2023 RFP Trends & Benchmarks

Chapter 6: Salary & Career Comparisons

On the whole, proposal people love their work and career prospects—but more tenured employees are feeling discontent.

Demographics Skew Majority White and Female

Three-quarters of proposal teams surveyed are white (74%), and 64% identify as female. Similar to last year, the majority of proposal professionals identify as women.

While the gender representation is tipping towards a more balanced scale year-over-year (dropping from 71% who identified as female last year), a pretty significant racial imbalance remains, putting the proposal profession on par with majority-white vocations such as airline pilots.

Ethnicity: 75% white, 6% South Asian, 5% Black
Gender Identity: 64% Female, 30% Male, 1% androgynos/gender non-conforming, 5% preferred not to say

70% of Proposal Professionals Above 35 Years Old

The majority of proposal professionals surveyed fell into age groups that were 35 years or older. This includes 35 to 44 (32%), 45-54 (22%) and 55+ (16%). Overall this trend is extremely similar to last year, with the biggest difference being the 55+ category, which has increased (represented 11% of the sample last year).

Key Insight: More Experience = More Discontent

As with last year, employees with 15+ years of experience were more likely to be unsatisfied or have neutral feelings towards their process, compared to those early in their career.

More than a quarter (26%) of this group say they’re unsatisfied across seven categories tied to the proposal process. Note to companies: Keep an eye on your more tenured professional’s satisfaction levels if you don’t want to lose them. Read more in the full RFP Trends & Benchmarks.

Average Salary Rises to $89,800 USD

The average proposal manager salary is $89,800 annually, up from last year’s $87,000. That’s about a 3% increase, less than half of the increase of U.S. inflation rates in 2022.

Twelve percent of respondents chose not to respond to the salary question, down from last year’s 18%. While some hesitancy around discussing salary remains, it appears that this year’s sample was more open to sharing information about compensation.

The majority of proposal professionals earn between $51k to $125k annually, with salaries noticeably increasing at the leadership level. Unsurprisingly, salary is significantly influenced by tenure, level, and role type.

Average Annual Salary by Role Type

Capture Managers, Sales and Marketing leaders earn above 100K/year whereas RFP/Proposal Writers and Managers make between 76K and 92K

Interested in learning more about proposal salary breakdowns? Subscribe to Loopio’s blog updates, we’ll be releasing more detailed breakdowns on proposal salaries in spring 2023.

Core Duties: Content First, Project Management Second

Similar to last year, professionals see their top duties as content management and response writing, followed by project management. Somewhat surprisingly, competitive analysis sits at the bottom of the list, in spite of its impact on overall success.

68% of respondents' core duty is content management, just above 60% of participants write RFPs and oversee project management

Key Insight: How Role Impacts Core Duties

  • Associates are more likely to list their core duties as response writing, content management, response submission, answering questions, and managing software.
  • Managers / Team Leads are more likely to be focused on content management, project management, people management, response writing, and process mapping.
  • Director-level roles and upwards were more likely to be responsible for people management, capture planning, competitive analysis, and reporting results over any other group.

Nearly 9 in 10 Plan To Stay On This Career Path

An overwhelming 86% of RFP professionals plan on staying in this career path. Nearly two-thirds (64%) expect to be in a more senior proposal role within the next five years, and it appears they have a pretty good reason to believe: 30% were promoted within the last 12 months.

66% of participant were not promoted within 1 year
64% of respondents expect to be promoted to a senior role

Chapter Summary: RFP Career Futures Are Bright—But Challenges Remain

Overall, RFP professionals love their work and want to continue growing in the field. But there are still challenges. Demographically, the field remains unbalanced, and pay has risen slightly, but not enough to keep up with inflation over the past year.

While the majority of people in the field are more than 35-years-old with at least five years of experience, more experience is also correlated with greater dissatisfaction with the proposal process—meaning that teams have to work harder not to let their more tenured members become dissatisfied.

Up Next: Which new resources teams expect next year—and confidence level in hitting RFP targets.

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