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Great office managers, are we paying them enough?



The title of this article screams out for controversy.  You have Office Managers on one side screaming that of course they should be paid more.’Do you know the kind of things we have to deal with!’  Yet on the other side you have those managers in very specific and specialised areas like HR or Sales. May saying no, they have the specialist skills and the years of training and experience. That’s why they should most certainly be paid more.

But what actually is the case?  And ultimately are Office Managers paid fairly for the job they do?


The role of the Office Manager


When we really start to scratch the surface of the role of the Office Manager, to be honest, it can be quite complex and certainly not as straightforward as it may look or sound. It’s easy for us to generalise and say that the main responsibility of the Office Manager is to ensure the smooth day to day running of the office.  Yes, in essence this is completely true. But think about the different needs within your own team and then think about doubling this when you add another team, and then tripling it for another team and so on and so on.  

Suddenly, the demands placed onto an Office Manager and their team can grow at an exponential rate, with different teams and people having very different expectations on how things should be done in order for things to run smoothly. For example, are meeting rooms correctly stocked, does the stationary cupboard contain everything that may be needed, are there enough tea and coffee making facilities on site, has the post been sent out on time and in the most cost-effective way etc?


The Nitty Grity

Do all of the printers have ink? If they run out (people’s biggest bug bear) do you have spare ink  in stock? If not do you have a reliable supplier who can get these to you asap?

Then think about the demands of the actual building and the equipment.  Making sure that repairs to the building and office equipment are carried out by the right people in the most efficient time, whilst also making sure it doesn’t affect the rest of the company and meeting their needs (think about lighting, blinds up at windows, air conditioning and heating etc etc)!

Of course, Office Managers aren’t always responsible for everything on their own. They also have a team to manage, this is a whole skill in itself that takes years to master. 


These points are also just an overview.  When we look at the nitty gritty of the job  and the exact responsibilities it covers a broad range. Going from organising meetings and managing databases. Implementing and maintaining office administrative systems, booking transport and negotiating accommodation rates. Then organising company events (or certainly being responsible for the health and safety of company events), ordering stationary and furniture. They are then managing office budgets whilst liaising with staff, suppliers and clients. Office managers also are responsible for organising induction programmes. Having procedures in place for visitors, attending meetings with senior management.  They assist HR function at times with arranging interviews or certainly meeting room requests. To be honest when we start to get into the role, the list of duties and responsibilities could be endless!


Should there be a difference in pay?


According to Graduate Prospects an office manager can earn between £18,000 and £30,000 depending on qualifications and experience and with a number of years’ experience this has the potential to increase to between £30,000 and £50,000. This matches with Payscale who have also released figures this month highlighting that the average pay grade for an Office Manager is £24,073 with the potential to increase with number of years’ experience.

Comparing this to a more specific role such as a sales manager there is a notable difference however.  For example, a national sales manager can earn in excess of £40k and for a regional sales manager they could be looking at a salary of £35k plus.  Recruitment specialist Reed also report the average sales manager role in the UK to have an estimated salary of £48,656 depending on location and experience.

Of course, when we think of sales, commissions and bonuses also have to be taken into account, as well as the complexity and time it can take to close a deal. For an HR manager the pay grade can be from £35k upwards and again this can depend mostly on qualifications and the number of years’ experience, (which for most HR managers has to be considerable before they reach they reach salary levels of £45k plus).

Of course, it’s not individual companies necessarily setting the pay grades but industries.  There’s almost industry standards for specific job roles. Added to this is a company’s own pay structure and band setting. All of which combined can ultimately depend on what pay is then calculated at.

Understanding the differences in job roles, and whether these are specialised or not helps to set the appropriate and right level of pay across the board.


It’s not all about the money


We all say there are a number of great career opportunities in whatever area we work in. However, when it comes to the role of the Office Manager career opportunities are vast.  This is one of the major advantages of working in this area. You’ve worked hard to make sure that the day to day running of the business continues. Doing this every day inevitably develops a wide range of skills.  Your quick problem-solving ability is out of this world – all of which provides you with the self confidence to push forward when it comes to career opportunities.


Progressing up the career ladder from the administrative/support assistant to the Office Manager role, to then more senior positions within the organisation such as Buildings Manager or Facilities Manager.  All of which are achieved through applying your general skills and ability to manage multiple projects in an organised discipline, having excellent communication skills and building relationships with multiple contacts.

Most career progression within this particular area happens through internal promotion.  Being in a position to work your way up the career ladder within the same organisation makes sense.  You know this company inside and out, you know what each team needs before sometimes they even know they need it themselves!  


And that’s not all.  

Having such a varied and busy management role can also offer career opportunities overseas.  With such a broad range of skills these can be transferred to any organisation, pretty much anywhere in the world!  It means the possibilities soon become endless and the role can also fit in with lifestyle choices and certainly that all important work/life balance. These soft/transferable skills include things such as adaptability, organisational skills, IT skills, problem solving skills, being able to use your initiative (and dare we say it, common sense!), budgeting skills, attention to detail, being able to manage conflict as well as expectations and having excellent negotiating skills!


These are all things which can’t be taught, they are learnt on the job and in the role of Office Manager they are the key skills which are learnt and used repeatedly. There are several roles and structures within any organisation.  What this article highlights is sometimes the overlooked and underestimated role of the Office Manager.  These are the guys that help keep everything together and when all else fails are the ones we turn to for help and advice – whether this be about how to book a meeting room, to how to fix a printer problem!

How We Can Help

Here at Compatink we understand the everyday pressures of running an office. Our aim is simply to help where we can.  Help make life that little bit easier by taking away some of the admin burdens Office Managers and admin teams face on a daily basis.  

One of which is the dreaded ink and toner cartridge dilemma. Finding the right stock is hard. Finding it for a fair price is harder. Compatink are here to make it as simple as possible. We’re also here to make it as affordable as possible. As discussed, a great office manager is always on top of their budget. 

Because we specialise in the sale of compatible ink and toner cartridges, you can also be assured that not only is it of the highest quality but that you can also save up to 70% using a compatible version of an ink or toner cartridge when compared to the genuine counterpart. All without sacrificing the quality of the print!  Think about the savings just on ink alone you could make to your office budget!


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