what is a programme manager?

A programme manager is responsible for operations in a company and progress towards its goals. Unlike working on a specific project in the company, you oversee all activities to ensure they run smoothly. You manage complex operations and ensure all interconnected parts work together to keep the business growing.

The programme manager role involves laying out the strategy for the organisational goals and managing the resources and people in the company. Hence, your job is to review production, come up with new projects and constantly develop new objectives to keep the business profitable.

programme manager job description

Since you focus on the company's vision, as a programme manager, you ensure all projects and activities contribute towards business success. You draw roadmaps with schedules and budgets and anticipate problems and complications that may occur. You collaborate with various teams within the organisations to ensure their projects are successful. For instance, you avail the necessary resources to product and project managers to speed the development of projects. With your bird's eye view of all aspects of the company, you can provide strategic guidance. 

As a programme manager, you work for large organisations in a fast-paced industry dealing with interconnected projects. You will have various statistical tools and techniques at your disposal to assist with analysis and developing organisational goals.

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

programme manager jobs

average salary of a programme manager

According to ONS, the average salary of a programme manager is £50,000 annually. When you are a junior programme manager, your compensation package starts at £38,968 per year. Senior programme managers make over £72,500 annually. Programme managers working in the private sector also receive multiple benefits, including bonuses and allowances.

In the public sector, programme managers manage teams tasked with providing public services and developing policies. According to National Careers, when you work for the government, your average salary per year ranges from £27,000 to £68,500.

what factors affect your salary as a programme manager?

A programme manager is part of the management. Hence, your earnings should reflect the responsibilities and complexity of your tasks. The scope of duties also requires high academic qualifications and experience levels. When you have additional certifications and years of experience, your earnings will be higher than programme managers joining the field.

Generally, only big companies that juggle interconnected projects and complex operations require programme managers. Since they have unlimited resources, your compensation package will be attractive. Improve your earnings by working for multinationals and private organisations since programme managers in the public sector earn less. The location also influences your compensation package due to the fluctuation of demand and cost of living. Large cities have better wages than smaller towns, and the salary reflects the standard of living in the region.

male smiling while sitting behind his desk, computer screens displaying programming code.
male smiling while sitting behind his desk, computer screens displaying programming code.

types of programme manager

As a programme manager, you can focus on serving internal and external teams or concentrate on the company's infrastructure and products.

  • internal programme manager: your focus is on initiatives that improve the performance of the company teams. For instance, you can create programmes that enhance productivity and performance, like introducing information technology resources.
  • external programme manager: you concentrate on projects that serve third-party partners and customers. Your job is to ensure business decisions don't have a negative impact on your clients. You also negotiate contracts and improve corporate social responsibility.
  • products and services programme managers: as a programme manager, you are involved in product planning and coordinate product delivery as per the schedule. You also identify bottlenecks and develop ways to improve efficiency.

working as a programme manager

A programme manager role allows you to simultaneously supervise and coordinate various projects. You also improve the efficiency and performance of different teams by providing the necessary resources.


education and skills

A programme manager position is competitive, and you need exceptional educational qualifications. Programme management requires a four-year degree in project management or business administration. While a bachelor's degree can get you a job, you need a master's in business administration or project management and strategic planning to land a job.

Aside from university qualifications, you need project management certifications and experience as a project manager. That means you must be proficient in using project management tools and software to manage programmes effectively.

skills and competencies

Some of the soft skills of a programme manager include:

  • resource management skills: as a programme manager, you need exceptional skills in allocating and identifying resources to ensure projects work as planned. That means you should have contingency plans that address risks and costs. For instance, you need backup plans if a contract falls through or the prices of materials increase at the beginning of a project.
  • negotiation skills: programmes involve various moving parts, and you need to negotiate contracts with suppliers and work with project managers. As a programme manager, negotiation skills help you sell ideas and influence other people to work towards your goals.
  • analytical skills: you need analytical skills to collect and integrate data from various programmes into your decision-making. Analytical skills also help you identify issues in the projects and find solutions.
  • leadership skills: as a programme manager, you need leadership and project management skills to turn project plans into realities. You can identify people's strengths and weaknesses and assign tasks appropriately with leadership skills. You also motivate and inspire team members throughout the programmes.
two colleagues working together in an office environment
two colleagues working together in an office environment


FAQs about working as a programme manager

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