Project Supervisor Vs. Project Manager

Sep 30, 2019

Project managers and project supervisors share the goal of running a successful team, however, there are important differences in their authority and responsibilities. Managers oversee groups of employees while supervisors work alongside fellow team members.

Comparing Project Supervisor to Project Manager Jobs

Project supervisors and project managers are both integral persons in an organization who ensure that a project runs smoothly and is completed successfully. While there are a few similarities in their roles, they operate at different levels within an organization.

Job Title Education Requirements Average Salary (2019)* Job Growth (2016-2026)**
Project Manager Bachelor's degree $73,479 5-9% (for IT project managers)
Project Supervisor Bachelor's degree $56,156 N/A

Sources: *Payscale.com **U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Responsibilities of a Project Supervisor vs. a Project Manager

Project managers control and allot a company's resources while supervisors oversee the teamwork for one particular project. A manager controls the machinery, finances, and personnel that a company needs to complete its work. A manager might take note of an employee's high productivity and teamwork skills and choose them to supervise a team. The supervisor designates responsibilities within their team, tracks their team's progress, and makes sure that their team meets scheduled goals. Project supervisors report to the project manager.

Project Manager

A project manager oversees multiple teams and resources for the efficient completion of projects. Project managers must have excellent organizational skills, as they often juggle multiple teams and projects at once. They do not work on a specific business project, but focus on administrative and management tasks. A project manager generally works regular hours in an office setting. They likely move around through the day, meeting with supervisors and managers in different departments. Over time, successful project managers may advance to senior level management positions within their company.

Job responsibilities of a project manager include:

  • Creating and monitoring budgets for projects
  • Choosing team members for a new project based on their personnel's unique strengths and weaknesses
  • Designing a schedule and strategy to complete a project
  • Communicating the project strategy to team members
  • Reporting the progress of a project to senior-level management, clients, and stakeholders
  • Conducting performance reviews

Project Supervisor

A supervisor works alongside fellow employees on a specific project. While they are designated certain management responsibilities, their primary task is to work on their assigned project. In general, project supervisors work regular hours inside an office. They act as a liaison between their coworkers and upper management, but do not have the full authority of a manager. For example, they can report a coworkers' consistent misbehavior, but they typically cannot fire or hire employees from their team. If a project supervisor enjoys administrative tasks and performs successfully, they may have the opportunity to move into higher level management positions within their company.

Job responsibilities of a project supervisor include:

  • Designating tasks to team members on a project
  • Ensuring that a project runs according to schedule
  • Managing interpersonal conflicts within the team
  • Planning and running team meetings
  • Reporting a project's progress to the project manager and at company-wide meetings
  • Training new team members

Related Careers

If you enjoy the management and supervision side of running a business, there are a variety of great careers you could consider. The following jobs share similarities to project managers and project supervisors:

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