Estate managers are employed by estate owners to manage their trading businesses and let properties on the estate, ensuring the estate generates a profit. The businesses normally include farming (including let farms), forestry, renewable energy and tourism.
This important role involves significant responsibility, management skills and experience. The modern estate manager is likely to have stewardship of diversified businesses so must have confidence and experience managing a group of enterprises, preparing budgets and delivering plans.
The estate manager deals with property development, letting and lease negotiation and ensures the maintenance of buildings, agricultural land, woodlands, drainage and roads on the estate. In addition they deal with paperwork, including farm tax, insurance, grants, subsidies and compliance with law and regulation including health and safety.
The estate manager keeps up-to-date with changes in agricultural regulations and environmental and conservation planning, local planning activity and public access issues. They are responsible for liaison with local authority services and for community relations and engagement and for the recruitment, training and performance management of estate staff.
This skilled leadership position often involves work as part of a wider management team supervising all aspects of the business and sporting side of an estate’s operation. The estate manager fulfils a key role in maximising the efficiency of all business activity on the estate as well as ensuring the smooth running of countryside management processes occurring on estate land.
Estate managers are employed widely throughout the UK on estates with many senior professionals working as Chief Executive Officers for larger business groupings or with land agency firms.
They undertake an essential land management role that benefits the rural landscape and greatly assists the economic development of the countryside.
Many will hold a university degree, often in a related field such as land economy or business management. Many will have subsequently qualified as a chartered surveyor.
Estates operate seven days a week throughout the year. The intensity and timing of work is related to the nature of the estate and the tasks required to be undertaken. For example, estates where the predominant activity is agricultural, will follow the growing seasons whereas sporting or tourism estates revolve around seasons related to the game or attraction present on the estate.
Many estates have a number of land-based functions and consequently an estate manager combines many capabilities and must be hard-working, experienced and adaptable. Hours do vary according to the time of year and may involve some evening and weekend activity as well as time spent outdoors in all weather conditions.
An estate manager may work for a major organisation owning large areas of land or for an individual landowner. Agricultural surveying companies also operate widely and employ estate managers/land agents to oversee the work on estates. The work is predominantly office based, often situated within the estate office but a good deal of time may be spent travelling around the estate, supervising and monitoring the work. A full driving licence is essential.
On shooting estates the manager may have a background interest in shooting and game conservancy and would be expected to have a Shotgun or Firearms Certificate. Continuing professional development is essential both to comply with professional accreditation and to maintain knowledge in an ever changing and complex operating environment.
Salaries vary with experience, qualifications and between companies, but here's a guide to what you can expect.
Experience is an advantage, but training is usually provided.
Employers are looking for people who:
- Keen interest in land management
- Organised, motivated and confident with strong negotiating and analytical skills.
What experienced workers can do
- Plan and manage resources
- Manage, recruit and train staff
- Prepare and mange budgets
- Manage the maintenance of the estate’s facilities, e.g. property, land, buildings, roads.
- Liaise with local authorities and communities
- Establish and mange game and wildlife plans
- Establish and manage game shooting programmes.
Personal qualities you should have
- Good communication
- Able to plan and prioritise work
- Flexible and adaptable
- Able to use initiative
- Good negotiation skills.
An estate manager qualified as a chartered surveyor may progress faster and a willingness to move around the country to gain experience may also assist career progression. In time, it is possible to take on a job managing a number of estates.
With experience and appropriate qualifications some estate managers move into advisory work, for example with a relevant government department.