Supervisor job description

Supervisors look after teams of staff and organise their workflow, while also helping to oversee the general operations of a business or organisation.

Working closely with managers, they are responsible for ensuring high level plans are carried out by staff on-the-ground. Their responsibilities including training and managing team members, ordering stock and meeting operational goals

This detailed guide covers everything you need to know about supervisors, including a full job description for a typical position, in addition to the skills required, average salary and potential employers.


Guide contents

  • Supervisor job description
  • How much do supervisors earn?
  • What does a supervisor do?
  • Requirements, skills and qualifications
  • Who employs supervisors?
  • Which junior jobs progress to supervisor roles?


Supervisor job description

Supervisor | Inkblot


About Inkblot

With over 30 years of trading experience, Inkblot are the UK’s largest retailer of stationery and art supplies. With a focus on fun and innovation at a low price, our goal is to make art accessible for everyone.


About the role

We’re looking to hire a confident, hardworking supervisor to help run our newly opened Edinburgh store. The successful candidate will support our general manager by organising staff workflow and overseeing general operations in order to provide the highest standard of customer service possible.



  • Managing a team of 6 staff including creating weekly rota, approving leave of absence and delivering quarterly performance reviews
  • Setting regular staff objectives and delivering these in weekly briefings
  • Assisting customers with any queries, tasks and complaints and ensuring a high standard of customer service is provided at all times
  • Ordering supplies and ensuring both warehouse and shop floor are fully stocked at all times
  • Overseeing the processing of online orders, picking contents and preparing these for delivery
  • Taking responsibility for opening and closing the store, ensuring security measures are adhered to
  • Ensuring compliance with all store rules and procedures including health and safety regulations
  • Liaising with general manager and regional operations manager regarding store financial performance, staff performance and policies


Location & commitments

  • Permanent, full-time position (40 hours per week)
  • Hours based on a weekly rota including weekends and evenings
  • Based at our new store in Edinburgh


Candidate requirements


  • An understanding of the UK stationery market
  • Previous experience in a retail environment
  • Excellent customer service skills
  • The ability to work as part of a close-knit team
  • Strong verbal communication and leadership skills


  • Previous supervisory or managerial experience


Contact us to apply

If you think you’d be the perfect fit for this exciting new role, please email your CV and cover letter to our HR team at


How much do supervisors earn?

The average salary for a supervisor working in the UK is £25,959 with plenty of scope for pay increases with career progression


Supervisor salaries in the UK

  • Low: £20,536
  • Average: £25,959
  • High: £37,500

Source: TotalJobs


Supervisor salaries can vary widely across the UK. Some of the factors that may influence pay include:

  • The industry of the employer – Does the supervisor work in retail, manufacturing, hospitality etc.
  • Company size – Is the company a small local business or a national corporation?
  • General salary factors – Including level of candidate experience, qualifications and location

For example, a supervisor working for a high-end luxury retail brand would likely earn more than a supervisor working for a local pub.

These figures are averages and have been obtained from job advertisements. Keep in mind that they don’t account for other benefits, such as bonuses, pension schemes and holiday pay.


What does a supervisor do?

Below is a breakdown of some of the responsibilities a typical supervisor job description will contain:

  • Planning workflow – Organising staff workflow, delegating and allocating tasks, creating rotas and organising schedules, approving leave and absence
  • Monitoring staff – Monitoring staff performance, providing regular reviews and ensuring a high standard of service is maintained at all times
  • Recruitment – Assisting management with hiring new staff members when necessary, training and mentoring new team members
  • Implementing objectives – Working with managers to develop targets, projects and policies, relaying these to staff in briefings and ensuring their completion
  • Managing stock – Ordering stock in advance, organising inventory, making sure shelves/shop floor are always correctly stocked and that any orders get shipped on time
  • Customer service – Dealing with elevated customer service issues, remaining on hand at all times to manage customer queries and complaints
  • Technical support – Maintaining strong knowledge of products and services, providing technical help, assistance and business expertise to junior team members
  • Health and safety – Ensuring all staff follow health and safety guidelines
  • Liaising with senior management – Reporting on staff performance, financial performance and general efficacy of business operations and relaying these back to senior management


What do supervisors need?

candidate requirements

Supervisor roles are relatively accessible to anyone, with qualifications being of less importance than practical experience and skills.

Exact requirements will vary by industry, but generally, here is what employers are looking for:



Junior supervisor jobs are open to anyone with prior experience working in the industry. For example, a junior shop supervisor position will normally require candidates to have some experience in a retail environment. Previous supervisory experience is not always necessary but can be a major bonus.

Senior supervisor jobs often ask for several years of experience as a supervisor. Previous experience managing a team is almost always essential, as is specialist knowledge about and experience within the relevant industry.


