Product managers maximise the success of company products by ensuring that they meet the needs of customers, whilst making a good financial return for their employer’s business.
They make sure that products are made efficiently and promoted effectively, and regularly analyse feedback from customers/users to make product improvements.
The products they manage are normally complex products such as software, games, apps or financial products like loans and credit cards.
This complete guide features a full product manager job description and discusses everything you need to know about product managers, including average salaries, job requirements, typical employers and more.
- Product manager job description
- How much do product managers earn?
- What does a product manager do?
- Requirements, skills and qualifications
- Who employs product managers?
- Which junior jobs progress to product manager roles?
Product manager job description
Product manager | Max Security Solutions
About Max Security Solutions
We’re an award-winning, fast-growing tech company offering leading network security software solutions to help companies worldwide to prevent cyber threats, data breaches and attackers.
About the role
The product manager will oversee the lifecycle of our product portfolio, helping us to maintain our position as industry leaders. Reporting to the Head of Product, the postholder will work cross-functionally with the development team and sales, marketing, customer services and business development to maximise revenue, retention and performance for each product within the portfolio.
- Manage and coordinate the entire product lifecycle from concept to end of life
- Carry out detailed user surveys and gather data to inform product development and strategy
- Develop effective pricing strategies and tactics
- Utilise data to better understand user behaviour and develop product enhancement and feature ideas
- Collaborate with the marketing department to develop campaigns and ensure promotional campaigns are cost-effective
- Support the development teams to make feature and design changes, as well as performing test and sprint reviews
- Consistently monitor and analyse competitor products, sales and promotional strategies
Location & commitments
- Full-time, permanent role based in our Manchester Northern Quarter office
- 35 hours per week with flexi-time between 8 am and 6 pm
- Occasional evening and weekend work required to support project and product deadlines, with time off given in lieu
- Regular national and international travel required
- At least 2 years of experience within a technical role within software or hardware
- Great technical competency and a thorough understanding of cybersecurity issues and network technologies
- Exceptional relationship management skills across key stakeholders, customers and colleagues
- Proven experience of gathering and analysing large data sets to inform decisions
- Proven planning and time management skills, with the ability to work to strict deadlines
- Strong business acumen and financial and mathematical capability
- Bachelor or master’s degree in software engineering, computer science or a business subject
- CIM marketing qualification(s) would be highly advantageous
Contact us to apply
If you’re keen to join an industry-leading network security solutions provider that will truly support your career development, apply today. For immediate consideration, please send your CV and cover letter to our recruitment manager, Jenny Jones, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
How much do product managers earn?
A career in product management is generally very well-paid, with an average salary of £57,500 — sitting considerably above the national average.
Product manager salaries in the UK
- Low: £42,500
- Average: £57,500
- High: £72,500
Product manager salaries will vary depending on:
- The sector + type of product being managed – Companies/products in more expensive and in-demand markets will typically pay more. For example, the tech sector and products in software, AI, cryptocurrency and networking are known to offer higher than average product manager salaries.
- The size of the company – Generally speaking, big, established, global companies will pay more generous salaries than start-ups and small/medium-sized businesses.
- Candidate experience & location – Salary increases significantly with experience and promotion, and salaries in London are usually higher than elsewhere in the UK.
For example, a product manager working for Google in London is likely to earn significantly more than a product manager with the same level of experience working for a smaller, less established business in Manchester.
The average salary figures listed are taken from online job advert samples. Therefore, they do not include extra benefits such as bonuses and overtime and non-financial benefits, such as flexible working and healthcare.
What does a product manager do?
