Managers are needed in every type of organisation (first of all, you may want to choose a sector you are interested in - browse through our other career sectors), in both the private and public sectors, as well as in schools, colleges, and charities. They undertake many different activities including:

  • Quality management
  • Facilities management
  • Personnel management
  • Marketing
  • Project management
  • Business continuity
  • Environment and water management
  • Accountancy management

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Jobs and salaries

What do managers do?

According to Peter Drucker, who is widely credited with inventing modern management, a manager:

  • Plans and organises
  • Sets objectives
  • Motivates and communicates
  • Measures business activities
  • Develops people

These responsibilities can be found in the job descriptions of many professionals; good management is therefore recognised as a critically important activity.

Managers work across many sectors, you may find yourself becoming a manager within an area that you have already been working in, or you might move to a new sector as a manager. Both come with their own rewards and challenges - a sector you know might be more difficult to see objectively but it's also good to have some inside knowledge. 

  • Managers salaries vary considerably - get an idea of the average here.

Routes and qualifications

There is no single route into management although the right aptitudes, attitude and qualifications certainly help. Many people move into management from another role, if these sounds like something you would like to do, take a look at these tips from Position Ignition.

The Institute of Leadership & Management provides learning and development opportunities for managers at all levels, as well as professional membership.

To be a manager it’s not always essential to be a member of a professional association or institute, although many managers choose to do so and benefit from the advantages that membership brings. Managers may have additional professional qualifications, although not every manager is a graduate. 

  • The Chartered Quality Institute provides qualifications and professional recognition to Chartered Quality Professional level for quality management, assurance and improvement professionals across the private, public and third sectors. 
  • The British Institute of Facilities Management (BIFM) is committed to helping people develop a career in a fast growing business area and offers specialist qualifications at different levels. Details of the qualifications can be found here. BIFM also provides insights into the career profiles and backgrounds of some of its members.
  • It’s possible to become a Chartered Manager. Take a look at qualifications from the Chartered Management Institute (CMI).
  • An alternative route to management qualification can be found through the Association of Business Executives (ABE). ABE offers a range of progressive and flexible business and management qualifications at Certificate, Diploma, Advanced Diploma and, in the case of the Business Management programme, Postgraduate Diploma level (Levels, 3, 5, 6 and 7 respectively). You can read about these courses here.
  • The Association for Project Management (APM) also has a range of specialist management qualifications and all their qualifications, apart from the Certificated Project Manager qualification, are delivered through APM Accredited Training Providers. Click here for more information.
  • Check out the management qualifications offered by Association of Business Executives.

Browse through the professional bodies listed under Management in our Profession Finder, to get an idea of the areas you could go into as a manager, and the qualifications and support offered by those bodies.

Funding and support

Initial managerial qualifications can be part of further education programmes and therefore for young people can be attained free of charge.

Higher managerial qualifications are taught at universities and colleges for which you should check out the pages on student finance from, and/or contact the funding or careers departments of the organisations you are considering training with.

Beyond university other managerial qualifications are available that your employer might sponsor you to study.

What's it really like working in this sector?

Take a look at our career videos from people already working in this sector to get an idea. We also have case studies from three young people that have entered a career in management from various backgrounds.

  • Managers often have to work long hours
  • Managerial roles usually mean greater responsibilities and higher expectations from employers
  • Managerial roles usually command higher salaries, but greater workloads may bring additional stresses and strains
  • Managerial responsibilities usually mean responsibility for managing the performance of other people
  • Managers are usually paid a monthly salary rather than a weekly wage
  • Management usually goes hand in hand with leadership, if this appeals to you - go for it
  • It can be a very rewarding occupation

The British Institute of Facilities Management (BIFM) provides insights into the career profiles and backgrounds of some of their members. 

The Chartered Institute of Marketing has launched “Getin2Marketing” which offers a wealth of information to those thinking about marketing as a career. 

How many jobs are there in management?

According to official statistics around 4.5m people in the UK regard themselves as managers or working at an equivalent level.

Location, location, location

Virtually anywhere - from an oil rig in the North Sea to a hotel on the Isles of Scilly. Every business, large or small, needs management.

Will a career in management suit me?

With many different sectors recruiting managers it’s difficult to be precise but the following are likely to be universally applicable to a greater or lesser extent.

As managers typically:

  • Plan and organise
  • Set objectives
  • Motivate and communicate
  • Measure business activities
  • Develop other people (and themselves)

So the skills and attributes managers are likely to need include:

  • A good level of general education, qualifications help
  • A logical, planful approach to work
  • Self-discipline and self-management
  • Time management skills
  • Communication skills, both written and oral
  • Numeracy skills
  • Influencing skills
  • Leadership skills as well as the ability to work in a team
  • Commercial awareness/acumen
  • A willingness to take on responsibility and accountability
  • High levels of honesty and integrity