Supervisor skills

Supervisors should possess the below soft skills to have the best possible chance of landing a job:

  • Verbal communication: Excellent verbal communication with others and overall strong interpersonal skills
  • Teamwork: The ability to work closely with a larger team including junior and senior team members
  • Leadership: Managing teams of people and motivating others in a passionate and inspiring way, confidence and an innate ability to lead
  • Financial acumen: Strong numeracy skills for managing stock and supplies and generating financial reports
  • Working under pressure: Maintaining focus and remaining calm in a busy environment with multiple tasks to balance and prioritise
  • Attention to detail: Paying close attention when ordering stock, processing orders and drawing up rotas and work schedules

These harder, more supervisory-specific skills are also a huge bonus:

  • Customer service: Excellent customer service skills developed over a long period of working within retail, manufacturing, hospitality or another relevant area
  • Knowledge of the industry: Expert knowledge of the specific industry (e.g. retail, manufacturing, hospitality) gained from years of experience


Supervisor qualifications

Typically, supervisors don’t require any qualifications and experience plays a more crucial role. However, achieving a certificate, diploma or other award in management — as well as good GCSEs and higher education qualifications — can help candidates to flourish.

The below qualifications can be useful for supervisor roles:



Candidates can complete either a team leader and supervisor advanced apprenticeship, or a management higher apprenticeship. Both of these qualifications will allow them to enter a supervisory role quickly and without as much practical experience. To gain a place on a higher or degree apprenticeship, candidates will typically need 4 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) or equivalent. For an advanced apprenticeship, 5 GCSEs graded at the same level are required, including English and maths.



The Chartered Management Institute (CMI) offers a range of qualifications designed to boost performance and enhance career prospects for anyone in a supervisory or managerial role. Some courses take place at the candidates’ workplace, so they’re ideal for anyone with limited time who wants to build skills on the job.

The following qualifications are suitable for supervisors:


Industry Specific Qualifications

Some supervisor positions may require more industry-specific qualifications, especially jobs in sectors like manufacturing and construction. City and Guilds offer a variety of such qualifications that candidates can tailor to their personal career goals. Supervisors working in a factory or warehouse setting may benefit from the  Level 3 Qualification in Facilities Management, and those working in the food and beverage industry may wish to take the Hospitality Supervisor Level 3 Qualification.


What is expected of supervisors?

Supervisors are typically expected to commit to the following:

  • Full time hours – 40 hours a week that may be either Monday-Friday or on a rota
  • Evening and weekend work – Supervisors in the retail and hospitality industries, in particular, will usually work evenings and weekends. For warehouse supervisors, overnight shifts may also be required.
  • Fast-paced work – Supervisors should expect a busy schedule with various tasks to manage at once
  • Location – This role can be based anywhere from an office, to shop, to warehouse, depending on the industry.


Supervisor benefits

Supervisors can expect to receive a combination of the following benefits:

  • Pension scheme
  • Paid holiday allowance
  • Unsociable hours pay
  • Bonuses



Who employs supervisors?


Supervising staff is an essential part of almost every business, so supervisors have a plethora of choices when looking for job roles.

From factory work and manufacturing to retail and hospitality, to public energy and water services, supervisory roles span a broad range of industries. Supervisors can expect to work both in the public and private sectors.

Some of the main employers of supervisors are as follows:

  • Retail
  • Manufacturing
  • Hospitality
  • Construction
  • Utilities
  • Education
  • Distribution/delivery services


Which junior jobs progress to supervisor roles?


Several junior roles can lead to the position of supervisor, but most of them are industry-specific. Here are some potential routes in, categorised by sector:


Bartender (Hospitality)

A bartender works at a bar, pub or restaurant taking and preparing drinks orders. Working as a bartender is a great way to build communication, customer service and teamwork skills. Many bartenders who have worked in the industry for months or years eventually progress to team leaders and supervisors.

Shop assistant (Retail)

Shop assistants work on the shop floor restocking supplies, taking payments and assisting with customer queries. This experience can prepare them well for a supervisory or team leader role where customer service, organisation and financial acumen are imperative.

Production Operatives  (Manufacturing)

The role of production operative is usually entry-level and involves loading and unloading products, picking orders and cleaning equipment. Working within a factory production line, candidates receive full training on the job and learn a lot of industry-specific skills, such as operating machinery. This knowledge can prepare them well for the role of supervisor.


Which senior jobs do supervisors progress to?

Supervisors have a lot of options when it comes to building their career. Here are some popular choices:


General manager

General managers are in charge of overseeing the operations of a specific department or organisation. This role is a logical stepping-stone for supervisors, as general managers need experience managing junior members of staff, setting goals and working with finances.

Operations manager

Operations managers direct the daily functions of an organisation to ensure it is running efficiently. Their duties include implementing company-wide goals and targets, managing headcount across multiple sites and controlling region-wide financial budgets. They are charge of operations on a regional level, rather than overseeing a single location.

Chief operating officer (COO)

Chief operating officers (COO) are one of the most senior executives in any company. They oversee the day-to-day operational functions of an entire company.


Supervisor job description – conclusion

Working as a supervisor is an excellent choice for anyone with strong interpersonal skills looking to enter a challenging and fast-paced role.

With the opportunity to lead a team and motivate others, the role of a supervisor can be highly rewarding. Although salaries initially are not too high, the versatility of this role offers plenty of scope for progression in almost any direction imaginable.