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What Factors Affect a Contract Administrator Salary?

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  • Written By: Terry Masters
  • Edited By: Allegra J. Lingo
  • Last Modified Date: 13 November 2016
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There are at least six factors that will affect a contract administrator salary, and include experience, education, types of contracts, location of the job, portfolio size, and size of the hiring company. A contract administrator’s duties can vary depending upon the industry and the types of contracts at issue. Any job offer and determination of salary is ultimately tied to the expected scope of work, particularly since a very broad definition of contract administration can include specialty work that is often performed by accountants and lawyers. Certain basic realities will affect the salary offer regardless of the scope of work.

The primary determinant of a contract administrator salary will typically be experience. Contract administration is particularized by industry and is very detail-oriented. Every industry has its own functional language, the customary ways of going about business and budgeting conventions. The more specific experience a person has managing contracts in a particular industry, the more valuable that person will be to the hiring company. Major contracts with important clients have very little leeway for a learning curve.

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Education will also play a pivotal role in setting a contract administrator salary. Business contracts have discrete specialty components. There are legal aspects, bookkeeping, accounting and human resources components, and other types of occupational requirements. If the applicant has a law or an accounting degree, he will often be paid more than a person with broad-based contract administrator experience. A person with a certificate or degree in contract administration may be paid more than a person without, but not as much as a person with a professional degree.

The two distinct contract types are private sector and government. Although both types of contracts require astute management, government contracts typically far outstrip private sector contracts in the sheer amount of compliance with governmental regulations that has to be managed. Government contracts also carry stiff penalties for improper management, so dealing with them usually demands a premium.

Job location always affects salaries. A contract administrator salary in a major city will usually outstrip the salary offered in a small city or town. Businesses set salaries based on cost of living in the city and salary surveys that indicate the average range of salaries for a position in that city. There is typically no way of avoiding this type of salary normalization.

The last two factors that will impact contract administrator salary are tied together. Both the size of the contracts portfolio and the overall size of the business tend to have a significant impact on the salary offer. The amount of work that needs to be done will logically increase in proportion to the total amount of money being managed through the contracts portfolio. Likewise, the bigger the company, the more appropriate it is for the salary to fall at the top of a salary range because the type of clients, the size of the individual contracts, and the quality of work expected will be higher in larger companies.

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