Author: Martin Smith

Bidding Quarterly Issue 6 – Available Now

Whilst canvassing ideas for Issue 6, we were overwhelmed by the energy and passion our experts showed for a variety of different subjects. Rather than stifle this, we decided to remove the shackles and let our experts run free. The only request? Write about something you are truly passionate about right now in the bid and proposal profession.

Once again, we have a fantastic range of articles covering everything from becoming a doctor to Excel modelling. In our biggest issue yet, there is advice on effective knowledge sharing, writing proactive proposals, client focussed innovation, creating high scoring answers and even the odd rant about challenging procurement rules.

We have been truly humbled by all the positive feedback from the first five issues – but BQ will be changing soon. Moving forward, we will develop industry focus groups, provide opportunities to submit white papers, sponsor key industry and professional research whilst still providing honest, unbiased opinion on subjects that matter most to you.

If you have genuine bid or proposal expertise in a particular field or industry, or believe you have a unique approach to winning business, I’d love to hear from you – the panel and BQ wants you!


Download your copy here. 

Job Seekers – know your data protection rights

Bid Recruitment and GDPR

The General Data Protection Regulations are now in force and impose greater data protection obligations on organisations whilst giving more rights to individuals in relation to how their personal data is
processed. As members of the Recruitment and Employment Confederation, Bid Solutions is committed to protecting your rights. To find out more about GDPR and Bid Recruitment, click here.

To register with us as an associate, click here. To view our current vacancies, click here. We are the leading bid recruitment agency, so whatever you are looking for, we can help.

2018 UK Salary Survey Key Findings

2018 Proposal Writer Salary Survey – Compare your Proposal Writer Salary.

There have been some fascinating changes in our profession since we conducted the last survey in 2015, and on the whole, I am pleased to report that the changes are positive. As well as outlining average salaries based on core job titles, these top-level statistics provide an indication of trends against variables such as location, education, and professional certification. For the first time, we have also collected information on the mindset of respondents, exploring whether they believe they will receive a pay rise this year and whether Brexit will impact their earnings. The detailed report and analysis will be released in February.

Key Findings

• The average industry salary across all permanent full-time roles is £51,816. This represents an 8% increase since 2015 (£48,088).

• The average salary for women is £47,211 (9.5% increase from 2015 (£43,099)). For men, the average is £57,321 (7.5% increase from 2015 (£53,339)). Across all those surveyed, men on average earn 21.5% more than women (the difference was 23.8% in 2015).

• In real terms, basic salary increases have outpaced inflation for the first time in our ten years of surveying salaries. Tracking inflation (Source:, the 2015 average female salary would now equate to £45,737. The male salary would be £56,603. In real terms, men effectively have 1% more buying power whilst women have 3% more.

• The average man in our industry is 41 (41 in 2015), and the average woman is 37 (38 in 2015). The average age of all professionals surveyed is 39. There is insufficient data to report on gender variants.

• Heads of Proposal Management are now the best-paid professionals within our industry, earning £73,436. Heads of Bid Management are a close second earning £71,149. Bid / Proposal Coordinators are the lowest paid earning £30,362. Bid Managers earn £54,358 (7% increase) whilst Proposal Managers earn £46,699 (4.5% increase). Bid / Proposal Writers earn £38,429 (9% increase).

• Heads of Bid Management are the best-paid contractors earning £678 per day. Proposal Managers earn £553 per day (5% increase). Bid Managers earn £549 per day (3% increase). Bid / Proposal Writers earn £413 per day (8% increase).

• Professionals located in Greater London (inside the M25) attract the highest basic salaries – £58,803 (13% increase). North East England recorded the lowest salaries – £40,263 (static since 2015).

• Over 72% (up from 67% in 2015) of participants have a Bachelor’s Degree or higher. 93% have A-Levels or higher. Less than 0.5% are currently on an Apprenticeship.

• 51% (up from 27%) of respondents have achieved APMP Foundation Level or higher. 24% of respondents feel the APMP Certification programme isn’t applicable to their current role (down from 37%). Disappointingly, 24% said their organisations do not support the training (previously 16%).

• 46% of respondents (down from 75%) regularly work unsocial hours but are able to claim it back as time off in lieu. 17% of respondents still work late on a regular basis. Only 8% work regular 9-5 hours.

• 48% (same as 2015) of respondents have no personal development plan. This increases to 60% for self-employed contractors.

