Career and Job Search Guide

Administrative Service Manager Career

Administrative service managers supervise and direct organizational supported services necessary for efficient operation. They have a variety of responsibilities and supervise supply, personal property procurement, recycling and disposal, secretarial and reception services, energy consumption, administration, parking, security, payroll, information and data processing, mail, telecommunications management, conference planning and travel, records management, scheduling, distribution, printing, and production.

Specific duties for managers depend on their level of authority and responsibility. First-line service managers oversee support service employees. However, mid-level managers define supervisory-level managerial duties, implement policies to improve customer service and productivity, create departmental plans, set deadlines, and establish goals. A few mid-level administrative service managers supervise the clerical staff and certain departmental first-line supervisors, and they may participate in employee hiring and dismissal but are generally not involved with developing personnel policies. Administrative service managers can be promoted to upper level positions, for example, vice president of administrative services.

The types of managerial positions and administrative needs utilized by organizations vary significantly. Administrative service managers, for example, working as contract administrators, supervise the preparation, negotiation, analysis, and review of contracts involved with the purchase or sale of products, services, materials, equipment, or supplies. Likewise, certain administrative service managers purchase, store, and distribute supplies while some managers direct and supervise the disposal of unclaimed or surplus property.

Administrative service managers working as facility managers, supervise employees as well as design, plan, and manage buildings, supplies, grounds, and equipment. These managers must utilize skills in business administration, information technology, architecture, behavioral science, and engineering. Depending on the organization, facility manager responsibilities vary, but their general duties include operations and maintenance, leadership and communication, management of human and environmental factors, technology integration, facility function, quality assessment, finance, leadership and communication, project planning and management, and real estate. Responsibilities within these general categories include space and workplace planning, purchase and sale of real estate, renovations, architectural planning and design, lease management, and budgeting. Facility managers can recommend renovation projects to improve efficiency and ensure compliance with government, environmental, health and security rules. Administrative service managers may coordinate a project to utilize cost effective solar panels or fuel cells to generate “green” electricity. Moreover, facility managers must monitor buildings to promote safety, security, and proper maintenance, and they oversee facility maintenance, the grounds, and supervise staff and custodial employees.

Work environment. Administrative service managers usually work in comfortable offices, and managers working in personal property procurement disposal and use or contract administration, may be required to travel between their branch offices, property sales sites, their home office, or a vendors' offices. Likewise, facility managers overseeing workspace design travel between construction sites to supervise maintenance and custodial employees. Technological improvements have increased the number of managers telecommuting from home and other offices while teleconferencing has decreased travel. They may work outdoors supervising the facilities' landscaping, groundskeeping, security, and parking.

The majority of administrative service managers work 40 hours a week, but these managers often work extra, unpaid overtime hours to meet deadlines and resolve disputes. Facility managers are frequently “on call” to address problems in the office during off hours.

Training Qualifications and Advancement

Managerial education and experience requirements vary depending on the organization's complexity and size. Smaller organizations sometimes only require experience when filling an office manager position, and these managers can be promoted to be an administrative service manager, if the position is available, and the manager has performed well. Each managerial position requires formal education and experience requirements. Larger organizations often hire administrative service managers outside the organization. Certain administrative service managers have earned professional degrees.

Education and training. Specific position requirements depend on job responsibilities. Many employers choose to hire first-line administrative service managers holding associate degrees to perform secretarial, mailroom, and related support activities but will hire individuals with experience and a high school diploma.

It is recommended that managers responsible for audiovisual, video graphics, or other technical duties have received postsecondary technical training. Managers performing complex duties, for example, contract administration, usually need a bachelor's degree in finance, human resources, or business. Whatever the major, managers should have completed courses in accounting, business mathematics, computer applications, business law, and office technology. Usually facility managers possess undergraduate or graduate degrees in facility management, business administration, construction management, architecture, or engineering. Most facility managers have managerial experience and a background in construction, interior design, or real estate.

A manager's educational background must be accompanied by relevant work experience, demonstrating his or her ability to be a competent manager. Because work experience is important, many administrative service managers acquiring experience in various managerial capacities can be promoted and receive first-line supervisory duties. Managers overseeing departmental supervisors need to familiarize themselves with office equipment and procedures. Managers specializing in personal property acquisition and disposal must possess knowledge about supplies, machinery, and equipment used by the company, and they must have experience with purchasing and sales. Managers responsible for an organization's supplies, inventory, and distribution should have previous experience with warehouse, packaging, transportation, shipping, receiving, and related operations. Some contract administrators have previous experience working as procurement specialists, cost analysts, or contract specialists, and unclaimed property managers could have previous experience with records management and insurance claims analysis.

