- What does a change manager do?
- Change manager career path
- Change manager salaries
- Qualifications and training
- Change manager skills
- Pros and cons of being a change manager
- Change manager work-life balance
- Typical employers hiring change managers
- Related jobs to change manager
- More information
Do you have great organisational skills? Are you a good problem solver? If you’re looking for a career in business which requires your communication skills to help colleagues and customers to have an easy transition to new ventures, a career as a change manager could be perfect for you.
Are you interested in a career as a change manager? Explore the current management and business jobs available right now.
What does a change manager do?
Change managers help a business successfully transition in whatever area they decide needs to be changed. In this role, you may help your colleagues to learn new systems, plan for changes to be made in the office or discuss the best ways for customers to adapt to changes. The types of change that you might deal with include implementing new computer systems, changes to branding, organisational structure rearrangements and many others. Your job is to make sure the change is smooth, happens within the ideal timeframe and is within a budget.
Some large organisations employ change managers to deal with all the changes they implement. This would mean being a permanent member of staff and creating plans for any big changes that the organisation plans, then assisting in implementing the change. Alternatively, you can work as a change management consultant. As a consultant, you are employed by organisations to come in and help with a specific project and then move on to another organisation. As a consultant, you could either be self-employed or work for a consultancy firm.
Here are some of the daily activities and responsibilities that you have as a change manager:
- Have meetings with departments to understand the change that they want, the timeframe for the project and what you need to do to make the transition as seamless as possible
- Plan the project, making sure to think about any possible risks or issues that might arise
- Come up with mitigating strategies for any risks that you identify
- If the change is relevant to customers, you help the design team make designs which will appeal most to the target demographic
- Help colleagues to learn new systems and teach them the best way to adapt to the changes
- Analyse the success of the project based on the predictions you made and how the transition actually went
Change manager career path
Change managers have a relatively standard career path taking you from entry-level to senior roles. You have the opportunity to change your career path and transition to related jobs. For example, you may decide you like the organisation aspect of change management but not the projects you’re working on and become a product manager. Or, you may want to see more concrete successes which you oversee with a greater degree of distance and become a project manager or work in a project management office. Here is the standard career path for change managers:
You could begin your career as a junior change manager. In this role, you make sure that projects are successfully completed on time based on the plan you’ve come up with for the project. Your work is supervised by your manager to make sure it’s up to standard and fits all the requirements of the project.
After demonstrating your skills, you progress to mid-level change manager. This role has the same responsibilities as an entry-level or junior change manager job but with more responsibility and freedom. You discuss the changes with the colleagues that they affect and train them to use the new systems or make them aware of new working responsibilities and standards. You help the senior members of your team with their projects.
With a great deal of experience and a positive track record, you become a senior change manager. In this role, you work on larger, more complex and higher profile changes than your less senior colleagues. You train junior and entry-level change managers, providing your expertise and helping them with any projects that they are working on. You delegate tasks and responsibilities to members of your team to successfully complete a project. You may discuss the changes that you’re implementing with external stakeholders.
Change manager salaries
Change managers have a relatively structured career path taking them from junior to senior roles. The specific salary that you receive depends on the company you work for, the geographic location and the level you’re at in your career.
- Entry-level and junior change managers earn around £30,000 to £35,000 per year
- Mid-level change managers earn an average of £50,000 per year
- Senior change managers earn an average of £65,000 per year which can extend to upwards of £100,000 per year depending on the organisation and your skill level
Qualifications and training
Becoming a change manager requires having the right combination of skills and experience to make your application stand out to a hiring manager. Here is what you need to do to start your career as a change manager:
Having an undergraduate degree in a business-related subject sets you up well for a change manager job. This is so you have a good understanding of how organisations are structured so you can plan how to best deal with internal changes to the organisation’s structure. Some universities provide a master’s degree in change management. Whilst a master’s degree isn’t necessary for a change management career, having one can help you stand out and demonstrate your academic and professional skills.
Some companies offer apprenticeship schemes for change managers. This often means working for a company in a junior position whilst studying for a degree or professional qualification. With many apprenticeships, the company pays for your course and pays you a salary for the work you do for them. If you’re interested in a change management apprenticeship, search the apprenticeships available.
Having work experience teaches you the general practices of working as a change manager, the skills you need and the type of working environment that you might experience in your career. You can get work experience through an internship. If you want to improve your CV by having work experience, explore the current internship opportunities in change management.
Professional qualifications in change management help you succeed in your career by giving you relevant skills and experience. They also help you demonstrate your worth to an employer and make your CV stand out. Professional qualifications are typically designed for change managers who have some experience but want to gain more, or for people transitioning from another career path to change management. Think carefully before signing up to a change management professional qualification about whether you’re at the right point in your career to get the most out of it.
If you’re interested in professional qualifications in change management, consider the APMG Change Management courses or the Change Management Institute’s Foundation Level Accreditation.
Change manager skills
Beyond a good understanding of the structure of an organisation and how it operates, here are the skills that you need to succeed as a change manager:
- Communication. You need excellent communication skills to relay your strategy for change to your colleagues and make sure they understand what will happen and what they need to do. Some colleagues may have reservations about the changes you want to make, so communicating to them why the changes are beneficial could help you get them onboard.
- Analytical skills. Your work is coming up with the best plan for making changes to an organisation. To do this, you analyse how to successfully make changes with minimal disruption to colleagues and consumers. This means identifying the potential risks and problems that may occur in the process, requiring great analytical skills.
- Organisation. Being organised is a necessity for change managers. You need to enact your plan, making sure deadlines and budgets are met. Organising your work and making sure it fits in with the office’s requirements helps you bring about the changes you want to make.
Pros and cons of being a change manager
As with any career path, there are positive and negative factors. Knowing the good and the bad helps you decide if it’s the right career for you. Here are the pros and cons of being a change manager which you should think about before entering the career path:
- You are involved with many different projects, making your working life interesting and varied
- The salary can be really good
- If you’re a consultant, there may be lots of travelling which can be fun and exciting
- You may have the option to work from home rather than commuting
- Change management is a growing industry so there are a growing number of change manager jobs available to you
- You may find some colleagues are resistant to change. You need to deal with the resistance but still maintain good working relationships which can be a difficult balance
- Your colleagues may find change stressful and may not appreciate the work you’re doing
- The travel required for some consulting jobs can be stressful and impact your home life because you’re either making long commutes or living away from home for short periods of time. This could throw off your work-life balance
- If you’re consulting, you have to adapt to many company cultures throughout your working life, some you may like and some you don’t
Change manager work-life balance
Your working hours are typically 9am to 5pm on Monday to Friday. However, you may find that the hours you work are significantly more than this due to high workload and short deadlines. This varies based on the company that you work for and the culture that the company has. Some change managers have flexible working hours meaning you can work the hours that suit you.
Your work is mainly office based. However, if you’re working as a consultant, you typically work in the organisation’s office rather than the consulting firm’s. This means traveling to new places which could add to your working week or make it difficult to have a stable home-life if you’re living away from home for some time.
Typical employers hiring change managers
Many companies have an inhouse change manager which they use for multiple projects. If you want to work on more varied projects, you could work for a consultancy firm. Here are the top consultancy firms:
You can complete this module on understanding city firms to get a bigger picture of how large companies work.
Related jobs to change manager
If you’re interested in pursuing a career in change management, explore the change manager jobs available right now.