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Associate Manager vs. Supervisor: What Are the Differences?

Learn about the two careers and review some of the similarities and differences between them.

In many workplaces, there are employees who are responsible for managing and supervising the work of others. The titles of these positions can vary, but two common ones are associate manager and supervisor. If you’re interested in a management role, understanding the key differences between these titles can help you decide which is right for you. In this article, we compare and contrast associate managers and supervisors, and we provide tips for pursuing a management career.

What is an Associate Manager?

An Associate Manager is a lower-level management position in which an employee is groomed for a managerial role. In this position, the employee is typically responsible for assisting the manager with day-to-day tasks, such as overseeing other employees, handling customer inquiries and complaints, and ensuring that the work environment is running smoothly. The Associate Manager may also be responsible for training new employees and developing employee schedules. In some cases, the Associate Manager may be responsible for managing a specific department or team within the company.

What is a Supervisor?

Supervisors provide direction, support and guidance to employees within a company. They oversee day-to-day operations and ensure that employees are meeting performance standards. Supervisors may be responsible for hiring and training new employees, as well as conducting performance reviews and taking disciplinary action when necessary. They also develop work schedules, assign tasks and projects, and resolve conflicts between employees. Supervisors typically report to managers or executives and may have a team of employees that they directly oversee.

Associate Manager vs. Supervisor

Here are the main differences between an associate manager and a supervisor.

Job Duties

Supervisors typically manage a team of employees who work on specific tasks or projects. They’re usually in charge of setting goals, creating schedules and delegating responsibilities. Supervisors often report directly to the manager within their department or higher-level management. Their day-to-day duties may include performing the same work as their team, plus additional supervisory responsibilities like monitoring productivity, providing feedback and conducting performance reviews.

Associate managers are more senior-level positions. They often oversee multiple departments, rather than just one. Associate managers may provide guidance and direction to managers who report to them. They may also be responsible for hiring and training new employees, developing company policies and evaluating performance.

Job Requirements

Associate managers and supervisors typically need a bachelor’s degree in business administration, management or another related field. Some employers prefer candidates to have a master’s degree as well, but it is not required for entry-level positions. Additionally, many associate managers and supervisors pursue certifications through professional organizations like the Institute of Certified Professional Managers (ICPM) or the American Management Association (AMA). These organizations offer training programs that teach professionals how to effectively manage people and resources.

Work Environment

Supervisors and associate managers typically work in different environments. Supervisors usually work in the same environment as their employees, such as a factory or retail store. They may also travel to different locations to ensure that operations are running smoothly. Associate managers often work in an office setting where they can manage all aspects of a company’s business. This means that they may spend most of their time at a desk working on paperwork and reports.


There are several similarities in the skills needed for an associate manager and supervisor. Both roles require excellent communication, interpersonal, and leadership skills. They also both need to be able to work well under pressure, handle conflict, and make decisions. However, there are some key differences in the skills needed for these two positions.

An associate manager needs to have strong organizational skills to juggle multiple tasks and priorities. They also need to be able to delegate effectively and give clear instructions. A supervisor needs to have a deep understanding of the company’s policies and procedures. They also need to be able to train and mentor employees.


The average salary for an associate manager is $56,512 per year, while the average salary for a supervisor is $62,225 per year. Both of these salaries can vary depending on the industry in which you work, your level of experience and the size of the company you work for.


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