Director of OperationsJob Description, Salary, Career Path, and Trends

A director of operations oversees daily operations within a company, keeping everyone organized. They are expert reviewers and communicators with a natural talent for leadership. 

Directors of operations use their expertise to make educated judgments about communication and efficiency within a company.

Directors’ work will often include working with the human resources department about hiring, developing operational policies and staff evaluations, overseeing budgets and revenues of divisions, delegating tasks, checking that clients are supported, predicting and analyzing growth trajectory, and acting as a liaison for higher-level executives.

Directors of operations will incorporate people skills, negotiation, performance metrics, and organization into the job to display their well-roundedness. They are excellent talkers and observers, allowing them to gain insight on employees and workplace dynamics, as well as troubleshoot and problem solve for a better in-house experience.

Sample job description

[Your Company Name] is an industry leader that needs a go-getter and professional director of operations to join our team. We believe that transparency and communication have played a huge role in our success, and we are looking for someone to help continue driving this success. As an ideal candidate, you have proven expertise in a management role, including overseeing staff, performing evaluations, and carrying out training and onboarding programs. Your ability to evaluate and analyze complex situations and finances should be top priority, and you have a natural desire to organize and make sure that things are running smoothly. 

Typical duties and responsibilities

  • Plan and monitor department day-to-day tasks
  • Supervise staff from other departments and give constructive feedback
  • Ensure that clients and customers receive the support that is necessary
  • Develop, implement, and communicate business and financial strategies to guarantee long-term success
  • Study data and perform analyses on differing department operations
  • Work closely with human resources to interview and train new staff and set them up for success
  • Manage relationships with external partners
  • Communicate relevant information from department heads and executives to employees
  • Review financial plans, manage budgets, and strategize for long-term growth

Education and experience

  • Bachelor’s degree in business administration or a relevant field, master’s degree preferred
  •  5 years of related experience and diverse background

Required skills and qualifications

  • Understanding of workplace policies, strategy, business, and finance
  • Excellent attention to detail
  • Proficiency using Microsoft Office Suite, Google, and Dropbox
  • Ability to analyze data and translate inferences from said data
  • Excellent oversight and organization skills

Preferred qualifications

  • Experience working in human resources and familiarity with payroll databases
  • Experience working with safety teams and knowledge of workplace safety policies
  • Experience working in a fast paced environment with effectiveness and efficiency
  • Experience with shared calendar and project management software
  • Experience in labor law or labor economics
  • Experience creating presentations or write-ups to display information from prior data analyses

Average salary and compensation

The average base salary for a director of operations is $105,900 per year in the United States. While only base salaries are reflected here, commissions and bonuses may greatly increase total compensation. Additionally, salaries will vary based on experience, company size, industry, and geographic market.

LocationSalary LowSalary High
Phoenix, Arizona$105,300$142,500
Los Angeles, California$118,800$160,750
Denver, Colorado$99,000$133,950
Washington, DC$120,600$163,150
Miami, Florida$98,550$133,350
Orlando, Florida$90,900$123,000
Tampa, Florida$91,800$124,200
Atlanta, Georgia$96,300$130,300
Chicago, Illinois$110,700$149,750
Boston, Massachusetts$119,700$161,900
Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota$95,400$129,050
New York City, New York$126,000$170,450
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania$102,600$138,800
Dallas, Texas$99,900$135,180
Houston, Texas$99,450$134,550
Seattle, Washington$115,200$155,850

Typical work environment

Operations directors usually work in an office and oversee a team. They may find themselves sitting at a desk in an office for long periods of time. During this time they are using normal workplace technology such as computers, faxing machines, printers, and projectors. Oftentimes, they find themselves on call on rotating or select evenings and weekends, while also traveling for consults and business meetings.

During the day, they are working above or in tandem with members of their team and organization, as well as communicating and answering to the heads of differing departments.

Typical hours

The typical work hours for an operations director in an office setting are 9 AM to 5 PM, Monday through Friday. However, they are frequently asked to pursue projects that take their hours into the evening. They also travel for meetings and networking purposes.

Available certifications

As a director of operations, you may work in a variety of industries, there are many institutions that offer certifications, including:

  • Project Management Professional ®. This can really take your career to the next level. There is enormous room for growth in this job, which means more on people’s plates, including more projects. Directors of operations in many different fields can benefit from a Project Management Professional certification. The industries that have the greatest demand for this are manufacturing, construction, editing and publishing, IT, finance, and healthcare.
  • Certified Scrum Master ®. This certification sees the greatest demand in the information technology industry. This field provides its employees with a lot of project work, so it is very helpful to have a director of operations with this certification. In order to become certified, you should develop strengths in adapting focus and being flexible. 
  • AMA ® Certificate in Analytical Skills. Every single thing that a company does produces data in some way. Operations directors are oftentimes in charge of analyzing and communicating this data for their team. Earning a certificate in Analytical Skills is a good idea since employers will see that you have already developed this skillset. This certification gives you the foundation of knowledge you need for use of many different software.

Career path

The journey to becoming a director of operations begins by earning a bachelor’s degree in business, economics, communications, or a similar field.

Students who aspire to be operations directors are encouraged to pursue internships with companies that employ analysts, or companies in a particular field of interest. However, this position is often an upper-level position that you will need years of experience before becoming employed as one. 

Those wishing to pursue this field will need to develop soft skills like expertise in communicating and collaborating, so they can learn as much as possible about a particular company or department to work seamlessly with them or pitch an offer to them. Managing a team is a collaborative process, involving multiple members of differing statuses to ensure that profits are headed in the right direction.

US, Bureau of Labor Statistics’ job outlook

SOC Code: 11-1021

2019 Employment325,900
Projected Employment in 2021366,000
Projected 2019-2029 Percentage Shift 6% increase
Projected 2019-2029 Numeric Shift21,200 increase

Since workplaces are taking on more tasks and working in an increasingly collaborative way, it is crucial that companies have more oversight. The person doing oversight has big responsibilities and should know how to handle delegation accordingly. Data analysis and economic understanding are becoming more and more important as technology improves. Skills such as these are only going to become more valuable, and this position will have to analyze data from inside and outside the company. 

Staying on top of corporate trends, finances, and competitors are some of the best practices in the management world. A firm grasp of industry trends and business strategy will help you succeed as an operations director. Professionals in this job will need to grow their expertise across different markets as the industry continues to evolve.

Sample interview questions

  • What interests you about being a technical writer for our industry?
  • What do you know about our target audience?
  • What measures do you take to stay updated on industry news?
  • What software tools do you use on a daily basis?
  • How quickly can you learn to use a new tool?
  • How comfortable are you with conducting field visits to learn more about the product?
  • How much experience do you have with interviewing subject matter experts?
  • What tools do you bring when you interview subject matter experts?
  • Describe a time you received negative criticism from your editor. How did you handle it?
  • Describe a time you received constructive criticism from your editor. Why was it helpful?
  • What guidelines or materials are you typically given to begin a project like [this work sample]?
  • What role did you play in developing this [this work sample]?
  • Describe a time you worked on a technical writing project with a cross-functional team.
  • Who else did you work with on this project? What were their roles?
  • How much time did it take to complete [this work sample]?
  • Describe one of your more successful pieces. How do you define success?

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