Supervisor vs Manager…is there a difference? This is one of the most common job title questions asked on Google (4,500 people per month ask it!).

I researched leading companies to see how they handle the “supervisor vs manager” question.

Here’s what I found:

Supervisor vs Manager — are they the same?

Some companies use manager and supervisor interchangeably, other use one or the other, and some use both. Here is a quick overview table of how 100+ leading organizations treat managers vs. supervisors:

Manager vs Supervisor Comparison

SupervisorManager
more administrativemore strategic
has an internal focushas an external focus
oversees a team and its expensescreates budget, team size, and objectives
manages certain expensesmanages entire budgets 
reports expenses to a managerreports on company ROI based on expenses
assigns tasks and implementsdevelops a mission
recommends hires/firesmakes hiring/firing decisions
hires staff according to a plandevelops structure
interacts with their own team membersreports across departments
guides individualsguides groups
reports to a managerapproves decisions for a supervisor
supports 1 unit or team’s goalsupports the organizational goal
reports on progress of goalssets overall goals

What is a supervisor?

A supervisor’s role is usually to oversee a single team to achieve a goal within budget. They might have enormous administrative authority within their group but their decisions are usually approved by someone in management (e.g. a “manager”).

What is a manager?

A manager usually sets goals for a team or business functino with an eye towards achieving an ROI (return on investment). Their role is usually more strategic than a supervisor including communicating with the rest of the larger organization.

Manager versus Supervisor titles by Department

The use of managers vs supervisor varies by department. When I researched 100+ common business functions on Indeed.com, I found the following breakdown by % for the use of manager vs supervisor titles.

DepartmentManagerSupervisor
Sales92%8%
IT97%3%
Marketing98%2%
HR51%49%
Finance78%22%

Industries that use Supervisor Titles

“Supervisor” titles are often used by blue-collar and larger companies, (more modern companies like the Facebooks, Microsofts, and Googles of the world use it less often).

IndustrySupervisor vs Manager Example
RetailA Warehouse Supervisor might report to the Warehouse Manager or Warehouse Lead.
ResortsAn Activities Recreation Supervisor might report to the Resort Manager.
Food & BeverageA Shift Supervisor might report to the Area Manager or Restaurant Manager.
TechA Help Desk Supervisor might report to the IT Manager.
GovernmentA Landscape Supervisor might report to the Facility Manager.
PharmaA Lab Supervisor might report to the Laboratory Manager.
EducationA School of Education Department Supervisor might report to the School of Education Administrator.

Manager vs Supervisor: Which is more senior?

An org chart-related question people often ask is:

“Which is higher: manager or supervisor?”

The answer is that if both a supervisor and manager role exist in an organization, the manager is almost always the senior role.

There might even be more than 1 level of managers before having a supervisor role. Here’s an example org chart of a marketing department where the marketing manager oversees 2 less-senior managers who manage the supervisors of the general marketing staff:

supervisor vs manager hierarchy example

Manager and Supervisor are Often the Same

In some cases, another word for supervisor could be manager. If you do a quick job search on LinkedIn for “supervisor” the results show the same exact job functions for both supervisors and managers (e.g. A Facilities Supervisor at one company and Facilities Manager at another company have the same exact job description).

Depending on the industry, (besides manager) another name for supervisor could be one of these other titles too:

  • Team Lead (startups)
  • Foreperson (construction)
  • Head (technology)
  • Administrator (education)
  • Superintendent (warehouse)

When you start considering different supervisor titles (supervisor versus manager) for your job postings, think about what the candidate will do, and let that guide your decision. The industry and department will affect which supervisor vs manager title you choose.

Now, for a list of supervisor titles to help you choose the best for your biz. The leadership titles you pick will be a part of your employer brand (your company’s reputation), so it’s an important choice.

When a “Manager” doesn’t manage people

Modern tech companies also use the word “manager” in titles that might not even be tasked with managing people.

