Excellent leadership, negotiation and time management skills are just some of the skills you'll need to pursue a career in estates management

As an estates manager you'll be concerned with the historical or heritage preservation of a site and your aim will be to enable an estate to run as effectively as possible. Through careful management and coordination, you'll seek to solve problems and maximise financial returns from the estate. You'll also work to improve other areas, such as health outcomes or improved social integration.

The nature of this role can vary according to the type of employer and estate you work for. For example, an estates manager for the National Trust will have quite a different role to an NHS estate and facilities manager.

An important part of your work will be to ensure that longer term issues are planned for. For instance, if an estate is looking to increase visitor numbers using a house and gardens, there could be a need for improved access, parking and toilet facilities, or you may be required to facilitate an additional service within a hospital estate, without additional buildings.

Types of estates management

  • agricultural/rural/forestry estates
  • heritage estates - such as those owned by the National Trust
  • NHS facilities/hospitals
  • private estates
  • property management - commercial and residential.

Responsibilities

As an estates manager, you'll need to:

  • manage an estate - which may include a mixture of farm or rural land, commercial or residential buildings, care or hospital settings
  • manage staff and any volunteers
  • foster a collaborative working approach, with internal or external staff
  • manage contractors employed for a specific purpose, such as tree surgeons or building services engineers
  • organise repairs and maintenance
  • project manage buildings and renovations
  • plan, commission and manage the work of contractors
  • carry out financial planning for a project and control the budget
  • redevelop a site, possibly for preparation for a different use
  • deal with contracts for various aspects of the estate
  • oversee the development of the estate, to make sure it's being effectively run to meet the estate's objectives
  • carry out community engagement work - inform and engage the local community to ensure positive visitor numbers and that facilities are as well utilised as possible
  • work with the land owners/senior leadership of the business to keep them up to date on developments or potential issues
  • keep up to date with legislation and regulations that affect the estate
  • carry out marketing activities - this will often include social media communication aimed at building a positive image, improving public perception and encouraging community engagement.

Salary

  • Your starting salary will range from £21,000 to £25,000.
  • With a few years' experience you can expect to earn £27,000 to £35,000.
  • Some highly experienced estates managers can earn £55,000+.

Salaries can vary depending on the type of employer. Some organisations offer perks like health cover, discounted gym membership, a bonus scheme or a company vehicle.

Income figures are intended as a guide only.

Working hours

Working hours will vary, depending on the sector you're in, but it's common to work a regular Monday to Friday week. There may be some weekend work, if an open event is being held on the estate, or a contractor needs to complete some work on a weekend.

Some part-time positions are available. Short-term contracts are also available, usually found through recruitment agencies.

What to expect

  • You'll work both in an office and out on the estate.
  • You'll need to balance numerous, and sometimes contradictory issues, such as increasing the profitability of an estate without spending any money.
  • The work involves planning to meet both short term and longer-term needs.
  • You'll need to be both practically-minded way and strategic in seeing the overall picture of a project.
  • Estates management roles are available all over the country and overseas. The type of estate will influence the location of a rural or built up environment.

Qualifications

There are no set requirements to get into this work. Although you can get into estates management without a degree, estate managers will often have a relevant degree, HND or foundation degree or considerable experience built up as a technician before moving into this role.

Because of the variety of the role, any of the following degree subjects can lead into different estates manager roles:

  • agriculture
  • horticulture
  • estate or land management
  • surveying
  • property or facilities management
  • construction management.

You can enter into this area of work from a foundation degree or HND, depending on the specialist area. Having a relevant degree will enhance your chances considerably. Alternatively, doing a postgraduate course may help.

Search postgraduate courses in estates management or see RICS Courses.

If you plan to work within rural or land-based estate management, you'll benefit from having an awareness of horticulture, agriculture or landscape design. If you're more interested in working in an urban setting, an awareness of buildings management is useful.

Skills

You'll need to be:

  • good at delegation - to get your own or others' staff carrying out necessary aspects of the work for you
  • adept at financial management and budgeting - as you'll need to calculate costs and keep track of what money is being spent on repairs, garden maintenance and building renovation, to ensure the estate stays profitable
  • commercially aware
  • diligent about health and safety - to ensure visitors and staff are kept safe
  • efficient at managing projects - as in addition to the day to day running of the estate, it's likely you'll manage one or multiple projects with a specific aim, such as increasing visitor numbers, building and restoring new buildings or reducing anti-social behaviour
  • a good negotiator - to ensure that the estate gets an effective deal with contractors, or when purchasing land or property
  • highly organised - as you'll need to juggle multiple issues of varying levels of urgency and importance
  • creative at problem solving - not every problem will have a textbook answer and you may find occasions where a novel approach is required, especially if there isn't much money available
  • able to drive - this is a requirement for many roles.

Work experience

Estates management roles can be very demanding and you'll need to demonstrate excellent organisational skills and relevant sector knowledge. This is especially the case for rural or farm estates work.

Most employers want to see some evidence of work experience and being able to demonstrate commercial and regulatory awareness can be particularly helpful to your application. Short-term contracts can be a very good way to broaden out your experience.

You can undertake work experience in a variety of ways, as general summer work, through an internship, or as a work shadowing opportunity. It's worth making speculative applications to organisations with the sort of estates you want to work in. Not only will the work experience add to your CV, but employers will often keep in contact if they know they may have vacancies.

Employers

Employment opportunities in the public sector are found in local councils, NHS trusts and housing associations. There are also opportunities in the charity sector, working for organisations such as English Heritage and National Trust.

Private sector organisations also recruit estates managers, for instance rural or farm management companies, property investment companies and surveyors practices.

Some companies will contact university careers services directly with vacancies, if they know the university has a relevant degree course whose graduates will be looking for this sort of work.

Look for job vacancies at:

Professional development

You'll be offered a range of training opportunities once you're in a job. This will include training tailored specifically to the estate you work for. For instance, you might get a chainsaw license or bat survey qualifications if you work on a rural estate, or further training in topics such as managing listed buildings if you work for a heritage organisation.

RICS offers a range of professional development and CPD opportunities for people working in estates management - membership may be offered to you as part of the job.

Career prospects

Career development will very much depend of the type of estates management you are moving into. You'll find opportunities to work in organisations within an estates and facilities team, where you'll have the opportunity to progress from a graduate role into management.

Specialisation in a particular area may be possible too. Organisations such as the National Trust will offer a number of graduate entry positions that will then lead onto more senior level positions with experience.

Smaller estates may not have as many opportunities to progress into higher management opportunities, but the diversity of the work and early career responsibilities may be far broader.