Director of operations job description

Directors of operations plan, manage and co-ordinate the daily activities of a business.

Ultimately, they are responsible for ensuring that a company’s people and processes are working productively, efficiently and effectively.

This detailed guide includes a full director of operations job description and discusses all the key information about operations directors, including average salaries, requirements and more.


Guide contents

  • Director of operations job description
  • How much do directors of operations earn?
  • What does a director of operations do?
  • Requirements, skills and qualifications
  • Who employs directors of operations?
  • Which junior jobs progress to director of operations roles?



Director of operations job description

Director of operations | Core Recruitment


About Core Recruitment

Core Recruitment have been filling vacancies across the North West for employers since 1985, making us one of the longest established recruitment agencies in the UK.


About the role

We’re looking for a Director of Operations to help us organise and coordinate our daily operations, in order to accelerate company development and long-term success. Reporting to the COO, the postholder will improve our processes and procedures and coach our people to drive performance and results.



  • Leading the strategic direction and delivery of our recruitment services
  • Working with the operations manager and senior managers to make decisions for operational activities and strategic goals
  • Reviewing and updating our operational policies and procedures and promoting their implementation across the business
  • Ensuring that all staff adhere to organisational policies and procedures and relevant external legislation
  • Managing and coaching staff and setting individual goals and KPIs to improve performance
  • Ensuring all services are delivered within budget and comply with the client contract


Location & commitments

  • Full-time, permanent role based at our Manchester Spinningfields office
  • 9–5 core hours, with flexibility and occasional overtime required
  • Regular travel across the North West to visit our other branches


Candidate requirements


  • Degree educated in operations management or a business subject
  • Significant experience within operations, with at least 5 years of senior management experience
  • Proven experience of implementing relevant strategies, policies and procedures
  • Exceptional management, organisational and communication skills


  • Previous operations experience within the recruitment industry


Contact us to apply

Apply today by sending your up-to-date CV and a cover letter to


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How much do directors of operations earn?

Directors of operations are typically paid well, with an average UK salary of £47,500.


Director of operations salaries in the UK

  • Low: £32,500
  • Average: £47,500
  • High: £67,500

Source: TotalJobs


Director of operations salaries vary hugely depending on:

  • The industry of the employer – Salaries vary between industries — for example, operations directors within engineering, manufacturing and utilities are known to be amongst the highest paid
  • The size of the company – Larger companies tend to have more complex processes and operations than smaller companies, meaning the role is typically more challenging and therefore offers higher salaries
  • General salary factors – As with most jobs, the level of candidate experience and location can greatly impact the salary


For example, an experienced director of operations working in London is likely to earn significantly more than a less experienced director of operations working outside of the capital. Additionally, a director of operations for a global company such as Amazon will typically earn more than the director of operations for a smaller business.

The figures listed in this article are taken from a range of job advert samples and do not include extra benefits such as bonus and commission schemes, car allowances and health insurance.


What does a director of operations do?

While roles do vary between industries and employers, a director of operations job description will usually contain a variety of the following key tasks, duties and responsibilities:

  • Monitoring operations – Planning, managing and overseeing the day-to-day running of business operations to ensure smooth and efficient work
  • Analysing processes – Monitoring and analysing current operational processes and performance and setting solutions for improvement where necessary
  • Formulating policies – Formulating, developing and implementing new operations policies and procedures
  • Developing strategies – Devising and developing short and long-term strategic goals and plans to increase operational efficiency and productivity
  • Setting targets – Setting financial and operational targets and ensuring they are met across all departments
  • Monitoring budgets – Monitoring the budget for the operations department and ensuring it stays within any agreed financial boundaries
  • Managing performance – Managing employees and carrying out regular performance reviews to ensure staff are motivated, productive and efficient
  • Liaising with management – Working closely with heads of departments and management staff to ensure they’re getting the most out of their staff
  • Recruiting staff – Overseeing the hiring, firing and training of company staff and managers
  • Ensuring legal compliance – Working with legal teams to ensure that the company works in line with established regulations and laws



What do directors of operations need?

candidate requirements

As it’s such a senior position, competition for director of operations jobs can be high. Candidates will require significant experience within their chosen industry, combined with a wide range of skills and higher-education qualifications.

While specific entry requirements will vary between jobs, here’s what is typically required to gain an operations director role:



Director of operations jobs typically requires considerable experience within the industry being worked in. Generally speaking, most operations directors have at least 10 years of work experience before reaching director-level. Additionally, significant experience of managing and leading a team, as well as working in a fast-paced work environment, is essential. Most operations directors start out as a lower-level manager and work their way up within their company or industry.


Director of operations skills

In order to succeed in this executive-level role, directors of operations must be somewhat of a ‘jack of all trades’ with an extremely varied skillset, including:

  • Communication: Confidently and clearly communicating with key stakeholders, senior management, staff, stakeholders and external vendors in both written and verbal form
  • Adaptability: Managing unexpected situations and taking a lead when any problems or obstacles arise
  • Leadership: Managing, motivating and inspiring large teams across departments to achieve a unified goal
  • Organisation: Carrying out time-sensitive tasks and duties in multiple areas and departments at any one time
  • Managing people: Managing large teams, monitoring performance and reassigning tasks to improve staff productivity
  • Industry knowledge: Keeping up with the latest trends and best practices within the industry
  • Problem-solving: Dealing with unexpected operations issues and developing quick solutions in order to reduce or eliminate their effect on workflow
  • Legal knowledge: Keeping up to date with all legal rules and guidelines that affect operations
  • IT: Using a wide variety of computer systems and programmes across different departments, with the ability to pick up new software quickly


Director of operations qualifications

Operations directors are normally educated to degree or master’s level. Additionally, most have taken extra courses and qualifications over their years in their industry, in order to update their knowledge and widen their skillset.

