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Administrative services managers are employed throughout private industry and government, and their range of duties is broad. They coordinate and direct support services, which may include: Secretarial and reception; administration; payroll; conference planning and travel; information and data processing; mail; facilities management; materials scheduling and distribution; printing and reproduction; records management; telecommunications management; personal property procurement, supply, and disposal; security; and parking.
In small organizations, a single administrative services manager may oversee all support services. In larger ones, however, first-line managers report to their mid-level superiors who, in turn, report to proprietors or top-level managers. These upper-level managers, such as vice president of administrative services, are included in the Handbook statement on general managers and top executives.
First-line administrative services managers directly oversee staffs involved in various support services. Mid-level managers develop departmental plans, set goals and deadlines, develop procedures to improve productivity and customer service, and define the responsibilities of supervisory-level managers. They often are involved in the hiring and dismissal of employees but generally have no role in the formulation of personnel policy.
As the size of the firm increases, administrative services managers are more likely to specialize in one or more support activities. For example, some administrative services managers work primarily as facilities managers, office managers, contract administrators, property managers, or unclaimed property officers. In many cases, the duties of these administrative services managers are quite similar to those of other managers and supervisors, some of whom are discussed in other Handbook statements.
Administrative services managers who specialize in facilities management may engage in facilities planning, including the buying, selling, or leasing of facilities; redesign work areas to be more efficient and ergonomic (user-friendly); ensure that facilities comply with government regulations; and supervise maintenance, grounds, and custodial staffs. In some firms, they are called facilities managers.
Some mid-level administrative services managers work as office managers and oversee first-line supervisors from various departments, including the clerical staff. In small firms, however, clerical supervisors, who are discussed in the Handbook statement on clerical supervisors and managers, perform this function. Administrative services managers who work as contract administrators direct the preparation, analysis, negotiation, and review of contracts related to the purchase or sale of equipment, materials, supplies, products, or services. However, procurement functions are generally directed by purchasers and buyers, also discussed in a separate Handbook statement.
Property management is divided into the management and use of personal property such as office supplies, an administrative services management function, and real property management, which is a function of property and real estate managers, who are discussed elsewhere in the Handbook. Personal property managers acquire, distribute, and store supplies, and may sell or dispose of surplus property. Other property managers are engaged solely in surplus property disposal, which involves the resale of scraps, rejects, and surplus or unneeded supplies and machinery. This is an increasingly important source of revenue for many commercial organizations. In government, surplus property officers may receive surplus from various departments and agencies, and then sell or dispose of it to the public or other agencies.
Some administrative services managers oversee unclaimed property disposal. In government, this activity may entail auctioning off unclaimed liquid assets, such as stocks, bonds, savings accounts, and the contents of safe deposit boxes, or personal property, such as motor vehicles, after attempts to locate owners have failed.
Administrative services managers generally work in comfortable offices. In smaller firms, where they may work alongside the people they supervise, the office may be crowded and noisy.
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 contract administration and personal property procurement, use, and disposal may travel extensively between home offices, branch offices, vendors' offices, and property sales sites. Facilities managers who are responsible for the design of work spaces often must spend time at construction sites. Facilities managers also may monitor the work of maintenance, grounds, and custodial staffs, and travel between different facilities.
Administrative services managers held about 279,000 jobs in 1994. Over two-fifths worked in services industries, including management, business, social, and health services organizations. Others were found in virtually every other industry. A few run their own management services, management consulting, or facilities support services firms.
Many administrative services managers advance through the ranks in an organization, acquiring several years' 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. Those who supervise clerical supervisors must have a working knowledge of word processing, communications, data processing, and recordkeeping. Facilities managers may have a background in architecture, engineering, construction, interior design, or real estate, in addition to managerial or other administrative experience. 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 insurance claims analysis and records management.
Educational requirements vary widely. For first-line administrative services managers of secretarial, mail room, and related administrative support activities, many employers prefer an associate of arts degree in business or management, although a high school diploma may suffice. For managers of audiovisual, graphics, and other more technical activities, postsecondary technical school training is preferred. For managers of highly complex services such as contract administration, a bachelor's degree, preferably in business administration or finance, is usually required. The curriculum should include courses in office technology, accounting, business mathematics, computer applications, and business law. Similarly, facilities managers often need a bachelor's degree in engineering, architecture, or business administration. Some administrative services managers have advanced degrees. Whatever the manager's educational background, it must be accompanied by related 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, 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 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. Attainment of the Certified Administrative Manager (CAM) designation, through work experience and successful completion of examinations offered by the Institute of Certified Professional Managers, can increase one's advancement potential. 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, management services, or facilities support services firm.
Employment of administrative services managers is expected to grow about as fast as the average for all occupations through the year 2005. Like other managerial occupations, this occupation is characterized by low turnover. These factors, coupled with the ample supply of competent, experienced workers seeking managerial jobs, should result in keen competition for administrative services management positions in the coming years.
Many firms are increasingly contracting out administrative services positions and otherwise streamlining these functions in an effort to cut costs. Corporate restructuring has tempered growth in the number of administrative services managers in recent years, and this trend is expected to continue.
As it becomes more common for firms to contract out administrative services, however, demand for administrative services managers will increase in the management services, management consulting, and facilities support services firms that will provide the services. In addition, some categories of administrative services managers may grow more quickly than others. Facilities managers may not be subject to the same cost-cutting pressures as other administrative services managers. Also, the extent to which governments at all levels contract out for goods and services could affect demand for contract administrators and personal property managers.
According to a salary survey by the Administrative Management Society Foundation, building services/facilities managers averaged about $50,300 a year in 1994; office/administrative services managers, about $40,700; and records managers, about $38,900. Average salaries ranged from $29,600 for the lowest paid records managers to $61,300 for the highest paid building services/facilities managers.
According to a survey by the International Facility Management Association, unit or first-line supervisors earned a median base salary of $41,600 in 1994; section heads or second-line supervisors $55,000; and managers with two levels of supervisors reporting to them, $65,000.
In the Federal Government, contract specialists in nonsupervisory, supervisory, and managerial positions averaged $46,100 a year in 1994; facilities managers, $44,300; administrative officers, $43,900; industrial property managers, $43,400; property disposal specialists, $39,900; and support services administrators, $34,700.
Administrative services managers direct and coordinate support 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, property and real estate managers, purchasing managers, and personnel managers.
For information about careers in facilities management, contact:
International Facility Management Association, 1 East Greenway Plaza, Suite 1100, Houston, T
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