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Career Progression Path for M&E Managers

Sam Warren
May 20, 2024

Throughout my career in recruitment, specifically working with M&E Managers (at all levels), I have found that some people at the early stages of this path, or Electricians, Pipefitters, Plumbers, etc., don't always have a clear idea of the path they have in front of them. Every company has a different structure, which is heavily dependent on the size of the business as well as the size and type of projects. However, as a rough idea, please see below a brief snapshot of the managerial career path available to you.

1. Mechanical / Electrical Site Supervisor:

Often, the first step off the tools is a step into supervising either mechanical or electrical packages for a subcontractor. This role usually involves managing a number of trade operatives and carrying out quality assurance using systems such as SnagR and Fieldview. As a site supervisor, you will start to hone your leadership skills and learn the intricacies of managing teams and ensuring quality work on site.

2. Mechanical / Electrical Manager:

With experience, you could step up to a management level which will have a more overall view of the installation. Along with overseeing supervisors and checking the QA, you will be involved with more paperwork such as managing the programme, Tech Subs, and RFIs. Depending on the size of the company or project, you may also be responsible for creating progress reports for the client. This role is crucial as it blends hands-on supervision with administrative responsibilities, providing a well-rounded managerial experience.

3. Project Management:

Again, this is usually dependent on the size of the business, but in general, you would move into a Mechanical OR Electrical Project Manager role. Here, you will still report to a Senior PM or Project Director on site but will have complete control of the Mechanical/Electrical packages. More involved with the client and building that relationship, you will start to be commercially aware, involved in some procurement with the supply chain, and making sure the project is running to budget. This stage is pivotal as you begin to take on full project ownership and enhance your client relationship management skills.

4. Senior PM / Project Director:

You will now be in total control of this project (and maybe one other). You will be responsible for everything here, utilising your PMs and Managers for the day-to-day running of the project whilst you take a more overall view of things, ensuring you are on time according to the programme, on budget, and in constant contact with the client representatives. At this level, you could also be involved with winning future phases or projects with this client. This role demands a strategic outlook and the ability to juggle multiple high-stakes tasks effectively.

5. Operations Manager/Director:

At this level, you will be more office-based, having a heavy influence on the day-to-day running of the business. You should be involved in everything here, from winning work, keeping tabs on the current packages, managing the hiring processes, and coming up with ways to push the business forward. Your role will be instrumental in shaping the company's future and ensuring its long-term success. Leadership, strategic planning, and business development will be key components of your responsibilities.

If you are looking for opportunities, give me a call or email. I find it is always best to learn about you and your aspirations first, and then we can speak about suitable businesses and roles that fit.

By understanding this career progression, you can better navigate your path and make informed decisions that align with your professional goals.

Sam Warren
Sam Warren

Hi, my name is Sam Warren.  I work at Streamline Recruitment in their London offices. I head up the construction and M&E division of Streamline Recruitment. My team cover roles on a freelance a permanent basis.  We work with Operational, Commercial and Technical Staff at all levels as well...

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