Other qualifications. Individuals desiring to become administrative service managers need effective communication and leadership skills and develop working relationships with managers, supervisors, professionals, and blue-collar workers and clerks. Managers need to be detail-oriented, decisive, flexible, and analytical, and they must decisively analyze and resolve disputes, coordinate several projects at once, and meet deadlines.

Certification and advancement. The majority of small organization administrative service managers advance, either by receiving promotion to other management positions within their own organizations, or begin working for a larger organization, because there are more opportunities for promotion in larger firms employing more administrative service managers. A manager can increase his or her opportunities for a promotion through work experience, education, passing examinations, and earning the Certified Manager (CM) designation issued by the Institute of Certified Professional Managers (ICPM). Furthermore, a first-level manager possessing a master's degree in business administration or a similar field, improves his or her chances of being promoted to a mid-level management position, for example, director of administrative services, and possibly to a top-level position, such as an executive vice president for administrative services. Management professionals with enough experience and money can begin their own management consulting firm.

Facility manager advancement is dependent upon an organization's policies and size. Certain managers begin working in technical positions, then transfer to other departments, or receive promotion within their organizations. They advance by accepting facility management positions providing extra responsibilities. Prospective candidates completing the competency-based professional certification program offered through the International Facility Management Association provides them an edge over the competition. Applicants meeting certain experience and educational requirements can qualify for the Certified Facility Manager (CFM) designation. Likewise, managers can earn the Facility Management Professional (FMP) designation before qualifying for the CFM.


In 2006, there were nearly 247,000 administrative service managers. Nearly 65 percent of managers were employed in service-providing industries such as health care, finance and insurance, federal, state, and local government services, support and administrative services, public and private education, professional and scientific services, and technical services. Remaining managers were employed in manufacturing, retail and wholesale trade, and company and enterprise management.

Administrative service manager job growth is projected to increase in all professions, and potential candidates will face intensified competition for a limited number of top-level management jobs through 2016. However, more opportunities are projected for lower-level management jobs, and intensified demand should exist for facility managers.

Employment change. Demand for administration service managers is expected to increase 12 percent through 2016, maintaining pace with average job growth for all occupations. Facility manager demand should be strong because organizations value the importance of maintaining, securing, and efficiently operating expensive facilities. Many private and public organizations attempting to cut costs, improve profitability, streamline operations, and implement policies to compete globally, will contract facility service management or hire talented managers to achieve these objectives.

Increased demand should exist for administrative service managers working in management services and consulting. Facility management firms should grow as organizations contract these companies to handle expensive and complex internal problems. These firms will provide the following services: parking management, maintenance and repairs, video surveillance, property management, safety management, office, grounds and power plant management, janitorial services, space planning and design, and or food services.

Job prospects. Prospective managers will face intense competition for a limited number of top-level management positions, but competition for lower-level management positions will not be as intense.

Although average job growth is expected, expanded use of office technology and corporate restructuring could result in more efficient organizational structure, decreasing the number of management jobs. As a result, this will negatively affect administrative service managers supervising first-line managers, but facility managers and other administrative service managers with a variety of responsibilities will probably experience less adverse affects from these changes than specialized middle managers. Moreover, job growth is projected for administrative service management positions through 2016, and new job openings will result from the necessity to replace managers transferring to new jobs, retiring, or leaving their jobs for other reasons.

Economic growth affects the demand for administrative service managers, so job growth will fluctuate from year to year. Industries not affected by economic downturn tend to provide stable employment. Administrative service manager salaries vary depending on the region, employer, and specialty. Generally speaking, in May 2006, administrative service managers earned a median salary of $67,690. Average salaries for about 50 percent of managers was between $48,200 and $90,350 during the same period; while, the bottom 10 percent earned less than $34,970, and the top 10 percent earned more than $117,610. Managers employed in the following industries earned the following median salaries:
  • Company and enterprise managers - $77,040
  • Surgical and medical hospital managers - $72,210
  • State government - $68,410
  • Local government - $67,050
  • College, universities, and graduate schools - $64,810
Industrial specialists working for the federal government earned an average salary of $74,042 in 2007. While facility operations service managers averaged, $73,455; industrial property managers, $72,730; property disposal specialists, $65,351; administrative officers, $71,948; and support service administrators, $63,756 annually.