Strategic management is about helping to set the direction of an organisation.
As a manager in a strategic role, you could be setting objectives for the organisation and creating the routes towards reaching these goals.
You would be responsible for planning and implementing change and likely to be a senior leader.
Job roles will vary depending on the organisation, but essentially have responsibility for the successful delivery of a range of services within the organisation. In the NHS, your role in strategic management will certainly involve:
- leading people
- resource and budget management
- working with clinical colleagues and cross-functional teams to improve the way in which services are delivered
- consulting patients and the public
- focusing on how the NHS can be modernised to meet patients’ needs.
Your role could range from being responsible for a whole service division of staff and a multi-million pound budget in a hospital trust to managing primary care or mental health services over a wide geographical area and across many sites.
Roles in strategic management
Examples of roles in strategic management include:
In this example, you’d be working in a large acute trust and would play a pivotal role in shaping and transforming the future of the trust. It would initially focus on delivering benefits in an area such as diagnostic imaging services, working with clinicians and managers and then move into wider clinical or non-clinical areas.
This is a varied and challenging example of a role working in primary care and would give you the opportunity to develop unique services for people often excluded from planning.
Working with a range of services, you’d be responsible for ensuring that the differing needs of the community were met efficiently. The role would involve commissioning and developing healthcare services for a variety of groups, such as:
- HM prison
- asylum seekers
- black and ethnic communities
- as well as developing smoking cessation services.
Based in a mental health trust, you would be an executive director and play a significant role in shaping the future mental health services and social care provision. You would offer a board overview of new developments in specific areas such as the child and adolescent service and regional women’s forensic services.
You would be based in a high profile directorate within one of England’s largest mental health trusts. This directorate forms a key part of the NHS's plans to reform the management, assessment and treatment of high risk patients thought to be dangerous and severely personality disordered (DSPD).
As a member of the directorate management, you’d provide strategic support and professional guidance, while managing a multi-million pound budget and over 300 people.
Want to learn more?
- Find out more about the entry requirements, skills and interests required to enter a career in strategic management
- Find out more about the training you’ll receive for a career in strategic management
Pay and conditions
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Most jobs in the NHS are covered by the Agenda for Change (AfC) pay scales. This pay system covers all staff except doctors, dentists and the most senior managers.
Although you could work your way up from administrative and supervisory roles in between bands 3-6, working in a strategic management role in the NHS your salary would typically be around AfC bands 8 and 9. There would be opportunities at director level, some of which would be on the Very Senior Managers pay scales, typically in excess of £100,000 per year.
Staff in the NHS will usually work a standard 37.5 hours per week.
Terms and conditions of service can vary for employers outside the NHS.
Where the role can lead
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With further training and/or experience, you may be able to develop your career further and apply for more senior managerial roles.
Progression for those with ability is typically via operational management in a large hospital.
Relocation for promotion is common.
More diverse routes are now opening up, for example, jointly-funded posts between health and social services.
Graduates from the NHS Graduate Management Training Scheme are expected to gain rapid promotion.
Management qualifications, such as an MBA (Master of Business of Administration) or DMS (Diploma in Management Studies) may be an advantage for some posts.
Job market and vacancies
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When you’re looking for managerial jobs or apprenticeship vacancies, there are a number of sources you can use, depending on the type of and level of work you’re seeking.
Check vacancies carefully to be sure you can meet the requirements of the person specification before applying and to find out what the application process is. You may need to apply online or send a C.V. for example.
There is an annual recruitment round for the NHS Graduate Management Training Scheme. Visit the Scheme’s website for details
Key sources relevant to vacancies in the health sector:
- vacancies in organisations delivering NHS healthcare can be found on the NHS Jobs website
- opportunities in the Civil Service can be found on the Civil Service Jobs website
- vacancies in local government can be found on the Local Government Jobs website and the Jobs Go Public website
- vacancies for apprenticeships appear on the Gov.uk website
As well as these sources, you may find suitable vacancies in the health sector by contacting local employers directly, searching in local newspapers and by using the Universal Jobmatch tool.
Volunteering is an excellent way of gaining experience (especially if you don’t have enough for a specific paid job you’re interested in) and also seeing whether you’re suited to a particular type of work. It’s also a great way to boost your confidence and you can give something back to the community!
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