Career Development

What Does a Records Manager Do?

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

The Records Manager plays an essential role in managing an organization’s information assets to ensure they are accurately maintained and readily accessible when needed. This position involves overseeing both physical and digital records, establishing policies and procedures for information governance, and ensuring compliance with relevant laws and regulations. By maintaining a comprehensive and systematic approach to records management, this role supports operational efficiency, risk management, and the preservation of historical and legal records. The Records Manager works closely with various departments to understand their specific needs and challenges, providing expertise and solutions that align with the organization’s overall strategy and objectives.

Records Manager Job Duties

  • Develop and implement records management policies and classification systems to control the creation, receipt, maintenance, use, and disposal of records.
  • Coordinate with department heads to identify and classify documents or other electronic content according to criteria such as confidentiality and retention period.
  • Oversee the conversion of paper records to digital format, ensuring the integrity of original documents is maintained and that digital versions meet quality standards.
  • Manage the organization’s electronic records management system, ensuring it meets legal compliance and is user-friendly for staff retrieval needs.
  • Conduct periodic audits of records and information management processes to ensure compliance with laws, regulations, and organizational policies.
  • Train staff in proper records handling, storage, and disposal procedures to ensure organizational and legal compliance.
  • Facilitate the retrieval of records and information by staff and stakeholders, ensuring timely and secure access to documents as required.
  • Oversee the disaster recovery plan for records, ensuring the protection and easy recovery of documents in the event of a disaster, such as fire or flood.

Records Manager Salary & Outlook

Factors affecting a Records Manager’s salary include industry sector, with finance and healthcare typically offering higher wages due to regulatory complexities. Experience level significantly influences earnings, as does the size of the organization managed. Specialization in digital records management can also command higher salaries due to the increasing shift towards digital archiving.

  • Median Annual Salary: $65,625 ($31.55/hour)
  • Top 10% Annual Salary: $112,000 ($53.85/hour)

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

This growth is driven by increasing regulatory compliance requirements, the exponential growth of digital data, and the need for sophisticated information governance and data privacy strategies, making skilled Records Managers essential for organizations to manage, secure, and leverage their information assets effectively.

Records Manager Job Requirements

Education: A Records Manager typically holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Information Management, Library Science, or Business Administration. Advanced positions may require a Master’s Degree, emphasizing archival studies, records management, or information governance. Relevant coursework includes data management, legal aspects of records management, digital preservation, and organizational information systems. A strong foundation in technology, coupled with courses in project management and business operations, equips candidates with the necessary skills for this role.

Experience: Records Managers typically come from backgrounds rich in hands-on experience with document management, archival practices, and information governance. Their journey often includes substantial on-the-job training, where they hone skills in organizing, preserving, and ensuring the accessibility of vital records. Many have progressed through roles that demanded meticulous attention to detail and a deep understanding of compliance and risk management. Training programs, both formal and informal, play a crucial role in developing their expertise in the latest records management technologies and methodologies, preparing them to oversee complex information systems efficiently.

Certifications & Licenses: Certifications beneficial for a Records Manager include the Certified Records Manager (CRM) from the Institute of Certified Records Managers and the Information Governance Professional (IGP) certification from ARMA International. No specific licenses are required for this role.

Records Manager Skills

Digital Archiving: Involves the meticulous categorization, storage, and protection of electronic information to ensure its preservation and accessibility. By leveraging advanced technologies and methodologies, it maintains data integrity and enables efficient retrieval by authorized personnel.

Compliance Management: Focuses on aligning records and information management practices with current laws, regulations, and industry standards. It includes conducting regular audits of record-keeping procedures and updating policies or systems to stay compliant and minimize risk.

Records Retention Scheduling: Entails determining the appropriate lifespan of records and setting protocols for their disposal or preservation in accordance with legal and organizational policies. This process aids in managing the flow and storage of information, protecting sensitive data, and optimizing space and resources.

Information Governance: Involves the strategic oversight of record management to ensure compliance with legal and regulatory requirements. It encompasses understanding the lifecycle of information and the policies governing it, which helps in mitigating risks associated with information mismanagement and boosting operational efficiency.

Disaster Recovery Planning: Concerns the development and implementation of strategies to protect, recover, and maintain the accessibility of critical records after a disaster. It requires a thorough analysis of potential risks, the creation of detailed response plans, and coordination across departments to ensure the organization’s resilience and continuity.

Metadata Management: Deals with the organization, categorization, and maintenance of information about records to ensure their easy access and retrieval. Applying consistent standards and practices throughout the records’ lifecycle, from creation to disposition, it supports compliance with legal and regulatory requirements.

Records Manager Work Environment

A Records Manager typically operates within an office setting, surrounded by both physical and digital filing systems. Their workspace is often equipped with computers, specialized software for document management, and possibly areas for storing physical records. This role may involve a standard 9-to-5 schedule, but flexibility can depend on the organization’s needs, including occasional requirements to oversee records retrieval or archiving outside regular hours.

Dress code tends to align with office norms, leaning towards business casual. The environment is generally quiet, conducive to concentration, and focused on tasks that require attention to detail. Interaction with colleagues is frequent, necessitating good communication skills, especially when coordinating access to or the security of records.

Health and safety considerations are primarily ergonomic, given the desk-bound nature of the job. Opportunities for professional development are available, often through workshops on the latest document management technologies or best practices in information governance. The pace of work and the level of technology use can vary significantly depending on the size and structure of the company.

Advancement Prospects

A Records Manager can advance to senior management roles within the information management sector, such as Chief Information Officer (CIO) or Director of Information Management. This progression typically involves taking on larger projects, demonstrating strategic planning skills, and showcasing an ability to innovate in records management practices.

To accomplish these advancements, a Records Manager should focus on mastering digital records management systems, understanding compliance and risk management, and developing expertise in data privacy laws. Gaining experience in leading cross-functional teams and projects is crucial.

Specializing in industries with complex records management needs, like healthcare or government, can also open doors to higher-level positions. These sectors often require nuanced understanding of specific regulations and standards, positioning a Records Manager for roles that influence organizational strategy and compliance.


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