A pricing manager is someone who sets the costs of goods, merchandise and services for a company. Many times, pricing managers will establish policies and guidelines, or make recommendations to management regarding the pricing and purchasing of items used for resale. Pricing managers, who work in a variety of industries, are typically in charge of marketing as well as setting costs.
Pricing managers have to understand the industry and the “going rate” for the items being sold. In many instances, pricing managers need to promote products after setting a price. Some managers also hire, train and direct a staff of other pricing or marketing associates. Pricing managers spend a lot of time analyzing the competition and coming up with ways to market products and services. One of the key aspects to being a pricing manager is to find fair “sale” prices on items, marking down an item's cost as it gets older or less trendy.
A pricing manager must know her industry inside and out. For instance, if works in a retail shoe store, she needs to know what other companies charge for certain brands of shoes, then either try to beat it, equal it or find an easily explained reason to sell it at a higher price. She needs to be a strong communicator, and possess sound organizational and analytical skills. And because much of her job is centered around numbers, she should be well-versed in math and economics. If the manager has a staff, she should own good leadership and teamwork qualities.
Education and background requirements for pricing managers differ based on the industry. Most pricing managers need a college degree with an emphasis on courses in math, marketing and communications. However, managers who work for smaller companies may need only a high school diploma and a proven understanding--and perhaps passion for--the products being sold.
Jobs for pricing managers will fluctuate with along industries. Because companies need to set costs on merchandise, pricing managers are likely to be fairly secure overall. Most pricing managers fall into the categories of marketing or sales managers. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of those types of workers is expected to increase anywhere from 12 percent to 15 percent from 2008 to 2018.
Just like the job outlook, salaries for pricing managers fluctuate considerably based on the field. PayScale.com reported that pricing analysts earned nearly $39,000 to $85,000 annually, as of April 2010. Managers were likely at the higher end of the pay scale.