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General and Operations Managers

At a Glance

  • Are in charge of running businesses
  • Duties vary by size and type of organization
  • Frequently interact with the public, clients, and coworkers
  • Are responsible for outcomes
  • Usually work long hours
  • Have a bachelor's degree plus work experience

Career summary

General and operations managers oversee the day-to-day activities of a company or organization.

#checked 2/19/15 lh

General and operations managers oversee many parts of an organization's activities. Their goal is to make sure that the company runs efficiently and makes a profit. To do this, managers must:

They manage production by following schedules. Products must also meet standards for quality. Managers ensure the product goes to the correct warehouse or directly to store shelves. They monitor to see how well the product (or service) sells. They make decisions about sales and promotions and may be involved in advertising and marketing.

Managers often hire and train employees. They do this work themselves or work with human resources staff. Depending on the organization, they may be directly responsible for setting work schedules and assigning duties. They may do some direct selling on the sales floor. Some general managers may set up store layouts and products displays.

General and operations managers work with a variety of employees. For example, to set up a budget for a new product line, they may talk with accountants and chief financial officers. They may work with a graphic designer and the marketing manager to develop sales flyers or newspaper ads. In addition, managers also consult with board members about new projects and ideas.

Managers may set up and run programs to decrease the impact of work on the natural environment. This includes recycling, conserving green space, or creating less pollution.

Related careers

This career is part of the Business Management and Administration cluster of careers.

Related careers include:

Military careers

Job duties

Task list

The following list of tasks is specific to general and operations managers.

Common work activities

General and operations managers perform the following tasks. These tasks are common to many careers.

Work requirements

Working conditions

In a typical work setting, general and operations managers:

Interpersonal relationships

Physical work conditions

Work performance


Physical demands

General and operations managers frequently:

It is important for general and operations managers to be able to:

It is not as important, but still necessary, for general and operations managers to be able to:

Skills and abilities

General and operations managers need to:


Reason and problem solve

Manage oneself, people, time, and things

Work with people

Education and training

Educational programs

The programs of study listed below will help you prepare for the occupation or career cluster you are exploring.

Programs of study directly related to this occupation

Other programs of study to consider


To work as a general and operations manager, you typically need to:

Education after high school

General and operations managers typically need to have a bachelor's degree. Most have a degree in areas related to the type of company or agency where they work. For example, an operations manager at a computer hardware company may have a degree in computer science. Some managers have a master's degree in business administration (MBA) or a law degree. This is becoming more common and desirable by employers.

Work experience

While education is important for this occupation, work experience is just as important. You can prepare for this occupation in many different ways. Most general and operations managers gain experience in the type of company or organization that they want to manage.

Some managers begin in entry-level positions, with only a high school diploma or equivalent. As they learn about the company and gain skills, they work their way up. However, this is becoming less common as many employers prefer managers to have a bachelor's degree.

Helpful high school courses

In high school, take classes that prepare you for college. A college preparatory curriculum may be different from your state's graduation requirements.

You should also consider taking some advanced courses in high school. This includes Advanced Placement (AP) and International Baccalaureate (IB) courses if they are available in your school. If you do well in these courses, you may receive college credit for them. Advanced courses can also strengthen your college application.

Helpful electives to take in high school that prepare you for this career include:

The courses listed above are meant to help you create your high school plan. If you have not already done so, talk to a school counselor or parent about the courses you are considering taking.

You should also check with a teacher or counselor to see if work-based learning opportunities are available in your school and community. These might include field trips, job shadowing, internships, and actual work experience. The goal of these activities is to help you connect your school experiences with real-life work.

Join some groups, try some hobbies, or volunteer with an organization that interests you. By participating in activities you can have fun, make new friends, and learn about yourself. Maybe one of them will help direct you to a future career. Here are examples of activities and groups that may be available in your high school or community.