• 59% of respondents haven’t attended any training courses during the past 12 months. This rose to 73% for self-employed contractors. Only 1 in 4 respondents had attended some form of external training in the past 12 months.

• 3% of respondents are unemployed / seeking work (2% in 2015). 81% are permanently employed (down from 87%). 16% are self-employed or in temporary work (up from 11%).

• 61% of respondents are either ‘Satisfied’ or ‘Very Satisfied’ with their current role. 44% are not satisfied or felt their current basic / day-rate could be better.

• 76% of those surveyed would choose work-life balance over pure financial reward (94% in 2015). Only 13% state career progression / financial reward as their main driver.

• 334 (up from 298) different job title variations were recorded in the survey.

• Brexit worries appear to be having little impact on the mindset of the profession. 28% of respondents feel ‘Extremely Positive’ about their prospects in the next 12 months whilst only 10% are ‘Extremely Negative’.

• Balancing all relevant individual, company and market factors, a resounding 31% of respondents feel ‘Extremely Positive’ about securing a pay rise in 2018. Only 2% are extremely negative and expect a pay cut.

* Please note all salaries / contractor rates discussed are an average of basic salary / day-rates unless otherwise stated.

2018 UK Bid & Proposal Salary Survey – NOW OPEN

The 2018 UK Bid & Proposal Salary Survey is now open.

Please click here to launch the survey. The survey has the following aims:

  1. Deliver the definitive salary report for the UK profession.
    2. Enable employees to confidently benchmark their salary and benefits.
    3. Provide employers with reliable information when hiring and promoting.
    4. Report on major disparities.
    5. Review market dynamics and future prospects.

A full report will be published in January 2018. Our online salary calculator will be updated to enable generation of customised salary reports.

The survey should take no more than 10 minutes to complete. All information will be treated in the strictest confidence and no personally identifiable data is collected. Data will not be shared with any third parties.

Thank you in advance for your participation.

2018 Salary Survey Announced

We are excited to announce that we will shortly be launching the 2018 Salary Survey. This promises to be the largest and most comprehensive survey ever undertaken of the UK bid & proposal profession. We will be shining a spotlight on many of the issues identified in the previous 3 surveys, such as the gender pay gap, the north-south divide, industry disparities and overall satisfaction of the workforce.

To pre-register your interest in the survey, please email

As ever, Bid Solutions is committed to making the results freely available to everyone in our profession. As well as publishing a comprehensive report, we will also be updating our Salary Calculator Tool.

To view our latest vacancies for bid and proposal professionals, follow this link. To help us connect you with a winner to add to your team, follow this link.

Bidding Quarterly – Issue 2 Now Available

Issue 2 of Bidding Quarterly explores the concept of Bid Utopia and I’m delighted to say that our panel of experts have delivered up some fantastic ideas and views on this somewhat intellectually challenging subject. We have nine different perspectives for you to peruse – some of our experts certainly share similar views whilst others are somewhat more ‘out there’.

Download Bidding Quarterly here. 

To view our latest vacancies for bid and proposal professionals, follow this link. To help us connect you with a winner to add to your team, follow this link.

Bidding Quarterly Launched – Download Issue 1 Now

hope is not a strategy

Issue 1 of Bidding Quarterly declares ‘hope is not a strategy’ and provides insight, opinion & straight-talking from Bid Solutions’ panel of industry experts.

Click here to download your copy of Bidding Quarterly

To view our latest vacancies for bid and proposal professionals, follow this link. To help us connect you with a winner to add to your team, follow this link.

Crafting & Conveying Value

Wondering How to Develop Value Propositions?

There’s very little clear guidance or tools available to help bid teams to develop value propositions. Bearing in mind that research suggests that only 14% of a seller’s unique benefits are actually seen as such by buyers, our partner Strategic Proposals decided to embark on some research to delve deeper in to value. Their aim was to try and help organisations to answer the ‘So What’ question better. This paper, written by Jon Williams and Graham Ablett is the result. It’s a fascinating read and explores all the different ways that a buyer looks at value and provides you with thoughts and ideas to help ensure you build these into your proposals and presentations.

Click here to view the full report.

To view our latest vacancies for bid and proposal professionals, follow this link. To help us connect you with a winner to add to your team, follow this link.

Massive congratulations to WSP ׀ Parsons Brinckerhoff, winners of the 2016 UK APMP People Development award, sponsored by Bid Solutions. Read how they did it…

Winners of the 2017 APMP People Development Award

wsp parsons brinckerhoff
In 2014 WSP acquired Parsons Brinckerhoff and its UK proposals team doubled in size. Their challenge was to integrate people who worked to different processes, procedures and practice.

