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Contract Manager Job Description: Top Duties and Requirements

A Contract Manager is a professional who reviews, negotiates, and prepares contracts for a company and its employees, vendors, or customers. Their duties include responding to contract negotiation, bids, and proposals, reviewing all contracts to ensure they comply with all company policies, regulations, and laws, and analyzing potential risks of signing certain contracts.

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Contract Manager duties and responsibilities

A Contract Manager plays a critical role in an organization, as they’re responsible for managing the company’s negotiations and contracts. A Contract Manager needs to be fully aware of the benefits, potential risks, and other necessary details of each contract the company signs. Other duties and responsibilities include:

  • Monitoring contracts, and moving forward with extension, close-out, or renewal of contracts
  • Ensuring all contract details align with federal, state, and local laws, as well as cooperate guidelines, policies, objectives, and goals
  • Drafting responses to contract bids, negotiations, and proposals
  • Reviewing existing contracts to locate any potential breaches and to add updates as requested by signers
  • Writing and sending requests for proposals to potential vendors
  • Adding improvements to existing company contract policies to ensure compliance and reduce any potential risks
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What does a Contract Manager do?

Contract Managers oversee the contract creation and negotiation process from start to finish. They’ll write, review, negotiate and execute a variety of contracts between customers, vendors or their employees to ensure they’re compliant with laws and company policies.

Before writing, reviewing, or approving contracts, the Contract Manager will conduct extensive research to ensure the contract’s language is compliant and to detect any potential risks the company could face if they sign the contract. Contract Managers regularly check on current contracts to ensure the company and customer are remaining compliant and following the terms listed in their contract.

Contract Manager skills and qualifications

Given their work scope, a Contract Manager needs to be well-informed on industry trends and all aspects of the contracting process. They should also possess impressive negotiation and judgement abilities to determine if certain contracts are well-suited to the company’s needs and objectives. Common skills and qualifications successful Contract Managers should have include: 

  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills
  • Exceptional attention to detail
  • Interpersonal and listening skills
  • Deep understanding of contracts, contractual language, and contract governance
  • Critical thinking skills, research abilities, and ongoing legal knowledge
  • Ability to professionally manage and store confidential information
  • Excellent understanding of business operations and financial analytics

Contract Manager work experience

Contract Managers typically have at least two years experience managing or negotiating business contracts. Impressive candidates may also have at least two years experience writing and negotiating certain resale agreements with vendors. Contract Managers who previously served as Contract Specialists may also be considered for the role.

Contract Manager education and training requirements

Most candidates have a Bachelor of Business Administration, while others may have a Master of Business Administration degree instead. Depending on where they work, some Contract Managers are expected to earn a certification, like a Certified Commercial Contracts Manager or Certified Professional Contracts Manager designation, offered by the National Contract Management Association. If specific contract management software solutions need to be used, candidates may require training on these programs during onboarding.

Contract Manager salary expectations

According to Indeed Salaries, the average salary for a Contract Manager in Canada is $84,613 per year. This is not a fixed figure, and it typically varies depending on the company, geographical location, and the employee’s level of experience.

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Contract Manager job description FAQs

What is the difference between a Contract Manager and a Project Manager?

A Contract Manager is involved in negotiating and working closely with clients to help them understand the paperwork they’re signing, so Contract Managers must stay updated on any contractual changes. A Project Manager focuses on meeting the specifications and goals of a designated project, including software development, construction projects, or client project launches. Whereas a Contract Manager concentrates solely on the contract between the client and the business, a Project Manager is responsible for the execution and overall success of a specific project.

Who reports to a Contract Manager?

Larger organizations may have several individuals on the contract management team separately completing different tasks like conducting research, drafting new contracts, and auditing existing contracts. Contract Managers will typically oversee the team’s progress and will approve of the contracts before they’re submitted.

Smaller teams may have a single Contract Specialist working under the Contract Manager. They’ll complete basic contract tasks for the Contract Manager to review. The Contract Manager will guide and advise this employee regarding ways to improve their work performance and advance in their role.

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