Managerial Positions vs. Non-Managerial Positions: What's the Difference?

Updated March 10, 2023

To run a business, a company typically needs employees in various roles and different position levels to meet its goals and objectives. Usually, the hierarchy includes managerial roles and non-managerial roles, and while these positions differ, both are equally important to a company's success. Knowing more about these roles can help you develop professional capabilities, like management skills, to work in nearly any industry. In this article, we explore what managerial positions are in a company, what non-managerial positions are and six differences between these roles to help you better understand the organizational structure in business.

Related: What Is Management? Definitions and Functions

What are managerial positions?

Managerial positions are roles where a person oversees the job functions of another person or a group of people. Managers also might oversee the operation of a specific function within a company. For example, an accounting manager might lead a team of six accountants, whereas a production manager might oversee automated assembly lines. Most often, managers have a mix of responsibilities related to other employees and operational processes, and they help plan business strategies, create policies and lead company efforts.

Here are some examples of managerial roles:

  • Operations manager: An operations manager handles the day-to-day running of the business, like ensuring manufacturing equipment and processes operate smoothly.

  • Project manager: A project manager organizes and executes all aspects of a specific project or initiative, from inception to completion.

  • Financial manager: A financial manager oversees everything related to money, like accounting practices, invoices, taxes and payroll.

  • Facilities manager: A facilities manager takes care of the building and its accessibility, including any maintenance issues, and creates plans for employee and public safety should an incident occur on site.

  • Human resources manager: A human resources manager handles the recruitment, hiring and training of employees, any disciplinary actions and programs like health benefits and time off.

To earn a managerial position or get hired into one, you often need a certain number of years of experience, a degree or specific training. Within managerial roles, there are three primary levels:

Top-level managers

Employees at the top level of management typically oversee decision-making for the entire company or organization, shaping policy or executing change management measures. They may also sit on a company's board of directors or interact with media at events or press opportunities. Common examples of top-level managers include the chief executive officer (CEO), chief operating officer (COO), chief financial officer (CFO) and the chief security officer (CSO). The titles at C-level positions can vary by company, along with the number of them.

Mid-level managers

Employees in mid-level management roles typically oversee a department within an organization, acting as a link between C-suite executives and lower-level managers. These managers often have several years of experience in their field or transferable management skills. Common examples of mid-level managerial positions might include director of operations, project manager, head of human resources and social media manager.

Lower-level managers

Employees in lower-level managerial positions might supervise smaller teams or oversee specific aspects of an operation. They typically work more often with frontline employees and day-to-day operations, reporting to mid-level managers. Common examples of lower-level managers can include shift supervisor, foreperson, production line manager and branch leader.

Related: What Are the Responsibilities of a Manager?

What are non-managerial positions?

Non-managerial positions are essential to the company's mission and goals, though they have less responsibility, decision-making and accountability than managers. They can fill entry-level roles or even mid-level jobs, though they traditionally don't oversee other employees or specific functions entirely. Since there are so many different types of non-managerial roles, the amount of experience and education you need depends on the particular position and industry.

Here are some examples of non-managerial positions within different departments:

  • Financial: Cashiers, accountants and bank tellers

  • Administrative: Executive assistants, human resources coordinators and lobby clerks

  • Advertising and marketing: Copywriters, graphic artists and brand ambassadors

  • Information technology: IT coordinators, service desk analysts and support center specialists

  • Production: Shop floor employees, production line workers and maintenance technicians

  • Communications: Writers, social media representatives and junior editors

When working in a non-managerial role, you can expect to get guidance from your direct leaders, supervisors or managers. You often have performance reviews with your manager to go over how well you complete the responsibilities of your job description. Consider using your time in a non-managerial role to develop and hone skills to apply to future management positions, which may help you turn a job into a potential career path.

Related: How To Become a Manager

Managerial positions vs. non-managerial positions

There are several differences between managerial positions and non-managerial roles. While differences might vary based on a specific company, title or industry, here are six common distinctions between these roles:


The level of experience, education, skill and qualifications between managerial and non-managerial positions is a key difference between the two roles. Non-managers might require less education, experience or skills compared to department managers, for example. Employees in a managerial role likely have unique skills or expertise, higher levels of education and more experience in the field.

For example, an entry-level accountant might have a bachelor's degree in finance, an accounting license and some professional experience. Comparatively, to become a chief financial officer, you typically need a master's degree in accounting or finance, a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree or certified public accountant (CPA) designation and at least 10 years of industry experience.

Related: Management Skills: Definition and Examples


The salary for managers and non-managers is also a common difference. Because managers have a more critical role in organizations, they typically command a higher salary or compensation package compared to non-managers. Depending on the level of management you hold, your pay might differ compared to other managers within your organization. For example, a chief executive usually earns more than a director, who earns more than a supervisor. Non-managerial employees typically earn less income than those leading them.

Because a managerial career path has levels, you can grow your salary range as you move from low-level manager to senior executive, where a six-figure salary is often common. Depending on your industry, company, role, education and experience, other compensation elements like commissions, bonuses or equity might apply.


The responsibilities you have in your job vary between managers and non-managers. Those not in a management role traditionally have a limited amount of responsibilities and duties to execute and typically get guidance from supervisors and upper-level management to help achieve them. Conversely, those in managerial roles have broader responsibilities that help leaders assess and carry out operational or business goals. They create policies, ensure teams uphold procedures, collaborate with other departments and directly supervise a group of employees. While the responsibilities vary, both roles hold essential duties to the overall success of an organization.

Decision-making power

The level of decision-making power also differs. Employees typically have limited decision-making power unless they hold a managerial position. While their input often gets taken into consideration, they rarely hold the power to take action on a decision without guidance. Once you hold a manager role, you often have more influence and can make decisions autonomously or in collaboration with other leaders. For example, you might decide about vendor selection, service level agreement contracts, employee hiring choices, advertising campaigns or retail prices.


Non-managerial employees traditionally only have oversight of their own work and job responsibilities, like completing a task on time, sharing information to write a report or closing a certain number of sales contracts. Managerial employees oversee a group of employees to make sure they perform to the best of their ability and complete their job functions effectively. The performance of the entire team, along with their own work, is their responsibility.


The accountability and appraisal of managerial vs. non-managerial employees are different as well. Non-managerial employees are typically accountable for their own work and contributions to the department or company. A manager conducts their performance reviews and might handle pay raises, professional development or disciplinary actions. Those in managerial roles are accountable for the work of their entire team and traditionally report to a higher-level manager or executive. For example, a director of advertising might report directly to the chief marketing officer (CMO). The CMO likely handles their performance review and recommendation for raises, promotion or professional development.


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