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Management Trainees

California Occupational Guide Number 59
Interest Area 11


In every industry there is a need for managerial staff.  From first-line
supervisors to top executives, managers plan and direct the work of the
organization, set policy, establish channels of communication, and evaluate
the work that is done.  These functions require knowledge, skills, and
judgment that are most effectively developed on the job.

To prepare individuals for management responsibilities, many companies use
MANAGEMENT TRAINEE positions.  These positions are most often found in
finance, trade, manufacturing, and in government agencies.  Depending on the
business, the position may also be referred to as marketing trainee,
purchasing trainee, accounting trainee, or management intern.  Whatever the
title, the purpose of the position is the same: to qualify individuals for
management functions within the organization.

Specific duties of a Management Trainee vary widely according to the nature
of the industry and the individual firm employing the trainee.  Very often,
a trainee's assignments are rotated among the various departments in order
to develop familiarity with the whole organization and its functions.
Trainees may also get classroom instruction in subjects related to their
rotational experience.  Instruction may include lectures, guest speakers,
projects, oral presentations, and tests.

A Management Trainee hired by a department store may spend several months
working as a clerk in one or more of the sales departments, followed by
additional time working in customer services, purchasing, merchandising, and
personnel departments, for example.  In a bank, the trainee may work briefly
as a teller, handle new accounts, and then work at one of the loan desks
before moving on to other assignments.

Many firms have formal written training programs which lay out the
instruction and types of assignments the trainee will receive.  They also
specify times for periodic evaluation of the trainee's performance.
Management traineeships may range in length from six months to five years.


A Management Trainee should be prepared to work in a variety of situations.
Depending on the industry, the setting may be a large office with many
people, a workshop, or a department in a retail store.  Trainees may at
times work as members of a team and at other times may work alone on an
assignment.  They are under close supervision and constant monitoring of
their performance.  Management Trainees employed in a restaurant or
department store are on their feet for most of their shift.  Many of them
have to perform some of the same duties of their subordinates, such as
lifting objects that weigh up to 50 pounds, cleaning, shelving, and serving
food.  They must deal with all types of customers.  Their work schedules may
vary each week.

They are under pressure to perform well to qualify for advancement.  Travel
and time away from home be part of the job.  Management Trainees may also be
required to relocate once they complete their training.


The following information is from the California Projections of Employment
published by the Labor Market Information Division.  These figures represent
the broad occupational group Managers and Administrators, Not Elsewhere
Classified (NEC) which includes Management Trainees.

Estimated number of workers in 1993               80,210
Estimated number of workers in 2005              102,190
Projected Growth 1993-2005                           27%
Estimated openings due to separations by 2005     24,040

(These figures do not include self-employment or openings due to turnover.)

Not all of these positions were filled by Management Trainees, and many of
these positions will continue to be filled by managers and supervisors of
all levels.  Continued need for Management Trainees will be affected by
technological advances, plant expansions, increase in sales volume, changes
in job requirements, and the trend toward flatter organizational structures
that eliminate some management levels.  


Salaries earned by Management Trainees vary widely and depend on factors
such as individual qualifications, size and location of firm, and type of
industry, but the median wage for all Other Managers and Administrators is
$25.52 per hour.  Hourly earnings for Food Service Management Trainees can
start at minimum wage.

Management Trainees get the same fringe benefits as other employees in the
same industry. These generally include paid vacation and sick leave, medical,
dental, vision, and life insurance, and pension plans.  In some companies,
profit sharing or employee stock matching features may also be part of the
benefits package.  Management Trainees usually work 40 to 50 hours a week,
Monday through Friday.  Management Trainees in restaurants and department
stores generally work on weekends and holidays, and evening hours.  


A bachelor's degree is the usual minimum requirement to qualify for a
Management Trainee position.  Occasionally, individuals, with experience in
an industry such as food services, may advance to a Management Trainee
position.  Some firms also look for people with master's degrees to fill
their trainee openings.   Firms may also require that applicants have a
certain minimum grade point average.

Depending on the industry they hope to work in, students should work toward
degrees in business, public administration, engineering, or the sciences.
Many companies also consider liberal arts degrees or a liberal arts minor
with a business or engineering degree to be valuable.

In addition to a good scholastic record, employers look for indications of
leadership such as participation in student government or other
extracurricular activities.  Applicants for Management Trainee jobs must
show themselves to be  mature, adaptable, analytical, and capable of working
well with others.  They should have good organizational and communication

Some employers use psychological and aptitude tests to aid in selecting
applicants.  Public agencies require civil service exams, usually both
written and oral.


Promotion is the goal of management training.  The jobs open to those who
complete a Management Trainee program depend on the sort of industry
employing them, as well as individual interests and aptitudes.  Examples of
these opportunities include operations supervisor in a bank and sales
manager, credit manager, or customer service manager in a retail store.
Promotion often depends on ability and willingness to travel or relocate.


Many employers depend heavily on campus recruiting and referrals from
college career placement bureaus to fill Management Trainee openings.
Classified ads in newspapers and private and public employment agencies are
also means for finding job openings. 

Those seeking jobs in management should also apply directly to employers.
Job seekers should also register with the nearest California Employment
Development Department Workforce Services Offices.  Best opportunities for
Management Trainees are found with large banks, insurance companies,
department stores, and restaurant chains.


Career College Association 
(Vocational Education)
750 1st St., NE, Ste. 900
Washington, DC 20002
(202) 336-6700

Educational Foundation of the National 
Restaurant Association
250 South Wacker Dr., Suite 1400
Chicago, IL  60606-5834
(312) 715-1010

American Management Association International
1601 Broadway
New York, NY 10019-7420
(800) 262-9699     Fax: (212) 903-8168


Retail Store Managers               No. 242
Food Service Managers               No. 503


DOT (Dictionary of Occupational Titles, 4th Ed.,1991)
Management Trainee              189.167-018

OES (Occupational Employment Statistics) System
Managers and Administrators, NEC     199990

Source: State of California, Employment Development Department,
        Labor Market Information Division, Information Services Group,
        (916) 262-2162.

Note:  This is NOT a job opening.  The purpose of This California Occupational Guide is to provide you with useful information to help you make career decisions.   If you are searching for a job, go to:

California Occupational Guides

California Employment Development Department   >>   Labor Market Information   >>   More Occupational Guides