Difference Between Manager & Supervisor

Although the positions of manager and supervisor are sometimes interchanged, the authority of these positions is very distinct. Both supervise staff, but managers oversee the work of supervisors and report to upper management.

Comparing Managers to Supervisors

Managers and supervisors are both the front line of communication between the lower and upper level employees within a company. The primary difference between these two positions is that supervisors report to managers within the hierarchy of the workplace. Below is a comparison of managers to supervisors, with education and salary information.

Job Title Education Requirements Median Salary (2016)* Job Growth (2014-2024)*
Manager Bachelor's degree $90,050
(for all administrative services managers)
(for all administrative services managers)
Supervisor Bachelor's degree $54,340
(for all first-line supervisors of office and administrative support workers)
5% to 8%
(for all first-line supervisors of non-retail sales workers)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Find schools that offer these popular programs

  • Actuarial Sciences
  • Business and Commerce, General
  • Business Statistics
  • Customer Service Management
  • eCommerce
  • Logistics, Distribution, and Materials Management
  • Management Science
  • Office Management
  • Operations Management
  • Public and Nonprofit Organizational Management
  • Purchases, Acquisitions, and Contracts Management
  • Transportation Management

Responsibilities of Managers vs. Supervisors

Managers and supervisors both oversee staff to ensure they are meeting deadlines and following protocol. Supervisors closely monitor the performance of employees and report any updates or drawbacks to the manager. Managers find more efficient procedures for staff or products. Supervisors may suggest changes in protocols or employment, however they don't have the authority to implement changes without the approval of the manager.


Administrative managers are expected to implement plans and procedures for their staff so that company's deadlines are met. They also inspect equipment and facilities used in order to upkeep and maintain their functionality. Managers are responsible for giving updated progress reports to higher authorities within the company, as well as creating and providing budgets for any equipment or supplies needed. Their overall purpose is to improve productivity of the staff while keeping a high morale within the workforce.

Job responsibilities of a Manager include:

  • Creating and updating records
  • Enforcing safety standards and government regulations with staff
  • Overseeing the hiring and termination of employees
  • Creating work schedules for employees


Supervisors are appointed by managers to closely oversee the productivity of the staff, as well as to act as a line of communication between the staff and the manager. They must meet the goals and deadlines set by managers, as well as monitor the performance of individual staff members. Supervisors also ensure that staff members are abiding by the regulations implemented by both the company and the government. If the workload involves customer interaction, supervisors are also responsible for rectifying customer complaints.

Job responsibilities of a Supervisor include:

  • Training the staff
  • Giving evaluations to staff
  • Allocating duties to staff
  • Making inventory reports

Related Careers

If you are looking to pursue a career as a manager, you may also be interested in becoming a business executive, since both are high tier leadership roles within an organization. If you are interested in becoming a supervisor, work as a program director may also pique your interest, as both careers deal with overseeing the progress of a project.

What is your highest level of education?

Some College
Complete your degree or find the graduate program that's right for you.
High School Diploma
Explore schools that offer bachelor and associate degrees.
Still in High School
Earn your diploma or GED. Plan your undergraduate education.

Schools you may like:

Popular Schools

The listings below may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users.

Find your perfect school

What is your highest level of education?