Administrative Services & Facility Managers

Nature of the Work | Working Conditions | Employment | Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement | Job Outlook | Earnings | Related Occupations | Sources of Additional Information

Significant Points

  • Administrative services and facility managers work in private industry and government and have varied responsibilities, experience, earnings, and education.
  • Despite projected employment growth, especially among facility managers, competition should remain keen due to the substantial supply of competent, experienced workers seeking managerial jobs.

Nature of the Work [About this section]  Index

Administrative services and facility managers perform a broad range of duties in virtually every sector of the economy. Administrative services managers, for example, coordinate and direct support services to organizations as diverse as insurance companies, computer manufacturers, and government offices. These workers manage the many services that allow organizations to operate efficiently, such as secretarial and reception; administration; payroll; conference planning and travel; information and data processing; mail; materials scheduling and distribution; printing and reproduction; records management; telecommunications management; personal property procurement, supply, and disposal; security; and parking.

Specific duties for these managers vary by degree of responsibility and authority. First-line administrative services managers directly supervise a staff that performs various support services. Mid-level managers, on the other hand, develop departmental plans, set goals and deadlines, implement procedures to improve productivity and customer service, and define the responsibilities of supervisory-level managers. Some mid-level administrative services managers oversee first-line supervisors from various departments, including the clerical staff. Mid-level managers also may be involved in the hiring and dismissal of employees, but they generally have no role in the formulation of personnel policy. Some of these managers advance to upper-level positions such as vice president of administrative services, which are discussed in the Handbook statement on general managers and top executives.

In small organizations, a single administrative services manager may oversee all support services. In larger ones, however, first-line administrative services managers often report to mid-level managers who, in turn, report to owners or top-level managers. As the size of the firm increases, administrative services managers are more likely to specialize in specific support activities. For example, some administrative services managers work primarily as office managers, contract administrators, or unclaimed property officers. In many cases, the duties of these administrative services managers are similar to those of other managers and supervisors, some of whom are discussed in other Handbook statements.

Because of the range of administrative services required by organizations, the nature of many of these managers’ jobs also varies significantly. Administrative services managers who work as contract administrators, for instance, oversee the preparation, analysis, negotiation, and review of contracts related to the purchase or sale of equipment, materials, supplies, products, or services. In addition, some administrative services managers acquire, distribute, and store supplies; while others dispose of surplus property or oversee the disposal of unclaimed property.

Facility managers are assigned a wide range of tasks in planning, designing, and managing facilities. They are responsible for coordinating the physical workplace with the people and work of an organization. This task requires integrating the principles of business administration, architecture, as well as the behavioral and engineering sciences. Although the specific tasks assigned to facility managers vary substantially depending on the organization, the duties fall into several categories. They include operations and maintenance, real estate, project planning and management, communication, finance, quality assessment, facility function, and human and environmental factors. Tasks within these broad categories may include space and workplace planning, budgeting, the purchase and sale of real estate, lease management, renovations, or architectural planning and design. Facility managers may suggest and oversee renovation projects for a variety of reasons, ranging from improving efficiency to ensuring that facilities meet government regulations and environmental, health, and security standards. Additionally, facility managers continually monitor the facility to ensure that it remains safe, secure, and well-maintained. Often, the facility manager is responsible for directing staff including maintenance, grounds, and custodial workers.

Working Conditions [About this section]  Index

Administrative services and facility managers generally work in comfortable offices. However, managers involved in contract administration and personal property procurement, use, and disposal may travel extensively between their home office, branch offices, vendors’ offices, and property sales sites. Also, facility managers who are responsible for the design of workspaces may spend time at construction sites and may travel between different facilities while monitoring the work of maintenance, grounds, and custodial staffs.

Most administrative services and facility managers work a standard 40-hour week. However, uncompensated overtime is often required to resolve problems and meet deadlines. Facility managers are often on call to address a variety of problems that can arise in a facility during non-work hours. Because of frequent deadlines and the challenges of managing staff and resources, the work of administrative services and facility managers can be stressful.

Employment [About this section]  Index

Administrative services and facility managers held about 364,000 jobs in 1998. Over half worked in service industries, including management, business, social, and health services. The remaining workers were widely dispersed throughout the economy.

Training, Other Qualifications, & Advancement [About this section]  Index

Educational requirements for these managers vary widely, depending on the size and complexity of the organization. In small organizations, experience may be the only requirement needed to enter a position as office manager. When an opening in administrative services management occurs, the office manager may be promoted to the position based on past performance. In large organizations, however, administrative services managers are normally hired from outside and each position has formal education and experience requirements. Some administrative services managers have advanced degrees.

