Category Manager Salary
Job Description for Category Manager
A category manager determines the layout of products in a store, using sophisticated demographic data to assess possible product assortment schemes, select an option, ensure the selected scheme is employed, and monitor the scheme's performance. Along with organizing a product assortment scheme, a category manager also creates charts and diagrams so that the company's annual plans are broken down into seasonal and monthly assortment change calendars.Read More...
Along with dealing with product assortment, a category manager also performs several key marketing duties, such as assessing display tactics, figuring out product pricing, and determining how the product is promoted and advertised. Along with marketing duties, a category manager also works with suppliers to ensure that the proper number of products are being ordered, to ensure contract compliance with suppliers and manufacturers, and to ensure that products are of agreed-upon quality. A category manger also works closely with executives and directors within the company to assess budget impacts and make sure that product assortments match company strategy and policy. Most category mangers usually responsible for a specific product category or department in multiple stores; to make sure product assortments match those stores' needs, the category manager travels frequently.
Most category manager positions require successful applicants to have a bachelor's degree in business, marketing, or a related field. Previous experience as a category manager typically is preferred.
Category Manager Tasks
- Manage, improve and recommend the product assortment for the company.
- Verify plans and provide explanations for variances in budgeted sales and gross profit.
- Identify leverage opportunities, work with procurement, negotiate contracts, supply agreements and programs.
- Develop annual category plans which include current situation analysis, vision and strategy and specific category plans.
- Narrow categories and work with suppliers to narrow products supplied to the company.
Common Career Paths for Category Manager
There are some Category Managers — though it's uncommon — that transition into Senior Product Managers, where earnings are an average $124K annually. A lot of Category Managers advance their careers by becoming Business Development Managers and National Account Managers. However, those positions offer $8K less and $1K less per year on average.
Category Manager Job Listings
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Popular Employer Salaries for Category Manager
Category Managers flock to Kraft Foods, Inc. for generous paychecks, where average earnings of $114K lead the pack in compensation.
With a median salary of only $40K (183 percent less than the top paying company), Victoria's Secret lags significantly in the earnings department.
Popular Skills for Category Manager
Survey results imply that Category Managers deploy a deep pool of skills on the job. Most notably, skills in Sourcing, Contract Negotiation, Project Management, and Market Research are correlated to pay that is above average, with boosts between 5 percent and 15 percent. At the other end of the pay range are skills like Merchandising, Marketing Management, and Microsoft Word. Most people skilled in Data Analysis are similarly competent in Negotiation and Contract Negotiation.
Pay by Experience Level for Category Manager
Median of all compensation (including tips, bonus, and overtime) by years of experience.
Experience does not seem to be a strong driver of pay increase in this role. Salaries for the relatively untried average out to around $73K, but survey participants with five to 10 years of experience earn a significantly higher median of $90K. The average pay reported by folks with 10 to 20 years of experience is around $98K. More than 20 years of experience mean a somewhat bigger median paycheck of $102K, but it's not much more than what less experienced people make.
Pay Difference by Location
Category Managers will find that Chicago offers an impressive pay rate, one which exceeds the national average by 31 percent. Category Managers can also look forward to large paychecks in cities like Houston (+18 percent), Seattle (+12 percent), Pleasanton (+9 percent), and Los Angeles (+8 percent). Cincinnati is the lowest-paying area, 14 percent south of the national average. Memphis and Phoenix are a couple other places where companies are known to pay below the median — salaries are 13 percent lower and 6 percent lower, respectively.