Administrative services managers -- who work throughout private industry and government -- coordinate and direct supportive services such as secretarial and correspondence; conference planning and travel; information processing; personnel and financial records processing; communication; mail; materials scheduling and distribution; printing and reproduction; personal property procurement, supply, and disposal; data processing; library; food; and transportation. They work within the same managerial hierarchy as other managers. Supervisory level administrative services managers report to their mid-level counterparts who, in turn, report to proprietors or top-level managers.
Supervisory level managers directly oversee supervisors or staffs involved in supportive services. Mid-level administrative services managers develop overall plans, set goals and deadlines, develop procedures to direct and improve supportive services, define supervisory level managers' responsibilities, and delegate authority. They are generally found in larger firms. Administrative services managers often are involved in the hiring and dismissal of employees but generally have no role in the formulation of policy.
In small firms, one administrative services manager may oversee all supportive services. As the size of the firm increases, however, administrative services managers increasingly specialize in one or more of these activities. In some firms, supportive services may be directed by other managers and supervisors. For example, administrative services managers may work as office managers, overseeing supervisors of large clerical staffs. In small firms, clerical supervisors perform this function. Administrative services managers also work as contract administrators, directing contract development related to the purchase or sale of equipment, materials, supplies, products, or services. However, procurement functions are generally directed by purchasing agents and managers. Property management id divided into the management and use of personal property such as materials and supplies, an administrative services management function, and real property management, a function of property and real estate managers. In small firms, the allocation, use, and security of building space also in an administrative services management function, but is often the responsibility of facilities managers in larger companies.
Other administrative services managers are engaged in surplus property disposal, an increasingly important source of revenue, while others oversee unclaimed property disposal. IN State, government, these activities include locating owners of unclaimed liquid assets -- such as stocks, bonds, savings accounts, and the contents of safe deposit boxes - - and in local government, locating owners or auctioning off unclaimed personal property - - such as motor vehicles.
Administrative services managers generally work in comfortable offices. However, in small firms, these managers may work alongside the supervisors and staffs they oversee, and the office area may be crowded and noisy. Since their duties involve a wide range of activities, they must maintain regular contact with personnel in other departments. Their work can be stressful, as they attempt to schedule work to meet deadlines. Although the 40-hour week is standard, uncompensated overtime is often required to resolve problems. Managers involved in personal property procurement, utilization,a nd disposal may travel extensively between home offices, branch offices, vendors' offices, and property sales sites.
Administrative services managers held about 219,000 jobs in 1990 and were found in virtually every industry. Industries employing the largest numbers include local government, miscellaneous career services -- primarily management consulting firms -- educational institutions, banks, social services establishments, and hospitals. A few run their own management consulting or management services firms.
Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement
Most administrative services managers advance through the ranks in an organization, acquiring several years; work experience in various administrative services before assuming supervisory duties. For example, managers who oversee clerical supervisors should be familiar with office procedures and equipment and have a working knowledge of word processing, communications, data processing, and recordkeeping. Managers of personal property acquisition and disposal need experience in purchasing and sales and knowledge of a wide variety of supplies, machinery, and equipment. Managers concerned with supply, inventory, and distribution must 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 claims analysis and records management.
For supervisory level administrative services managers of secretarial, mail room, and related administrative support activities, many employers prefer an associate of arts degree in career or management, although a high school diploma may suffice. For managers of audiovisual, graphics, and other more technical activities, post-secondary technical school training is preferred. For managers of highly complex services such as contract adminstration, a bachelor's degree, preferably in career administration, is usually required. The curriculum should include courses in office technology, accounting, career mathematics, computer applications, and career law. Whatever the administrative services duties, a manager's educational background must be accompanied by work experience reflecting demonstrated ability.
Persons interested in becoming administrative services managers should be able to communicate and establish effective working relationships with many different people -- managers, supervisors, professionals, clerks, and blue-collar workers. They should be analytical detail-oriented, flexible, and decisive. The ability to coordinate several activities and to quickly analyze and resolve specific problems is important. Ability to work under stress and cope with deadlines is also important.
Advancement is easier in large firms that employ several levels of administrative services managers. A bachelor's degree enhances a supervisory 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 -- in one's own or a larger firm. Those with the required capital and experience can establish their own management consulting or management services firm.
Employment of administrative services managers is expected to increase faster than the average for all occupations through the year 2000, as the number of large firms -- where these managers are generally found -- increases. The need to reduce administrative costs by improving the efficiency of operations should spur demand for these managers. In addition, the increasing emphasis on the sale of surplus property to raise revenue should add to the rapid employment growth of administrative services managers.
As in the case of other managerial jobs, the ample supply of competent, experienced workers seeking advancement should result in competition for administrative services management positions.
In 1990, most administrative services managers earned between $21,200 and $74,200, according to the limited data available. Earnings vary substantially depending upon the managerial level, size of firm, and industry. In government, salaries at the Federal and State levels were generally higher than those at the local level.
Similar to other managers, administrative services managers typically receive a range of fringe benefits such as vacation and sick leave, health and life insurance, and pension plans, among others.
Administrative services managers direct and coordinate supportive services and oversee the purchase, use, and disposal of personal property. Occupations with similar functions include administrative assistants, appraisers, buyers, clerical supervisors, contract specialists, cost estimators, procurement services managers, project directors, property and real estate managers, purchasing managers, and sales managers.
Sources of Additional Information
Information about careers in administrative and office services management is available from:
Administrative Management Society, 4622 Street Rd., Trevose, PA 19047.
For information about careers in personal property utilization management, contact:
National Property Management Association, Suite 105, 16418 West Sixth Ave., Boulder, CO 80401.
Information about careers in contract administration is available from: National Contract Management Association, 1912 Woodford Rd., Vienna, VA 22180.
For information about careers in facilities management, contact:
International Facilities Management Association, Summit Tower, Suite 1410, Greenway Plaza, Houston, TX 77046.