Specific requirements vary by job responsibility. For first-line administrative services managers of secretarial, mailroom, and related support activities, many employers prefer an associate degree in business or management, although a high school diploma may suffice when combined with appropriate experience. For managers of audiovisual, graphics, and other technical activities, postsecondary technical school training is preferred. Managers of highly complex services such as contract administration generally need a bachelor’s degree in business, human resources, or finance. Regardless of major, the curriculum should include courses in office technology, accounting, business mathematics, computer applications, human resources, and business law. Most facility managers have an undergraduate or graduate degree in engineering, architecture, business administration, or facility management. Many have a background in real estate, construction or interior design, in addition to managerial experience. Whatever the manager’s educational background, it must be accompanied by related work experience reflecting demonstrated ability. For this reason, many administrative services managers have advanced through the ranks of their organization, acquiring work experience in various administrative positions before assuming first-line supervisory duties. All managers who oversee departmental supervisors should be familiar with office procedures and equipment. Managers of personal property acquisition and disposal need experience in purchasing and sales, and knowledge of a variety of supplies, machinery, and equipment. Managers concerned with supply, inventory, and distribution should be experienced in receiving, warehousing, packaging, shipping, transportation, and related operations. Contract administrators may have worked as contract specialists, cost analysts, or procurement specialists. Managers of unclaimed property often have experience in insurance claims analysis and records management.

Persons interested in becoming administrative services or facility managers should have good communication skills and be able to establish effective working relationships with many different people, ranging from managers, supervisors, and professionals, to clerks and blue-collar workers. They should be analytical, detail oriented, flexible, and decisive. The ability to coordinate several activities at once, quickly analyze and resolve specific problems, and cope with deadlines is also important.

Most administrative services managers in small organizations advance by moving to other management positions or to a larger organization. Advancement is easier in large firms that employ several levels of administrative services managers. Attainment of the Certified Administrative Manager (CAM) designation offered by the Institute of Certified Professional Managers through work experience and successful completion of examinations can increase a manager’s advancement potential. In addition, a bachelor’s degree enhances a first-level manager’s opportunities to advance to a mid-level management position, such as director of administrative services, and eventually to a top-level management position, such as executive vice president for administrative services. Those with the required capital and experience can establish their own management consulting firm.

Advancement of facility managers is based on the practices and size of individual companies. Some facility managers transfer from other departments within the organization or work their way up from technical positions. Others advance through a progression of facility management positions that offer additional responsibilities. Completion of the competency-based professional certification program offered by the International Facility Management Association can give prospective candidates an advantage. In order to qualify for this Certified Facility Manager (CFM) designation, applicants must meet certain educational and experience requirements.

Job Outlook [About this section]  Index

Employment of administrative services and facility managers is expected to grow about as fast as the average for all occupations through 2008. Demand should be especially strong for facility managers, and for administrative services managers in management services and management consulting as public and private organizations continue to contract out and streamline administrative services in an effort to cut costs. Many additional job openings will stem from the need to replace workers who transfer to other jobs, retire, or stop working for other reasons. Nevertheless, competition should remain keen due to the large number of competent, experienced workers seeking managerial jobs.

Continuing corporate restructuring and increasing utilization of office technology should result in a flatter organizational structure with fewer levels of the management, reducing the need for some middle management positions. This should adversely affect administrative services managers who oversee first-line mangers. Because many administrative managers have a variety of functions, however, the effects of these changes on employment should be less severe than for other middle managers who specialize in certain functions.

Earnings [About this section]  Index

Earnings of administrative services and facility managers vary greatly depending on their employer, specialty, and geographic area in which they work. In general, however, median annual earnings of administrative services and facility managers in 1998 were $44,370. The middle 50 percent earned between $31,980 and $68,840. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $24,100, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $89,850. Median annual earnings in the industries employing the largest numbers of these workers in 1997 are shown below:

Hospitals $49,000
Commercial banks 47,500
Colleges and universities 44,500
Local government, except education and hospitals 40,900
Management and public relations 36,900

In the Federal Government, contract specialists in nonsupervisory, supervisory, and managerial positions averaged $55,300 a year in early 1999; facilities managers, $53,100; industrial property managers, $52,100; property disposal specialists, $48,000; administrative officers, $53,100, and support services administrators, $43,900.

According to the International Facility Management Association, facility managers had annual earnings of approximately $66,000 in 1998. Entry level positions in facility management offered salaries ranging from $27,000 to $42,000 a year. However, facility directors can earn more than $80,000 per year, and top facility executives can earn in excess of $160,000. These salaries vary depending on level of education, exact position, company size, and geographic location.

Related Occupations [About this section]  Index

Administrative services and facility managers direct and coordinate support services and oversee the purchase, use, and disposal of personal property. Occupations with similar functions include appraisers, buyers, office and administrative support supervisors, contract specialists, cost estimators, procurement services managers, property and real estate managers, purchasing managers, and personnel managers.

Sources of Additional Information [About this section]  Index

Disclaimer: Links to other Internet sites are provided for your convenience and do not constitute an endorsement.

For information about careers in facility management, facility management education and degree programs, as well as the Certified Facility Manager (CFM) designation, contact:

  • International Facility Management Association, 1 East Greenway Plaza, Suite 1100, Houston, TX 77046-0194. Internet: http://www.ifma.org

General information regarding facility management and a list of facility management educational and degree programs may be obtained from:

  • The Association of Higher Education Facilities Officers, 1643 Prince St., Alexandria, VA 22314-2818. Internet: http://www.appa.org

For information about the Certified Administrative Manager designation, contact:

  • Institute of Certified Professional Managers, James Madison University, College of Business, Harrisonburg, VA 22807.

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