What Is a Resource Manager? A Career Guide

Written by Coursera • Updated on

Find out if resource management is a good fit for you by learning what resource managers do, their benefits, and how it compares to similar careers.

[Featured image]. rRsource manager takes notes in front of a laptop computer

What Is a Resource Manager? A Career Guide

A resource manager is responsible for managing a company's resources, such as personnel, finances, and assets. Careers in resource management are a popular choice with great benefits for those who are detail-oriented and have a knack for seeing the bigger picture. Resource managers are often able to use these skills to create safe, efficient, and happy work environments. 

Learn more about what resource management is, what sets it apart, and what steps to take to join this field. 

What is resource management?

Resource management involves managing a company's resources. This can include planning how and when a company uses its resources and overseeing the roll-out of each project. Examples include:

  • Deciding how much money goes to each project

  • Determining how many staff members are necessary for specific tasks

  • Recruiting team members to fill skill gaps

  • Allocating the type of technology used in a project or program

The exact resources you manage will depend on the position, so it's important to look at the job description carefully to ensure it's the right fit for you.

Resource manager job description 

In a resource management position, you’ll decide how to allocate your company's resources to promote its short- and long-term success. This includes any resource needed to complete a task or project, including improving employee skill sets, funding, workplace tools, and more. Resources managers are often involved in project coordination and development across multiple sectors, so building project management, communication, and organization skills can help you succeed in this position.

Resource manager vs. human resources manager

A human resource manager is a type of resource manager with a specialization in people-oriented management. Human resources managers are in charge of tasks such as recruiting employees, determining salaries, training employees, and keeping track of employee performance. The main goal of a human resources manager is generally to keep the organization a safe, productive, and healthy place for the workers. 

On the other hand, a resource manager has a more general focus and typically looks at a range of resources across multiple projects. This may also involve human resources, such as employee time and skills, but resource managers will not specialize in this area. They’ll often collaborate with human resource managers when building a project team.

Read more: What Is a Human Resources Manager? | Your Guide

Resource manager vs. project manager

While resource and project managers often work together closely, they're not the same. Project managers are typically in charge of one project and work to coordinate every step from initial planning phases to implementation. Often, they coordinate with multiple stakeholders to ensure the project is on track to meet the goals set out by all parties involved. Project management goals include client satisfaction, staying within the budget, and delivering the project deliverables by the deadline.

Resource managers often assist project managers in finding the needed resources to make the project a success. They may do this across multiple projects at one time. Resource managers determine what people to involve in the project, the funding and materials needed to make the project a success, and the project timeline.

Read more: What Is a Project Manager? A Career Guide

Resource manager duties and responsibilities

As a resource manager, your duties and responsibilities will vary greatly depending on where you work. You may be in charge of various tasks across different projects for a smaller company. For a large company, you will likely have training in a specialized area and have more streamlined job duties. Typical responsibilities and duties for a resource manager may include:

  • Allocating employee time and company resources to projects

  • Ensuring the company has the resources needed for upcoming tasks

  • Managing employee workload and workflow

  • Ensuring adherence to company regulations

  • Overcoming resource shortages through creative planning 

  • Organizing current project resource flow and scheduling future resources

  • Collaborating with the human resources departments and project managers

  • Documenting resource use and planning

Skills of a resource manager 

As a resource manager, you need various technical and workplace skills to manage projects and teams efficiently. Part of your job will likely involve anticipating obstacles and finding solutions, so it's essential to be able to communicate your thoughts and ideas clearly with other employees. In addition to this, being able to organize the details of each project and how they fit together will help you do your job well. You may use the following technical and workplace skills as a resource manager.

Technical skills 

While the exact technical skills required for different positions will vary, resource managers typically rely on basic computer skills to use project management and resource planning software. They use software to track resources and project progress, manage information, and collect project data. While you can technically keep track of this information by hand, digitalizing helps avoid mistakes and makes sharing data much more convenient.

Basic math skills are also helpful when budgeting or managing resource flow. For example, if you order 50 computers and give one team 20 of them, it will be helpful to be able to compute that you have 30 left. Managers make many of these computations on the computer, but having basic math skills helps you check your work and avoid accidental mistakes. 

Workplace skills

As a resource manager, clear communication is an important skills. You will often need to communicate with other employees about their projects and which resources will go to each section. Sharing your recommendations and each step of the decision-making process effectively can avoid miscommunications and keep everyone on the same page. 

When allocating resources, you will need to be ethical, fair, and organized, especially when resources are short and you cannot meet the initial demands of each project. When this happens, you’ll have the creative task of determining how to best prioritize and reallocate resources.

Being detail-oriented is another critical skill for resource managers. Whether you are working on one project or multiple, organizing the flow of resources and information in an organized way will help make sure nothing gets overlooked.

Resource management might be a great career fit if these skills sound like ones that come naturally to you. Companies of all sizes rely on resource managers to help them sustain and grow. 

How to become a resource manager

If you want to make yourself stand out when trying to get a position in resource management, demonstrate you have the skills needed to manage a project’s or company’s resources effectively. Showing experience working with budgets, managing teams, and communicating with diverse audiences can help show you’re the right candidate. 

Get a bachelor’s degree.

Employers typically require at least a bachelor’s degree to become a resource manager. According to Zippia, 64 percent of resource managers have a bachelor’s degree, and 16 percent have an associate[1]. A degree in business management, project management, or economics can help demonstrate your relevant skills. Focusing on industry-specific skills like resource management and project planning can make you a competitive option during the hiring process. 

Gain work experience. 

There is a growing demand for resource managers. Getting entry-level experience in management can show that you’re passionate about the field and demonstrate your competitive skills. This can also help you find higher-earning positions that require more experience and demonstrated skill.

Salary and career outlook  

Resource management is an expanding field with great benefits and exciting growth opportunities. According to Glassdoor, resource managers in the US make an average of $81,504 per year. This is well above the national average, with much room for growth in this field. The top resource managers make around $128,494 per year, and much of this salary increase is dependent on experience. The job outlook for human resource management, a subfield of resource management, is expected to grow by12.8 percent in the coming years.[2]

Compared with similar jobs, resource managers make similar amounts. Median averages to expect from related careers are:

All salary data is sourced from Glassdoor as of November 2022

  • Manager (US): $70,704

  • Senior manager (US): $120,906

  • Lead manager (US): $68,388

  • Project manager (US): $84,959

  • Human resource manager (US): $75,477

  • Senior human resources generalist (US): $87,735

Next steps 

If you believe that becoming a resource manager is right for you, building skills in the area is a great place to start. Certificates and courses on Coursera, such as the Global Leadership and Human Resource Management MasterTrack Certificate offered by Macquarie University or Linux: Processes & System Resource Management for DevOps can help you get started. Take some time to build basic skills and find what areas of resource management appeal the most to you. 


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Linux: Processes & System Resource Management for DevOps

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Article sources


Zippia. “Resource Manager Education Requirements,   https://www.zippia.com/resource-manager-jobs/education/.” Accessed November 1, 2022.

Written by Coursera • Updated on

This content has been made available for informational purposes only. Learners are advised to conduct additional research to ensure that courses and other credentials pursued meet their personal, professional, and financial goals.

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