How to become a Supervisor. Read through our comprehensive job guide to learn more about this career.
What does a Supervisor do?
As a supervisor in any industry, you would manage a team of staff and organise their workload. You could work in all kinds of businesses, for example leading a sales team, managing a team in an office or call centre, or running a section in a factory, restaurant or shop.
In any industry, your supervisory duties would typically include:
- planning workloads and rosters
- delegating tasks to team members
- handling problems or complaints
- monitoring and reporting on the team’s performance
- coaching and training staff
- carrying out appraisals
- completing relevant paperwork
- keeping up to date with equality and health and safety law.
In some jobs, you might also carry out the same work as your team members, whilst in others you might only be responsible for supervising the team. You may also have wider management duties such as personnel or building management.
Depending on the industry you worked in, you may work standard office hours or shifts. Part-time work and job sharing are often available.
Your working environment would also depend on your industry – you could work in an office, shop, factory or call centre, for example. In some companies the supervisor manages staff based at different locations, so you may need to travel between different sites.
How much does a Supervisor earn?
Salaries for supervisors and team leaders are normally between £18,000 and £31,000 a year, although this can vary according to the industry.
Figures are intended as a guideline only.
In general, you would become a supervisor or team leader after gaining in-depth experience in your job, showing leadership skills and taking on more responsibility. You should check any extra entry requirements for each job with employers.
In most industries you don’t need particular qualifications to become a supervisor. Employers may ask for a good standard of general education, but your skills and experience are usually more important than your academic qualifications.
Skills like leadership, organisational ability and time management are important in all types of business.
Training and Development
You will develop your supervisory skills on the job. Some employers also run their own structured in-house training programmes for supervisors.
You may have the chance to gain recognised qualifications in management whilst you are working, such as the Level 2 NVQ Certificate in Team Leading, and NVQ Certificates and Diplomas in Management at levels 3, 4 and 5 (these qualifications replace the NVQ Level 2 in Team Leading and levels 3-5 in Management from August 2010). You could also study part-time for certificates and diplomas from the Institute of Leadership and Management (ILM) or the Chartered Management Institute (CMI).
ILM qualifications include:
- Level 2 Certificate in Team Leading
- Level 3 Certificate in First Line Management
- Level 5 Diploma in Management.
CMI certificates and diplomas include:
- Level 2 in Team Leading
- Level 3 in First Line Management
- Level 5 in Management and Leadership.
See the ILM and CMI websites for more details about their qualifications.
In certain types of work, you may also be able to take qualifications aimed at management in your own industry. This is common in call centres, retail, care and hospitality.
Skills and Knowledge
- the ability to motivate people
- good spoken written communication skills
- a responsible attitude
- good ‘people skills’ for building relationships with colleagues at all levels
- the ability to plan and prioritise your own work and other people’s
- calmness under pressure
- decision-making ability
- accuracy with record keeping
- IT skills.
Almost every type of organisation employs supervisors and team leaders. There are opportunities in retail, hospitality, offices, factories, warehouses, call centres, and the public sector.
With experience you could progress to more senior management positions in your own organisation, or move into a different type of business to gain more responsibility or a higher salary.