With that said, experience and skills are generally valued more than qualifications by employers hiring for director-level jobs. For this reason, not all operations directors have degrees – but it is typically much harder (and often more time-consuming) to reach director-level without higher education qualifications.

While the qualifications will vary depending on the industry being worked in, here are some popular director of operations study options:



Directors of operations usually have a degree or master’s degree at a grade of 2:1 or above. There are some exceptions to this rule, but speaking generally, a degree is often a pre-requisite to the job.

Degrees in operations management or a business subject are favoured by employers, but industry or sector-related subjects can be useful too. Operations directors often have degrees in subjects such as:


  • Operations/facilities management
  • Business management
  • Business administration
  • Finance and/or accounting
  • International business
  • Accounting and finance
  • Information systems
  • Economics

Gaining a postgraduate or masters degree in operations management, supply chain management or another relevant business area is another common route into the operations management sector.


Chartered Management Institute qualifications

The CMI is the UK’s only chartered professional body for management. They offer a wide range of qualifications which aim to equip managers with the skills needed to progress in their careers. CMI qualifications come in three levels — award, certificate and diploma — and are highly valued by employers around the world.

The best options for aspiring directors of operations include:

  • Level 6/7: For Directors and Senior Managers who have the responsibility to translate organisational strategy into effective performance.
  • Level 8: For C-level senior managers.


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Institute of Leadership and Management qualifications

The ILM is the leading leadership and management qualifications specialist in the UK. Their qualifications are recognised all over the world and help their students to enhance their performance as managers and diversify their leadership skills.

The following qualifications specifically make good options for aspiring operations directors:

  • Level 6 Management: For senior managers who are new in their roles, or middle managers preparing for promotion.
  • Level 7 Senior Leaders: For senior managers and leaders seeking to develop themselves as leaders and managers.


What is expected of directors of operations?

Directors of operations will normally be expected to commit to the following:

  • Full-time hours – As operations directors are essential to the running of a business, roles are normally full-time (35–40+ hours per week), with part-time roles being rare
  • Regular overtime – Employers will generally expect operations directors to work as many as hours as required to keep everything running effectively, meaning working extra hours is common
  • Stressful, fast-paced work – Operations directors juggle many hats and are expected to deal with lots of unexpected problems and setbacks, meaning work can be stressful
  • Location – Normally based between the employer’s head office and their site(s) of operations
  • Regular travel – Travel to meet suppliers, stakeholders and vendors or to visit various company branches/offices/warehouses/factories may be required


Director of operations benefits

Operations directors are part of upper-level management, meaning they typically receive a good benefits package. This may include the following perks:

  • Equity/profit sharing
  • Commission and/or bonuses – based on company performance
  • Pension scheme
  • Generous holiday allowance
  • Company car or car allowance
  • Private healthcare
  • Company discounts



Who employs directors of operations?


Directors of operations are employed in a wide range of businesses and organisations that sell products or services, across the public, private and not-for-profit sectors.

Managers, directors and senior officials make up 11% of the UK workforce. Medium and large companies are more likely to employ a director of operations, as small businesses are unlikely to have complex enough operations and processes to justify a dedicated employee.

Since the role of director of operations spans countless industries, employment opportunities are highly varied. It’s possible to find an operations director job in all areas of the UK, although, like most roles, they’re typically more widely advertised in London and the major cities.

Directors of operations are often employed by companies within:

  • Engineering
  • Retail
  • Travel
  • Transport
  • E-commerce
  • Insurance
  • Healthcare
  • Construction
  • Hospitality
  • Manufacturing
  • Utilities
  • Charity


Which junior jobs progress to director of operations roles?

Stepping stone jobs

As operations director is a very senior role, career paths up to this point are varied. Employers are typically looking for significant managerial experience within their industry. However, the following junior/mid-level roles can eventually lead to a director of operations position:


Operations assistant

Operations assistants support the operations manager and director with a variety of administrative and operational tasks, in order to increase the efficiency of daily company operations. This is an entry-level role and makes for a great way to break into the operations sector and hone the required skills.

Operations manager

Operations managers report to the operations director to oversee all the day-to-day activities of a business or organisation. Their main goal is to implement or improve processes, in order to increase the efficiency or profitability of the company. Experienced operations managers typically move into a director of operations/operations director role within the same company, as the insider knowledge gained is hard to replace with external candidates.


Which senior jobs do directors of operations progress to?

Directors of operations are typically very senior within a company, meaning there are only a few higher-paying, more senior roles available. However, the most logical and lucrative move is often into the role of:


Chief operating officer (COO)

Chief operating officers are second-in-command in a company; working underneath the CEO only. COO’s take complete responsibility for managing the day-to-day administrative and operational functions of their company, which includes line managing the director of operations and the operations manager.

Managing director

Managing director is the most senior role in any company, and is responsible for leading a company’s entire strategic direction including sales, finances, marketing and operations.


Director of operations job description – conclusion

A job as a director of operations is fast-paced and can be stressful, but offers higher than average salaries, as well as generous benefits packages and commission schemes.

Roles are available in a huge variety of industries but are more common in medium and large-sized businesses.

The job requires significant experience within the target industry, as well as a degree-level of education.