A product manager job description typically includes some of the following duties and responsibilities:
- Developing product lines – Creating, presenting and developing new products and product line ideas
- Creating strategies – Developing short and long-term sales, marketing and product development strategies for products
- Budgeting – Setting and managing budgets for products and ensuring that the product remains within that budget
- Pricing up products – Using production costs, competitor research and market demands to price up products in line with profitability goals
- Making sales forecasts – Creating regular sales and revenue forecasts
- Analysing data – Gathering, analysing and responding to customer and user data and feedback
- Coordinating product improvements – Planning product changes and features according to customer needs and demand
- Creating schedules & timelines – Planning timescales, schedules and roadmaps for product development and launch
- Researching competitors – Researching and assessing competitor companies and products
- Managing marketing campaigns – Working with sales, marketing and advertising departments or agencies to develop effective product marketing campaigns
- Attending conferences & trade shows – Attending relevant events, trade shows and conferences
- Managing a product team – Overseeing the product team, including recruiting, mentoring and training staff
What do product managers need?
Due to the high level of responsibility involved in product manager positions, a range of experience, skills and — often — qualifications are required in order to thrive in the role.
While requirements will inevitably vary from company to company, here is what typically needed to enter the product management sector:
Junior product manager jobs generally require candidates to have gained some experience (1-2+ years) in a fast-paced sales, marketing, sales, account management or product-focused role. For graduate roles, experience gained from work experience, internships and university placements is often accepted.
Intermediate to senior product manager roles will normally require candidates to have gained significant experience (2–5+ years) in a product manager role, with proven commercial success. Many employers will also expect experience within their specific industry or product area — for example, a software company will normally look for candidates with proven experience of managing software or tech products.
Product manager skills
A successful product manager will typically have a firm grounding in the following skills and knowledge:
- Product/industry knowledge: Acquiring in-depth knowledge of the product, market, customers and competitors
- Business acumen: Understanding business basics, such as budgeting, cash flow, forecasting and profit-and-loss
- Technical product knowledge: A deep knowledge of the sector of the product being managed can be hugely beneficial
- Data analysis: Analysing customer, competitor and sector data in order to make effective decisions
- Marketing: Creating effective marketing product marketing campaigns to appeal to the target market
- Decision making: Making timely, confident, fair and objective decisions regarding product development, marketing and the product team
- Organisation: Working to demanding and conflicting deadlines and timelines and effectively prioritising tasks
- Leadership: Leading, mentoring and motivating the product team to success
- Communication: Communicating with confidence, clarity and brevity with a wide range of colleagues, stakeholders, clients and customers
Product manager qualifications
While there are no strict formal academic requirements, the majority of product managers hold either a degree or relevant marketing/sales qualification. However, as with most business/marketing roles, relevant experience and proven results are generally deemed more important.
The product management sector can be highly competitive, so gaining recognised and relevant qualifications, courses and training can, of course, help candidates to land roles and excel once they’re in them. Some common choices are:
A degree isn’t always an essential requirement for product manager roles, but it seems that the majority of professionals in the field do hold one. Additionally, many entry-level/junior roles in the field are graduate roles or schemes specifically — meaning only those with a degree are eligible.
The sector can be highly competitive and the role holds a great level of responsibility, meaning the experience, knowledge and skills gained from a degree in a relevant subject is an obvious advantage.
Any degrees within the business, management or economics field are generally favoured, but as the scope of product manager roles is so wide, specific requirements do vary.
Product manager roles with a focus on product marketing may prefer candidates with a degree within:
- Marketing and communications
- Public relations
- Brand management
Whereas product manager roles with a focus on product development may favour candidates with a degree within product design, development or innovation.
Marketing, sales and advertising qualifications
Depending on the scope of the role, product managers may choose to complete additional training in specific areas, such as marketing, sales or market research, to allow them to perform better in their job.
There is a wide array of additional training, certification and qualification options available, but some of the most popular options include courses run by the:
- Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) (who have a number of product management courses)
- Market Research Society (MRS)
- Institute of Direct Marketing (IDM)
- Institute of Sales Management (ISM)
Subject matter qualifications
Many product managers hold qualifications in a related subject to the product area they work in. For example, a product manager in the software industry could benefit — both in terms of job performance and career progression — from having a degree or vocational qualification in a tech subject, such as computer science or software engineering.
