So why is compensation so nice for this field?
Well, Charlie Hoehn has put together the best way to understand pay. (By the way, if you haven’t read anything by Hoehn, do it soon. Like right after you read the rest of this post. He’s young, but he really knows his stuff). Below is the equation.
High demand for certain job + hard-to-learn skills for that job = high pay for that job
It’s really that simple. Below are the factors to consider for the contracts profession.
High Demand for the Workers
The contracts workforce is aging. A nice pie chart in the Executive Summary of the NCMA 2008 Salary Survey shows that 26% are aged 55+, 37% are 45-54, 21% are 35-44, and only 15% are younger than 35. An aging workforce doesn’t stick around forever, which leads into the next factor.
The contracts workforce is retiring. Robert Brodsky at GovExec.com says “Slightly more than half the acquisition workforce will be eligible to retire by fiscal 2018”. That’s a lot of people so replacements are needed.
Workforce size increase wanted. The feds want to increase the civilian acquisition workforce by 5% even at a time when a large segment of that same workforce is retiring or getting ready to retire. That means lots more hiring in addition to bringing in replacements for retirees.
Hard-to-Learn Skills for the Job
The skills are not easy to learn. The simplest, best list of skills I’ve seen is by International Association for Contracts and Commercial Management. The list is summarized in two sections, core and additional skills.
The skills must be proved. Your skills are of useless if you can’t get paid for them. Unless you have a contract management bachelor’s or master’s degree, you probably need to get a certificate from a respected organization. This shows that the certifying organization thinks you’re got the right know-how. Since the certifying organization thinks you’re good enough, then an employer is more likely to think better of your skills than without similar evidence. Here is a list of respected certifying organizations. Take your pick. Make sure you also read the comments section since readers have left good suggestions about other certifying organizations.
So when you consider these factors for the equation, what do they tell you? Employers will pay good money for capable contract professionals. Just make sure you’re capable.
Do you think there are other factors to consider for the profession’s high pay? Comment about it.