Things to know

Most general and operations managers are hired for their knowledge of the company or industry. They also are recognized for their previous performance as supervisors or lower-level managers. General and operations managers must have highly-developed personal skills. They must have a mind that can quickly assess large quantities of data. They also must be able to figure out what information is most important and how it affects others. General and operations managers must be able to communicate clearly and be able to convince others of their ideas. Many managers are hired from within their company.

Costs to workers

Some workers join professional associations, which may have annual dues. Managers are usually expected to have professional attire. Some must pay for continuing education courses to improve and learn new management skills. Managers who desire certification may have to pay for additional education and testing to become certified.

Job listings

Listed below are links to job categories from the National Labor Exchange that relate to this career. Once you get a list of jobs, you can view information about individual jobs and find out how to apply. If your job search finds too many openings, or if you wish to search for jobs outside of Washington, you will need to refine your search.

To get a listing of current jobs from the WorkSource system, go to the WorkSource website (external link).


General and operations managers (SOC 11-1021)

Pay Period
Washington Hourly $26.66 $36.35 $50.08 $73.91 (1)
Monthly $4,620 $6,299 $8,679 $12,809 (1)
Yearly $55,460 $75,620 $104,160 $153,730 (1)
    Bellingham Hourly $26.19 $33.57 $46.88 $67.38 $95.42
Monthly $4,539 $5,818 $8,124 $11,677 $16,536
Yearly $54,469 $69,814 $97,505 $140,157 $198,480
    Bremerton-Silverdale Hourly $22.75 $35.61 $51.01 $65.75 $92.98
Monthly $3,943 $6,171 $8,840 $11,394 $16,113
Yearly $47,321 $74,061 $106,090 $136,765 $193,390
    Clarkston-Lewiston Hourly $16.64 $22.12 $29.40 $45.61 $61.29
Monthly $2,884 $3,833 $5,095 $7,904 $10,622
Yearly $34,603 $46,005 $61,143 $94,867 $127,494
    Kennewick-Richland Hourly $19.33 $33.66 $50.68 $75.82 (2)
Monthly $3,350 $5,833 $8,783 $13,140 (2)
Yearly $40,208 $70,019 $105,421 $157,708 (2)
    Longview Hourly $27.42 $34.63 $49.92 $72.22 (2)
Monthly $4,752 $6,001 $8,651 $12,516 (2)
Yearly $57,029 $72,018 $103,839 $150,229 (2)
    Mount Vernon-Anacortes Hourly $26.92 $34.90 $45.61 $60.54 $93.14
Monthly $4,665 $6,048 $7,904 $10,492 $16,141
Yearly $55,999 $72,594 $94,871 $125,930 $193,730
    Olympia-Tumwater Hourly $34.41 $39.74 $45.91 $53.51 $69.67
Monthly $5,963 $6,887 $7,956 $9,273 $12,074
Yearly $71,571 $82,639 $95,501 $111,289 $144,928
    Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue Hourly $28.24 $38.87 $56.97 $82.95 (2)
Monthly $4,894 $6,736 $9,873 $14,375 (2)
Yearly $58,722 $80,841 $118,507 $172,527 (2)
    Spokane-Spokane Valley Hourly $25.70 $33.29 $46.64 $66.14 $93.20
Monthly $4,454 $5,769 $8,083 $11,462 $16,152
Yearly $53,447 $69,252 $97,012 $137,568 $193,853
    Vancouver Hourly $21.93 $31.05 $46.99 $74.25 (2)
Monthly $3,800 $5,381 $8,143 $12,868 (2)
Yearly $45,601 $64,595 $97,744 $154,434 (2)
    Walla Walla Hourly $28.03 $32.99 $42.23 $52.90 $75.91
Monthly $4,858 $5,717 $7,318 $9,168 $13,155
Yearly $58,309 $68,615 $87,846 $110,015 $157,892
    Wenatchee Hourly $23.59 $31.17 $42.66 $59.11 $83.99
Monthly $4,088 $5,402 $7,393 $10,244 $14,555
Yearly $49,068 $64,839 $88,730 $122,947 $174,686
    Yakima Hourly $22.08 $29.99 $41.82 $57.45 $98.25
Monthly $3,826 $5,197 $7,247 $9,956 $17,027
Yearly $45,927 $62,381 $86,992 $119,507 $204,347
United States Hourly $21.50 $31.56 $48.52 $75.54 (1)
Monthly $3,726 $5,469 $8,409 $13,091 (1)
Yearly $44,710 $65,650 $100,930 $157,120 (1)