What is expected of product managers?
Product managers will typically be expected to commit the following:
- Full time hours – Roles are almost always full-time (35 – 40 hours per week) – part-time roles are hard to come by
- Standard office hours – Core working hours are normally 9–5pm, though some employers may offer flexible working hours
- Evening and weekend work likely – It’s common for product managers to regularly work outside of the core hours to meet the demands of a project or launch. However, most companies offer time off in lieu as compensation for extra hours
- Location – Normally based at the head office of the organisation
- Regular travel – There may be lots of travel involved, in order to liaise with all the people who contribute to a project or product
Product manager benefits
As product managers normally work for large, well-known companies, they tend to receive a generous benefits package. This might include things like:
- Share options – the option to buy a certain number of company shares
- Bonuses – normally based on product performance
- Generous holiday allowance – many modern employers have introduced unlimited holiday policies, and this is common within product management
- Pension scheme
- Car allowance
- Flexible working options
- Company discounts
Who employs product managers?
Companies who develop and offer their own large complex products such as business software, video games, IT platforms, financial products and pharmaceuticals – will require the services of a product manager to ensure these products are created and sold effectively.
While demand for product managers has been on a steady rise for the past few years, the field is still highly competitive. The majority of roles appear within the private sector. Jobs within the not-for-profit and public sector do exist, but are rare.
Graduate schemes are equally competitive, with the number of applications greatly exceeding employer demand. Larger companies, such as Google, have a high barrier to entry in terms of experience, skills and qualifications. Smaller companies often employ just one single product manager, meaning jobs are few and far between.
The majority of product manager jobs in the UK are city-based; predominately in London. It’s rare to find a role outside of the major city hubs.
Product manager roles typically appear in companies within:
- Technology & digital
- Networking & software
- Banking and finance
- Luxury goods & fashion
Which junior jobs progress to product manager roles?
There are a number of routes into product management, including:
Graduate product manager
There are increasing numbers of graduate schemes, jobs and placements within product management. Many of these are offered by very well-known organisations such as BT, the NHS, Amazon, Tesco and Red Bull. For graduates with minimal experience, these schemes are often the best direct route of entry into the sector.
Junior product manager
Junior product managers work under an experienced product manager or product team to learn the ropes of the role and typically work on a variety of research, data analysis and marketing tasks.
However, gaining a junior product management role is still very competitive. To gain a junior position, employers will normally expect candidates to have completed a graduate scheme or have gained at least 1-2+ years experience within an overlapping field. This might be a role within:
- Sales and marketing
- Web/software development
- Project management
- Account management
- Product design/development
Which senior jobs do product managers progress to?
While product management alone offers high salaries and challenging work, many product managers progress into even higher-paying, more senior jobs. Sometimes, these roles can offer salaries well into the 6-figure salary mark.
Senior product manager/product owner
With several years of product manager experience (generally between 3 and 5+ years), it’s possible to move into a senior product manager position. Senior PM positions usually involve a higher involvement with strategy and the line management of the product team, often overseeing multiple products. These roles might go by the name of:
- Head of product
- Product team leader
- Product owner
- Senior product manager
Vice president (VP) of product
Some product managers eventually progress into board-level management positions. Here, they’ll take overall leadership of a product or product line within a company or business unit. Professionals at this level work predominantly on strategy and delegation; influencing the overall vision of a product, rather than making individual product decisions or working on smaller tasks.
Because of the highly-transferable skills and knowledge gained in a product manager role, it’s also possible to switch into a different job function entirely. Additionally, some experienced product managers eventually move into entrepreneurship and start their own business or product line.
Product manager job description – conclusion
Product management is a growing field in the UK, with demand increasing steadily by the year.
Due to the high salaries on offer, as well as the significant level of responsibility involved in the role, entry into the profession is generally very competitive.
However, with the right blend of determination, study and experience, gaining a product manager role is within reach and can offer a highly rewarding and lucrative career path.