For example, a social media manager (the #1 title in marketing) is often an individual contributor position.

Other examples are community manager and customer success manager. In these roles, the “managing” is for for a program or clients (not employees).

18 Examples of Supervisor & Manager Titles

There are hundreds of different supervisor titles, so I broke them into lists by department. I also included brands using the job titles for management.

Note: The top 5 leadership titles for each department are the most searched by candidates on Google each month (source: ahrefs.com).

Accounting supervisor titles

Here are 5 top supervisor and manager titles used for accounting job descriptions:

  • Accounting Manager (Allbirds)
  • Accounting Supervisor (Conduent)
  • Audit Manager (Zoom)
  • AP Manager (Dice)
  • AR Manager (Zoom)

Communications & PR supervisor titles

These are the top 5 manager and supervisor titles for PR and communications jobs:

  • Communications Manager (Autodesk)
  • Marketing Communications Manager (Microsoft)
  • PR Manager (Amazon)
  • Media Relations Manager (Google)
  • Internal Communications Manager (Facebook)

Call Center supervisor titles

Here are 5 top supervisor and manager titles for call centers:

  • Call Center Supervisor (Mercer)
  • Call Center Manager (Accenture)
  • Call Center Operations Manager (VetJobs)
  • Contact Center Manager (Aramark)
  • Call Center Quality Assurance Manager (CVS)

Customer Service supervisor titles

This is a list of 5 manager and supervisor titles for customer service roles:

  • Customer Service Manager (CSM) (Westrock)
  • Customer Success Manager (Adobe)
  • Call Center Supervisor (Cigna)
  • Implementation Manager (ADP)
  • Relationship Manager (Intercom)

Cyber Security supervisor titles

Here’s 5 top manager and supervisor job titles for cyber security:

  • Information Security Manager (Facebook)
  • Cyber Security Manager (HPE)
  • SOC Manager (DocuSign)
  • Cyber Security Product Manager (Mastercard)
  • Security Operations Center Manager (Cummins)

Design management titles

These 5 supervisor and manager titles are the most-searched in design:

  • Design Manager (Samsung)
  • Design Lead (Walmart Labs)
  • Art Production Manager (Fossil)
  • Creative Lead (Google)
  • Senior Design Manager (SEPHORA)

Diversity management job titles

This is a list of the top 5 diversity and inclusion supervisor and manager titles:

  • Diversity Manager (Verizon)
  • Diversity and Inclusion Manager (Disney)
  • Culture Manager (IKEA)
  • Employment Equity Manager (Toyota)
  • Diversity and Inclusion Program Manager (WhatsApp)

Engineering management titles

Here’s 5 top engineering manager and supervisor titles:

  • Engineering Manager (Redfin)
  • Software Engineering Manager (Zillow)
  • Mechanical Engineering Manager (Lyft)
  • Industrial Engineering Manager (Ulta Beauty)
  • Sales Engineering Manager (Google)

Facilities supervisor titles

Here are 5 top supervisor and manager titles for facilities job descriptions:

  • Facilities Manager (Wells Fargo)
  • Building Manager (Uber)
  • Facilities Maintenance Manager (Tesla)
  • Facilities Maintenance Supervisor (Leatherman Tool Group)
  • Facilities Supervisor (Hilton)

Finance supervisor titles

These are the top 5 manager and supervisor titles for finance:

  • Finance Manager
  • Purchasing Manager
  • Payroll Manager
  • Risk Manager
  • FP&A Manager

Human Resources supervisor titles

These 5 supervisor manager titles for HR are the most-searched by candidates:

  • HR Manager
  • Training Manager
  • Facilities Manager
  • Payroll Manager
  • Talent Acquisition Manager

IT management job titles & IT supervisor titles

Here are 5 supervisor manager titles for IT management:

