Business development manager

Administration, business and management

Career outlook for business development manager

Average UK salary


Currently employed in Scotland


"LMI for All" supplies our salary and employment status information. "Oxford Economics" supplies job forecasts and employment figures. Due to COVID-19 the jobs market is constantly changing. Some of the information may not reflect the current situation.

What's it like?

Attracting new business or clients is essential for growing a successful company. From sourcing new clients and developing relationships, to generating business interest through advertising, calls potential clients, and networking.

As a business development manager, you’d need first-class communication skills to identify opportunities to grow the business, pitch to new clients and maintain good relationships with new and existing contacts.

What you’ll do

  • Identify new leads and business opportunities
  • Contact potential clients by email, cold calling or face to face to establish relationships
  • Research the needs of other companies and identify how your product or service could fit with those needs
  • Establish and maintain relationships with current clients
  • Pitch and present to current and potential clients
  • Negotiate (and renegotiate)
  • Fully understand the company's product or service and their position in the market
  • Keep up to date with competitors in the industry
  • Attend conferences, meetings, and networking events

Working conditions


Working hours are usually 9am-5pm but this could change depending on targets or if you have deadlines to meet.


You would mainly be office based. The job can be challenging so it helps if you are good at working under pressure.


You might have to spend some of your time travelling to meet clients or attending networking events.

UK employment status





Self employed


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Here are some of the skills needed for this job. Sign in to see how your skills match up.

  • Building relationships
  • Verbal communication
  • Written communication
  • Creative
  • Researching
  • Attention to detail
  • Developing a plan
  • Taking initiative
  • Time management

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Getting in

Entry requirements for courses can change. Always contact the college, university or training provider to check exactly what you'll need.

Foundation Apprenticeships

Choosing a Foundation Apprenticeship as one of your subjects in S5 and S6 can help you get a head start with this type of job.

You'll get an SCQF level 6 qualification (the same level as a Higher) plus valuable work placement experience and skills you can't learn in a classroom.

Interested? Find out what's on offer at your school on


Entry requirements for courses can change. Always contact the college, university or training provider to check exactly what you’ll need.

Many people interested in this role have qualifications in a business-related degree, such as business management. Other related degree courses can also be helpful, such as:

  • accountancy
  • economics
  • international relations
  • politics
  • joint degree of business and another relevant subject

Alternatively, a degree relevant to the specific industry sector you want to work in can be useful.

Employers also value experience in sales, marketing or management. Graduates in non-business subjects can still enter this role if they have relevant skills and experience and some businesses offer graduate training schemes.

While not essential, postgraduate qualifications are available and may be of value to career changers or those looking at a specialism within business.

Useful subjects

Many colleges and universities will have required subjects that you must have for entry. They may also highlight additional subjects that they would value. See individual institutions websites for specific entry information. 

Useful subjects would be:

  • Maths
  • English
  • Business
  • Information Technology

Helpful to have

While not all employers list specific qualification requirements, they do ask for relevant experience, usually work based, that demonstrates a range of transferable skills. You’ll also need to work to deadlines and have an understanding of how businesses operate.

The Institute of Leadership and Management (ILM) has details of a wide range of relevant business and leadership qualifications and apprenticeships.