicants are required to have had some form of post secondary education within the past five years.
Some community colleges or technical schools offer office manager certificates, which typically take 60 hours of instruction to earn, and include business etiquette and communication/writing, planning, and computer/administrative skills. There may be some prerequisites for the class, such as basic computer skills, including word processing skills and the ability to create a basic spreadsheet.
Office Manager Professional Associations
In addition to providing certifications, the IFMA is a worldwide association of facility managers which provides resources and publications to office managers and related professions. There are branches throughout the world or interested parties may also join online.
APOM, the Association of Professional Office Managers, is an organization devoted to promoting excellence in office management. Member services include software, directories, training/certification, job postings, coupons/discounts, a members’ magazine, and other resources. Membership is free for charitable organizations.