  • IT Manager (Self)
  • IT Supervisor (Tesla)
  • IT Lead (Johnson & Johnson)
  • Information Technology Manager (Dell)
  • Information Technology Supervisor (AT&T)

Legal supervisor job titles

This is a list of 5 manager supervisor titles for legal job descriptions:

  • Compliance Manager (DocuSign)
  • Legal Manager (Wells Fargo)
  • Regulatory Compliance Manager (AT&T)
  • Contract Compliance Manager (Sysco)
  • Senior Manager Legal (Slack)

Marketing supervisor titles

These 5 marketing manager supervisor titles are searched the most by candidates on Google:

  • Marketing Manager (Spotify)
  • Brand Manager (Apple)
  • Product Marketing Manager (DocuSign)
  • Digital Marketing Manager (Airbnb)
  • Advertising Manager (Macy’s)

Operations supervisor titles

Here’s a list of 5 top supervisor and manager titles for operations:

  • Operations Manager (Amazon)
  • Sr. Manager Business Operations & Strategy (SurveyMonkey)
  • Manager of Operations (JPMorganChase Bank)
  • Operations Supervisor (DoorDash)
  • Office Operations Manager (Goodwill)

Product Management supervisor titles

These 5 manager supervisor titles are the most-searched in product management:

  • Product Manager (YouTube)
  • Associate Product Manager (Workday)
  • Senior Product Manager (Walmart)
  • Product Development Manager (Robinhood)
  • Group Product Manager (Linkedin)

Sales supervisor titles

This is a list of the top 5 sales supervisor and manager titles for job descriptions:

  • Sales Manager (Saleforce)
  • Sales Lead (Nordstrom)
  • Sales Supervisor (AAA)
  • Regional Sales Manager (AT&T)
  • Business Development Manager (SurveyMonkey)

Warehouse supervisor titles

Here are 5 top manager supervisor titles used for warehouse job descriptions:

  • Warehouse Manager
  • Logistics Manager (Beyond Meat)
  • Warehouse Supervisor (PepsiCo)
  • Logistics Supervisor (Peloton Interactive)
  • Shipping Supervisor (Target)

Suggestions for Manager & Supervisor Titles

If you don’t find the right supervisor and manager titles in this blog, Ongig’s Text Analyzer also gives job title suggestions to help improve your job title SEO.

supervisor titles facilities

Funny Manager & Supervisor Titles

What’s an article on supervisor titles without a list of funny job titles for management. Here are 10 of our favorite creative and funny leadership titles. Enjoy!

  • Money Maestro (Accounting Manager)
  • BD to the Bone (Business Development Manager)
  • Captain Under-Appreciated (Office Manager)
  • Chief Chatter (Call Center Manager)
  • Chief Heart Officer (HR Manager)
  • Culture & Geek Resource Manager (HR Manager)
  • Conversation Architect (Digital Marketing Manager)
  • Direct Marketing Demi-God (Direct Marketing Account Manager)
  • Mass Bit Manipulator (IT Manager)
  • Social Sensei (Social Media Manager)

You’ll find more funny job titles for all levels of the job title hierarchy in our blog 100+ Creative & Funny Job Titles [by Department & Position]. If you’d like to see the most effective job titles to use to attract talent, check out our free Ongig’s Job Titles: The Definitive Guide.

Why I wrote this?

Ongig is on a mission to transform job descriptions. A vital piece of that is job titles. So we spend a lot of time thinking about titles. All of our logic about job titles and beyond is built into Ongig’s Text Analyzer software. Click the “request demo”button to learn more.

Shout-Outs

  1. Manager vs Supervisor: What’s the Difference? (by Indeed Editorial Team)
  2. Supervisor vs Manager: What’s the difference? (by TALMUNDO)
  3. 450 Job Titles for Professional Positions [Current & Desired] (by Tom Gerencer)
  4. Management Jobs: Options, Job Titles, and Descriptions (by Alison Doyle)

by in Job Titles

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