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General Managers

General managers plan, oversee and coordinate the operations of businesses and organizations. They also formulate policies. General managers often have overall responsibility for a company or an organization. A general manager oversees all the departments. They achieve their objectives by directing employees. They should be skilled at hiring effective middle managers.

Those in general management positions oversee the cost and revenue aspects of a company. They also direct strategic planning functions. General managers take directions from top executives.

A general manager needs to organize divisions or departments in order for employees to know precisely their role in the company. They also need a thorough understanding of the activities of each department.

Presidents and chief executive officers are basically the general manager of their business. Those with job titles such as managing director, product manager, segment manager, regional vice president and branch manager also have general management responsibilities.

Some companies provide the title of general manager to employees in charge of separate operating units, such as one store of a department store chain. In consumer product businesses, general managers are sometimes called brand manager or category manager.

In professional services companies, a general manager might be given a title such as managing director, managing partner or senior partner. General managers are often called executive director in non-profit enterprises. Other job titles are plant manager, plant superintendent, store manager and warehouse manager.


  • Direct the activities of all the departments
  • Determine if the company has reached its goals
  • Manage activities of producing products or providing services
  • Evaluate sales and activity reports and financial statements
  • Determine areas that need program improvement and cost reduction
  • Manage staff and assign specific tasks
  • Oversee a company's financial and budget activities
  • Establish and implement objectives, policies and procedures
  • Determine goods and services to be offered
  • Write reports for senior executives

Job Characteristics

General managers are usually provided with comfortable offices. General managers work at least 40 hours per week. They often work overtime. Travel is often part of the job primarily due to traveling to the head office or to meet with managers from other divisions.

A general manager should have strong communication, interpersonal and motivational skills. Strong administration and management abilities are important. They should be good at problem solving, be detailed oriented and effective at delegating responsibility. They need to have good judgement to make good decisions. Being an effective leader is a vital part of the occupation.

Employment Outlook

Salaries for general managers vary greatly, however, in 2008 the median annual wage for general managers was $91,570. Most general managers receive stock options and/or bonuses. Employment of general managers is forecasted to grow as fast as average for all occupations through 2014. Those in general management positions often move up to top executive positions. They may also be hired as general managers by larger companies.

Education, Certification, and Licensing

The education requirements for general managers vary depending on the type of business. Employers usually prefer general managers to have at least a bachelor's degree in business administration or an appropriate subject. Some companies prefer a master's degree in business administration. However, occasionally employees move up to general manager positions without a college degree. Useful college courses include accounting, management, industrial relations and finance.

Many businesses provide executive training programs. Typically, personnel at college placement offices can help graduating students connect with organizations that have executive training programs. The most important qualification of a general manager candidate is proven success in lower management positions. Often general manager positions are filled by company employees, however sometimes the job is filled from outside the company.


Major Employers

The major employers include private companies, nonprofit institutions, public sector organizations, building equipment contractors, and architectural, engineering and related services. Other major employers are manufacturing industries; professional, scientific and technical services, government and retail trade.

Schools for General Managers are listed in the Browse Schools Section.

Metro Areas Sorted by Total Employment for
General Managers

Listed below are the 10 largest metro areas based on the total number of people employed in General Managers jobs , as of 2016

Metro Area Total Employment Annual Mean Salary
Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim 99,260 $138,890
Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell 60,130 $124,590
Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington 50,040 $140,670
Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land 47,800 $150,920
San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward 40,510 $153,320
Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale 32,210 $103,090
Detroit-Warren-Dearborn 28,500 $126,900
Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue 26,360 $132,710
Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach 25,040 $140,210
Denver-Aurora-Lakewood 25,030 $142,380

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Total employment and salary for professions similar to general managers

Career Stories (Job Profiles) for General Managers

To find out more about building a career as General Managers, we spoke with professionals in the field across a variety of specialties. Learn about their experiences on the job, the steps they took to complete their education, and what it takes to excel in this industry. Click the link to see a story.

All Types

Source : 2016 Occupational Employment Statistics, Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, BLS.gov

Most Popular Industries for
General Managers

These industries represent at least 1% of the total number of people employed in this occupation.

Industry Total Employment Percent Annual Median Salary
Professional And Technical Services 155,920 9% $128,290
Office Services And Staffing 108,480 6% $79,620
Government 94,320 5% $86,940
Durable Goods Wholesale 79,150 4% $100,920
Construction Trades 74,790 4% $89,080
Business Management 67,100 3% $113,690
Restaurant 52,690 3% $58,870
Banking And Credit 50,820 2% $94,310
Education 46,980 2% $86,120
Non-durable Goods Wholesale 43,220 2% $98,880
Non-profit 39,010 2% $88,120
Insurance 38,230 2% $118,320
Medical Office 36,300 2% $79,940
Auto And Auto Parts Dealers 35,740 2% $96,130
Grocery Stores 33,130 1% $65,420
Construction 32,620 1% $101,910
Metal Products 29,960 1% $97,780
Social Service 25,600 1% $65,620
Real Estate 24,970 1% $100,360
Department And General Stores 24,400 1% $71,210
Hardware And Garden Stores 24,020 1% $72,850
Maintenance And Repair 22,900 1% $77,800
Amusement Gambling And Recreation 21,650 1% $68,660
Nursing And Residential Care 21,390 1% $72,430
Online Wholesale 19,510 1% $107,090
Machinery 19,100 1% $108,560
Electronics And Computer 18,540 1% $129,230
Hospital 18,290 1% $90,200
Civil Engineering 17,650 1% $102,790
Traditional Publishing 17,230 1% $118,360
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We have some additional detailed pages at the state level for General Managers.

Numbers in parentheses are counts of relevant campus-based schools in the state; online schools may also be available.

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