(1) Wages are greater than $90/hour or $187,200/year.
(2) Wage estimate is not available.

In business, pay varies based on the amount of responsibility and how long managers have worked for the firm. It also varies by the type, size, and location of the firm. For example, top managers who work for very large corporations usually earn more than those at small companies.

In addition to pay, managers often receive other perks. They may receive company stocks and yearly bonuses. They may be given company cars and expense accounts. Other benefits include paid medical and insurance plans.

Employment and outlook

Washington outlook

#Between 2014 and 2024, it is estimated that there will be 677 openings annually due to new positions and 1,145 openings annually from workers leaving this career.

#Updated outlook 06.16 sd

The table below provides information about the number of workers in this career in various regions. It also provides information about the expected growth rate and future job openings.

General and Operations Managers (SOC 11-1021)

Location Current employment Growth over 10 years Annual openings
Washington 51,588 16.8% 16.1% 6,239
    Adams, Chelan, Douglas, Grant, and Okanogan Counties 1,422 13.2% 13.4% 160
    Asotin, Columbia, Ferry, Garfield, Lincoln, Pend Oreille, Stevens, Walla Walla, and Whitman Counties 816 10.8% 8.6% 87
    Benton and Franklin Counties 1,581 14.3% 15.0% 181
    Clallam, Jefferson, and Kitsap Counties 1,742 13.1% 11.9% 196
    Clark, Cowlitz, and Wahkiakum Counties 3,042 13.5% 15.2% 345
    Grays Harbor, Lewis, Mason, Pacific, and Thurston Counties 4,879 11.6% 14.1% 530
    Island, San Juan, Skagit, and Whatcom Counties 2,201 14.7% 14.6% 255
    King County 22,607 22.2% 19.6% 3,033
    Kittitas, Klickitat, Skamania, and Yakima Counties 1,649 13.3% 13.8% 186
    Pierce County 3,836 15.6% 15.2% 455
    Snohomish County 3,706 13.5% 12.4% 419
    Spokane County 3,165 14.9% 13.9% 368
United States 2,376,400 6.9% 5.2% 230,000

National employment

General and operations managers work in almost every industry.

Major employers:

National outlook

Demand for general and operations managers will be steady. However, some industries, such as manufacturing, are not growing as fast as others so growth will be limited in those industries.

This is a very large occupation. Many job openings are expected as people retire or leave for other reasons.

Other resources

American Management Association (external link)
Business Professionals of America (external link)
5454 Cleveland Avenue
Columbus, OH 43231
Club Managers Association of America (external link)
1733 King Street
Alexandria, VA 22314
Institute of Certified Professional Managers (external link)
James Madison University, MSC 5504
Harrisonburg, VA 22807
Institute of Financial Operations (external link)
149 Terra Mango Loop, Suite B
Orlando, FL 32835
National Management Association (external link)
3055 Kettering Blvd, Suite 210
Dayton, OH 45439
National Retail Federation (external link)
1101 New York Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20005
US Small Business Administration (external link)
Seattle District Office
2401 Fourth Avenue, Suite 450
Seattle, WA 98121
Washington Business Week (external link)
PO Box 1170
Renton, WA 98057


Career cluster

Career path

O*Net (external link) occupation

O*Net job zone (external link)

DOT occupations

Strong Interest Inventory

Holland occupational cluster