The management team recognised the need to define a common language for business and invest in its people to improve skills. A dual purpose programme was designed to integrate teams whilst improving proposal quality.

Step 1: Best Practice Training

A leading training provider worked with them to develop a course based on APMP theory. Six successful months of training followed: four UK locations, 50 newly-integrated staff and an average feedback score of 96%.

Step 2: A Competition to Promote Ongoing Best Practice

The impact on bid quality was immediate and showed in bid reviews, but sustaining this required a continued focus and application of best practice.

With a brief to showcase new skills and an incentive of £250, the ‘2016 Best Practice Competition’ was launched.  This was the opportunity to apply and showcase the valuable techniques learned during the training.

Step 3: Integration of Process & Governance

To further support people in making good business decisions, they reviewed process and governance. They took the best from both legacy organisations and introduced improvements that reflected APMP best practice.

The Outcome: A Refreshed Perception

The combined team’s ability to qualify with rationality, influence the impact of a document and develop content has resulted in a renewed respect from technical teams for a professional proposal function.

The Evidence

APMP accreditation has been the backbone of this upskilling initiative and their objective is for all proposals staff, including new starters, to achieve Foundation level.

  • From 18 to 41 people CF APMP in 12 months
  • 13 people progressing to Practitioner, four achieved this during 2016
  • Attendance at eight Foundation courses
  • Hosted two APMP events
  • Inclusion of APMP Practitioner accreditation in a financial incentive scheme to reward professional achievement

Overall win rate increase – increase in win rate of 39% in 12 months.

Their best score yet – 100/100 for quality recently recorded on a bid (combined quality/financial score of 99.55/100).

And here is some of the feedback received…

“The final decision was made in the board room. Your competitors were the recommended consultant. Based on the compelling document and your evident thirst for this project, we selected WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff over them.” Skanska

“If you asked me yesterday to write an introduction to why I’m a relevant Project Manager, it would be very different to the one I’ll write tomorrow. Tomorrow, it will be relevant and benefit rich!” Andy Poole, Following 5 Ways to Improve training

“The submission is extremely compelling.” Darrell Wilson, BDP

The feedback speaks for itself. The focus on people development has empowered WSP Parsons Brinckerhoff to produce powerful proposals, inspired careers and shaped an expert team to deliver the vision to BID LESS, WIN MORE.

I think you will agree with me when I say very worthy and impressive winners. Congratulations from all the team at Bid Solutions!

To view our latest vacancies for bid and proposal professionals, follow this link. To help us connect you with a winner to add to your team, follow this link.


‘Ask the Expert’ Launched – Free, Impartial Advice from Recognised Industry Professionals

Bid Solutions is delighted to announce the launch of its ‘Ask the Expert’ service. Advice from some of the leading lights in the industry, to help you with problems and build your own bid library.

With so many different approaches to bidding and a growing recognition of our profession globally, we understand just how hard it can be to get an objective opinion on best practice or industry-specific challenges. Having personally worked with some of the best people in our profession for over 20 years (and having benefitted from their counsel on many occasions), I’m pleased that we can now extend this fantastic service to our wider network.

The panel is comprised of 15 experts and is actively expanding to cover more industries and disciplines. Our current range of expertise includes: Apprenticeship Programmes; Benchmarking; Cost Modelling & Pricing Deal Management; Public Sector Bidding; Leadership & Coaching; Innovation; Proposal Management; Business Transformation; Proposal Training; Organisational Design; Professional Development; Content & Knowledge Management; and Microsoft Word.

The industries currently covered include: Construction; Professional Services; Financial Services; Aerospace; IT; Defence; and Telecoms.

Got a burning questions or struggling with a particular challenge? Simply find the relevant expert and submit your question at

Our experts have already offered up some fantastic advice and you can benefit by following the links below:

·         De-risking cost escalation & exchange rate fluctuations

·         Bid Consultancy Advice

·         Automated Bid Tracking Software

·         Incorporating original thinking in tender responses

·         Direct award options for unique services

·         Team motivation and engagement in times of change

·         Post Brexit Procurement Regime

·         APMP Training

·         Word Templates

As recognised thought leaders, our experts will be regularly sharing new ideas on best practice and discussing industry trends. Follow all their updates on our website and LinkedIn feeds.

More Information for your Bid Library

More resources are available to you, free of charge, through our Bid Hub.