what is a contracts manager?

A contracts manager is responsible for drafting, executing and managing contracts for a company. That means you need expertise in contract regulations to help your employer negotiate favourable terms and conditions with third parties. You also draw up the legal documents and oversee the execution of contractual obligations by all parties.

Your duties depend on the organisation's size. For instance, contracts managers are responsible for all aspects of contracts, from legal compliance to negotiations in small companies. However, large companies often have a dedicated legal team to handle legal issues and regulatory compliance. That means a contracts manager is only responsible for executing the contract terms.

what does a contracts manager do?

You can work in any industry as a contracts manager since contracts are vital for business operations. Manufacturing industries need agreements when hiring contractors, acquiring goods and employing workers. Retail sectors need contracts managers to ensure companies fulfil obligations to customers and suppliers. As a contracts manager, you encourage better functioning and improve business outcomes by negotiating favourable terms. You also evaluate the ability to meet contractual obligations and adjust your goals towards achieving the targets. 

Would working as a contracts manager suit your negotiation skills? Then read on to find out what competencies and qualifications you need to thrive in a contracts manager role.

contracts manager jobs

average salary of a contracts manager

According to ONS, a contracts manager in the UK earns an average salary of £42,001 per year. At an entry-level position, your starting salary is £30,000 a year. As you gain experience, your salary goes as high as £60,000. Contracts managers enjoy health allowances, transport allowances and other perks on top of the base salary. Some companies offer end-year bonuses or pay for overtime work. You can also enjoy non-monetary benefits like vacation days.

how to increase your salary as a contracts manager

Your salary as a contracts manager varies depending on the scope of your role and industry. Contracts managers working in construction rarely earn the same amount as those in retail or manufacturing. Construction involves numerous contracts, which increases the complexity of your job. The compensation package reflects the complexity and scope of work. For instance, dealing with government contracts attracts premium pay since mistakes lead to penalties.

Large companies often pay more since they require additional qualifications and experience from contracts managers. Smaller organisations usually pay less, but the scope of work gives you plenty of experience in various aspects of contracts management. Private sectors also pay more compared to government jobs.

Female with blue blazer holding a touch pen and a tablet, sitting at a desk
Female with blue blazer holding a touch pen and a tablet, sitting at a desk

types of contracts managers

Some of the types of contracts managers include:

  • construction contracts manager: the construction sector grapples with challenging contract management processes. As a contracts manager, you assist in planning and drafting contracts based on the regulations. You ensure a building has the necessary permissions before construction work commences.
  • commercial contracts manager: businesses deal with high volumes of contracts that manage their relationships with customers and suppliers. Your job is to create and negotiate the contracts to ensure business operations run smoothly.
  • manufacturing contracts manager: as a manufacturing contracts manager, you deal with complex and ever-changing regulations related to manufacturing. To minimise risks, you need to ensure adherence to the legislation when drafting and negotiating contracts. You also analyse and evaluate the execution of the contracts to ensure both parties meet their obligations when production commences.

working as a contracts manager

Contracts managers play a crucial role in ensuring stakeholders honour agreements and keep their word. Let's explore the working conditions and job outlook of contracts managers.


education and skills

There are several routes for joining the contracts manager career, including:

  • university degree: you can pursue a foundation degree, Higher National Diploma (HND), or an undergraduate university course. Your course should cover contracts law. Some of the courses to pursue include contract management or business management. If you want to be a contracts manager for the construction industry only, a course in construction management or building studies is a great start. For the foundation degree and HND, you need 1 or 2 A-Levels, while an undergraduate degree requires 2 or 3 A Levels.
  • apprenticeship: you can enrol for a higher apprenticeship in contracts management or construction management. You need 4 to 5 GCSEs or 3 A Levels for the apprenticeship. Aside from the coursework, you need to work 30 hours a week.
  • work experience: to get a contracts manager job, you should have work experience in monitoring and negotiating contracts. You can gain experience through internships or working as a contracts assistant.

skills and competencies

While you need educational qualifications, most employers are interested in contracts managers with technical skills and competencies such as:

  • interpersonal skills: as a contracts manager, you liaise with many people when creating contracts and negotiating terms. You also rely on the expertise of various employees in the company to develop favourable agreements. That means you need interpersonal skills to work with a team and maintain good relationships.
  • communication skills: when negotiating terms or evaluating tenders, you need exceptional communications skills. You should communicate clearly to everyone, from top management to vendors and employees. Communication skills also help you in contract executions and evaluation.
  • technical skills: as a contracts manager, it is important to have expert industry knowledge. The technical knowledge assists in identifying the best tenders and reviewing industry requirements in contracts. For instance, in construction, you need to know the necessary permits and the contract terms for contractors and project managers.
  • attention to detail: contractual agreements may have loopholes that put the company at a disadvantage, and it is your job to identify the gaps. You need to be detail-oriented to identify unfavourable clauses or mistakes.
two colleagues sitting and having conversation
two colleagues sitting and having conversation


FAQs about working as a contracts manager

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