General managers plan, direct, and coordinate the operational activities of companies or organisations.
What does a General Manager do?
General managers devise strategies and policies to ensure that an organisation, division or department meets its goals. They plan, direct, and coordinate operational activities of companies and organisations.
As a general manager, you would:
- direct or coordinate an organisation's or division’s activities to fund operations, maximise investments, or increase efficiency
- appoint managers and assign or delegate responsibilities to them
- analyse operations to evaluate performance of your company or division in meeting objectives or to determine areas of potential cost reduction, program improvement, or policy change
- prepare budgets for approval, including those for funding or implementation of programs
- confer with other general managers, chief executives or staff members to discuss issues, coordinate activities, or resolve problems.
Key skills and interests
To become a general manager, you would need:
- good oral and written communication skills
- good organisational and time management skills
- the ability to work under pressure
- leadership skills
- analytical and problem-solving skills
- good understanding of how businesses should function
- an interest in people, processes and resource management.
Working hours and conditions
General managers often work long hours, including evenings and weekends. Travel is common.
General managers work in nearly every industry. They work for large and small businesses, ranging from one-person companies to firms with thousands of employees.
How to become an General Manager?
Entry Level Education
You can work as a general manager without formal qualifications. However, you will usually need a minimum of five years of experience at a managerial level to then become a general maanger. Skills are usually developed through on-the-job training or in-house courses following recruitment by a company and advancement to supervisory and management positions.
Your employment prospects may be improved if you have a degree in business, management or another area that is relevant to your organisation's area of business (engineering, for example) followed by a postgraduate qualification in business administration or management. To get into the degree courses you usually need to gain your senior secondary school certificate or equivalent. Entry to postgraduate courses usually requires completion of an appropriate bachelor’s degree.
Employment of general managers is projected to grow about as fast as the average for all occupations.
Employment growth will vary widely by industry and is largely dependent on the rate of industry growth.
Generally, employment growth will be driven by the formation of new organisations and expansion of existing ones, which will require more managers and executives to direct these operations.