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Commercial manager

Business project manager, commercial lead, project manager

Commercial managers are responsible for the budget and keep on top of all the costs involved in large-scale construction projects. They source the services and resources needed, negotiating costs with other suppliers. They oversee projects and monitor plans to ensure deadlines are met, projects stay within budget and work is up to standard.

Average salary*




Typical hours per week


How to become a commercial manager

There are several routes to becoming a commercial manager. You could complete a university or college course, an apprenticeship or apply directly to an employer for work.

You should explore these routes to becoming a commercial manager, to find out which is the right one for you. Although some of these options have certain qualification requirements, many employers are more interested in people who are enthusiastic, willing to learn and can follow instructions.

You may need a Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) card to work on a construction site.


The most common route to becoming a commercial manager is to study for a quantity surveying undergraduate degree. Other relevant subjects include building studies, building engineering, construction engineering management and building technology. You may have gained sufficient experience in another area of work such as administration, management or accounting. 

You’ll need 2 - 3 A levels or equivalent for an undergraduate degree.

Once you’ve finished studying, you could start your career through a graduate traineeship, where you’ll usually start off as a junior project manager.

> Equivalent entry requirements explained

> Find a university course

> Funding advice


An apprenticeship with a construction firm is a good way into the industry. 

You could do a higher or degree apprenticeship in project management, lasting around four years. 

You’ll need 4 - 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) and A levels, or equivalent, for a higher or degree apprenticeship.

Apprenticeships are open to anyone over the age of 16. As an apprentice, you will be fully employed by your company and expected to work a minimum of 30 hours a week. Your time will be split between on-the-job experience and a college or training provider.

> Find an apprenticeship near you

> Guide to apprenticeships


If you have several years’ experience in project support or an administration role, you could apply directly to a construction company to gain on-site experience as a commercial manager. Your employer may offer training to help you progress further.

Work experience

Work experience is essential to gaining employment within the construction industry. You could gain this at school, or by working weekends and holidays with a company or relative who works as a commercial manager. Potential employers will always be pleased to see work experience listed on your CV.

> Find out more about work experience


Additional skills which may benefit anyone considering a job as a commercial manager include: 

  • Strong analytical skills
  • Good communication skills
  • Excellent time management
  • Good business commercial acumen.

What does a commercial manager do?

As a commercial manager you will be responsible for looking after projects and managing a team.

The job role of a commercial manager includes the following duties: 

  • Taking responsibility for the financial management of projects
  • Recognising business opportunities
  • Putting together bids to win new business 
  • Negotiating and agreeing contracts 
  • Strategically expanding, preserving or improving company procedures, standards or policies
  • Adhering to regulatory guidelines.

How much could you earn as a commercial manager?

The expected salary for a commercial manager varies as you become more experienced.

  • Newly trained commercial managers can earn £27,000 - £30,000
  • Trained commercial managers with some experience can earn £30,000 - £45,000
  • Senior, chartered or master commercial managers can earn £45,000 - £70,000*
  • Self-employed commercial managers set their own pay rates.

Hours and salary depend on location, employer and any overtime you may do. Salaries and career options improve with chartered status. 

* Salaries have been collected from multiple industry sources


Check out the latest commercial manager vacancies: 

As these are external websites, the number of vacancies related to your preferred role may vary. New opportunities will be posted as they come up.

Career path and progression

To help you to progress into more senior management roles, you could study for professional qualifications through the Association for Project Management (APM), Chartered Management Institute (CMI) and the Project Management Institute (PMI).

Alternatively, you could set up your own business and work as a freelance consultant.

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