The role of a contracts manager should not be confused with that of a procurement manager. While both require a thorough knowledge of administration, accounting, contract law, management and planning, the job of a procurement manager is related to evaluating and selecting suppliers based on their price, reliability and availability. However, a contracts manager comes into the picture before the deal is finalised and is instrumental in negotiating major contracts.
As a contracts manager, you will be required to prepare and issue solicitations, bids and proposals competently and analyse the terms and conditions of a proposal or contract. Additionally, you are expected to have in-depth knowledge of government as well as commercial contracts, agreements and terms and conditions. During the course of negotiating a contract, a contracts manager is required to provide input when proposals are being prepared and negotiated and also make sure that all obligations of the contract are met and carried out in a manner that represents a balance between the interests of the company and good customer relations. As a contracts manager you also have to execute all the assigned contracts in accordance with the policies and legal requirements of the company and see that they meet government and customer provisions.
Education and experience
Those seeking to become a contracts manager will need a university degree. An MBA or legal qualification is often given more preference. In addition to educational qualifications, you will also need two to five years of experience that could be either general or contract related. In many cases, if you have the latter, you will have a higher chance of landing a better job. To improve your chances of getting hired as a contracts manager, consider obtaining professional contract management certification.
Skills and attributes
Apart from educational qualifications and related work experience, companies choose people who exhibit traits desirable for the role of contracts manager, such as great communication and interpersonal skills, along with the ability to mediate and negotiate well. Since a major part of a contracts manager job deals with negotiating and finalising contracts for your division, you should be able to set goals, prioritise your tasks and complete them on time. You also should have an eye for detail and be committed to high standards of quality.
As of 2014, the starting salary for a contracts manager is around £25,000 a year, according to the UK's National Careers Service. However, this can rise to around £40,000 to £50,000 a year for experienced contracts managers. Salaries vary depending on experience, qualifications, the size of the employer and other industry-related factors.
The job of a contracts manager requires a great deal of juggling and looking after multiple projects at the same time. It is also a job that comes with great responsibility. After all, you are helping the company negotiate a contract and a lot hinges on the way you carry the process through.