So you want to work in management?

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The purpose of management is to ensure effectiveness, efficiency, and – in the private sector – profitability. Around 4.5 million people work in management jobs in the UK. They are employed by a large range of companies and organisations, involved in many different areas of work. For instance, you could be working in a highly commercial environment where the main focus is to increase profits for the company's shareholders. Many management jobs are in public services or the voluntary sector, where the spotlight is on ensuring value for money.

Whatever the management role, your job is to make the best use of the resources available to meet the expectations of customers, employees and shareholders. There are many resources available to you but the main ones include people, equipment and technology, and money. In addition, you have to take responsibility and be able to make decisions.

What can help me get a management job?

Get as much information and experience of different types of businesses as you can. Check out the businesses that interest you, the products and services they offer, who their customers are, and how they operate and organise their staff. Having some background knowledge can help you decide on the type of work you would like to do in the future. You can gather a lot of this information through work experience and holiday jobs, for instance.

Will I need a degree?

Some employers require a degree for management jobs, but this is not always the case. Many companies and organisations place equal weight on experience, enthusiasm and your ability to develop personal skills and gain further qualifications while in the job.

Increasingly, people are taking a Master of Business Administration (MBA) postgraduate degree to help them prepare for more responsible positions in the business.

However, there's lots of competition for managerial jobs in many areas of work, so if you have a degree – or another qualification such as a Higher National Diploma (HND).

Are managers more likely to be men than women?

No! Nowadays, the number of women managers is rising rapidly. In fact, women are found increasingly in management roles throughout many of the traditionally male-dominated sectors such as construction and engineering.

What about working conditions?

All the people featured in this booklet work normal office hours – usually 36-37 hours a week, although many will work extra when necessary to meet the demands of the business. Generally, you will be working in an office environment, and some managerial positions may involve travelling to meet clients or colleagues at other business locations.

What personal qualities do I need?

You need sound organisational and business practice skills and the ability to manage a budget. Motivating and leading staff, communicating well with then and being involved in their personal training are also very important. You will need to take responsibility for whole projects and the work of staff in your team or department. This means you need a thorough knowledge of your company, its customers, aims and targets.

How much will I earn?

Salaries depend very much on the type of work you're doing, the size of the company or organisation and sometimes where it's located in the UK. Top managers and directors of large national and international companies can earn very high salaries, which often also include bonuses when the company's trading figures have reached or exceeded their targets.

Modified: 16 June 2013

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