Career Development

What Does an Export Manager Do?

Find out what an Export Manager does, how to get this job, salary information, and what it takes to succeed as an Export Manager.

The Export Manager plays a central role in expanding a company’s reach into international markets, overseeing the process of moving goods from the domestic country to foreign destinations. This position involves a deep understanding of international trade regulations, shipping protocols, and customs clearances to ensure smooth and efficient transactions. By strategizing and implementing export strategies, the Export Manager works to open new channels of revenue, fostering relationships with overseas clients and partners. Coordination with various departments, from production to logistics, is essential to align the company’s objectives with the demands of global markets, making the role integral to the company’s growth and international presence.

Export Manager Job Duties

  • Develop and implement strategic export plans to enhance sales and market expansion.
  • Negotiate contracts with foreign distributors and manage international sales agreements.
  • Coordinate logistics for the shipment of products overseas, including selecting shipping methods and managing shipping schedules.
  • Ensure compliance with international trade regulations and legal requirements, including obtaining necessary export licenses and permits.
  • Collaborate with production and supply chain teams to forecast demand and ensure timely delivery of products.
  • Analyze market trends and competitor activity in international markets to adjust strategies accordingly.
  • Manage and resolve any customs or delivery issues that may arise during the export process.
  • Train and oversee the export department staff on export procedures, documentation, and regulatory requirements.

Export Manager Salary & Outlook

An Export Manager’s salary is influenced by factors such as industry experience, the complexity of export markets handled, the volume of goods exported, negotiation skills, and the ability to manage international regulations and compliance. Mastery in foreign languages and understanding cultural nuances can also significantly impact compensation.

  • Median Annual Salary: $80,325 ($38.62/hour)
  • Top 10% Annual Salary: $95,000 ($45.67/hour)

The employment of export managers is expected to grow faster than average over the next decade.

This growth is driven by increasing globalization and the expansion of e-commerce, requiring skilled Export Managers to navigate complex international trade regulations, manage logistics, and foster global business relationships, ensuring companies can effectively sell and distribute products in overseas markets.

Export Manager Job Requirements

Education: An Export Manager typically possesses a diverse educational background, with many holding high school diplomas, while others have pursued further education in college or university. Relevant coursework includes international business, trade laws, economics, and foreign languages, which are crucial for navigating global markets. Majors in business administration or international trade are common, equipping candidates with the necessary skills for managing export operations, understanding market trends, and ensuring compliance with international regulations.

Experience: Export Managers typically emerge from backgrounds rich in international trade, sales, and logistics experience. On-the-job training is common, allowing individuals to gain practical insights into global market trends, regulatory compliance, and customer relationship management. Many also benefit from formal training programs that focus on export documentation, trade finance, and strategic planning. Successful candidates often possess a blend of direct export sales experience, coupled with exposure to cross-cultural business practices, enhancing their ability to navigate the complexities of international markets effectively.

Certifications & Licenses: Export Manager positions typically do not require specific certifications or licenses. However, certifications such as the Certified Export Specialist (CES) by the National Customs Brokers & Forwarders Association of America can be beneficial. Additionally, knowledge of export compliance and regulations, for which certifications are available, may enhance a candidate’s qualifications.

Export Manager Skills

International Trade Compliance: Coordinating documentation and logistics to align with global trade laws and regulations is a core responsibility of an Export Manager. Knowledge of export controls, tariffs, and trade agreements is imperative to devise shipping strategies that are both efficient and legally compliant, minimizing potential legal risks.

Logistics Coordination: Orchestrating the movement of goods from their point of origin to their destination demands a comprehensive understanding of international shipping regulations and customs processes. The ability to negotiate and manage contracts with carriers, coupled with strategic planning, ensures timely delivery, cost-effectiveness, and adherence to global trade laws, which are critical for the success of export operations.

Currency Exchange Management: By effectively managing currency exchange, Export Managers can shield their operations from the financial risks posed by fluctuating global currencies. Achieving optimal exchange rates for international transactions is crucial for maximizing overseas sales revenue and reducing costs related to procurement and supply chain logistics.

Export Documentation: Handling the preparation, processing, and tracking of essential shipping documents, including bills of lading, invoices, and certificates of origin, is vital for smooth international transactions. This skill helps avoid delays or legal complications, ensuring goods are delivered across borders in a timely and cost-effective manner.

Market Analysis: Identifying opportunities and challenges in international markets through the analysis of global market trends and consumer demands is a critical skill. It involves assessing economic indicators, trade regulations, and competitive landscapes to strategically position products or services for successful market entry and growth.

Negotiation: The ability to secure favorable terms with international partners and suppliers through effective negotiation is indispensable. Balancing assertiveness with diplomacy to achieve mutually beneficial outcomes is key to managing cross-border transactions, reducing risks, and enhancing profitability.

Export Manager Work Environment

An Export Manager typically operates within a dynamic office setting, where the ambiance is geared towards fostering productivity and collaboration. The workspace is often equipped with the latest technology, including software for logistics management and communication tools, to ensure seamless operations across global markets.

Work hours might extend beyond the conventional, given the international nature of the role, necessitating flexibility to accommodate different time zones. This position usually involves a considerable amount of travel, allowing for direct interaction with clients and partners worldwide, which is integral for building and maintaining relationships.

The environment encourages professional growth, with opportunities for training and development readily available. The pace can be fast, driven by market demands and project deadlines, yet the culture often emphasizes teamwork and support to manage this effectively.

Safety protocols are in place, particularly for those times when the manager needs to visit manufacturing sites or warehouses, ensuring a well-rounded approach to all aspects of the job.

Advancement Prospects

Export Managers can ascend to higher positions such as Director of International Sales or Vice President of Global Sales, overseeing broader territories and larger teams. Achieving these roles typically involves demonstrating exceptional performance in expanding market share, securing lucrative deals, and fostering strong relationships with international clients.

To advance, an Export Manager should focus on mastering the complexities of international trade regulations, logistics, and cultural nuances in target markets. Specializing in high-demand sectors or emerging markets can set a candidate apart.

Leadership skills are crucial for progression. Aspiring for higher roles requires the ability to strategize at a global level, manage cross-cultural teams effectively, and drive organizational change. Gaining experience in various international markets and showing a track record of successful negotiations and strategic partnerships are key steps toward advancement.


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