When a business has multiple locations in many geographical areas, managing them all from a single office can become challenging. For that reason, many companies divide their operations into regions or districts, and appoint a manager in each one to serve as the liaison with headquarters. These managers supervise branch managers, ensuring that every location follows corporate policies and procedures, while also keeping their district operations running smoothly.
District Manager Job Description
The primary responsibility of a district manager is serving as a link between the company branch – whether a retail location, office, or individual representative or employee – and headquarters. A district manager oversees the day-to-day operations of the branches in the territory, which might include sharing information about new policies, procedures and promotions; hiring and firing staff (in particular, branch leadership); ensuring that sales and service goals are being met; and solving problems as they come up. District managers are also charged with keeping a finger on the pulse of the regions, identifying trends and opportunities that locations can capitalize on, and reporting this information to headquarters. In short, district managers play an important role in building the company brand as they work with the branches to create a consistent customer experience.
The primary district manager qualifications are management knowledge and experience, which typically entails experience in managing people, customer service and financial management. However, most employers also require that district managers hold either a bachelor’s or master’s degree in business, business administration, management or a similar field. Because the most important district manager skills – such as leadership, communication, problem-solving and decision making – can often be learned and developed on the job, some district managers move into their positions via promotions without earning a degree. For those wishing to begin their careers at a management level, though, or who want to make lateral moves into a new industry or company, a degree is almost always necessary.
District managers can be found in nearly every industry. Most work in the retail and sales industries, though. Again, one of the primary responsibilities of a district manager is setting sales goals and working with teams to meet them, so the district manager definition is often interchangeable with sales manager.
Salary and Years of Experience
According to PayScale, the average annual salary of a district manager in the retail industry is $71, 876, with the lower end of the pay range around $42,000 per year and the upper end at $118,000. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics notes that sales managers – those working in industries other than retail – have a median annual salary of $121,060. This means that about half of sales managers earned less (with the low end at $57,590) and about half earned more (with the top earners bringing in more than $200,000 annually.) District manager salaries often include bonuses and commissions, as well as other forms of compensation like profit sharing.
PayScale notes that pay for retail district managers increases with experience. Entry-level managers earn around $65,000 per year, while 20 years of experience can bring a salary increase of about $20,000, to $85,000 per year.
Job Growth Trend
The BLS predicts steady growth for those in management occupations over the next eight years. Sales managers can expect about 7 percent growth, as fast as average, while overall, management occupations should see about 8 percent growth. The actual rate of growth and the number of positions available depends largely on the performance of the companies and industries hiring these professionals.