Proposal writers are skilled professionals with a diverse set of aptitudes. Almost every industry needs proposal writers to run smoothly. What do proposal writers earn per year, on average?
Average Salary for Proposal Writers
Writers and authors, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) points out, earn a median yearly salary of $67,120. On the leanest end of the spectrum, writers earn less than $35,880 a year. The top 10 percent can, meanwhile, receive annual salaries that exceed $133,460.
It will surprise nobody that salary average for writers vary greatly from one industry to another, as well as that they depend on factors like the nature of the job and the skills it calls for, and individual writers’ experience, qualifications, and location.
Where do proposal writers, who work in diverse sectors that include retail, manufacturing, healthcare, finance, and charitable or non-profit organizations, fit into this picture? Because the Bureau of Labor Statistics does not collect salary data that specifically pertains to proposal writers, we will have to turn to popular salary-tracking platforms.
- PayScale shows that proposal writers in the United States earn an average of $59,121 per year, adding that annual wages tend to run between $41,000 and $81,000.
- Indeed indicates that the average salary for proposal writers is $64,216 per year.
- According to ZipRecruiter, proposal writers earn an average of $67,047 annually.
- Salary.com offers the highest estimate; their data suggests that proposal writers have a median salary of $73,201 per year, while noting that these professionals typically have an income between $65,601 and $82,201 per year.
While the manner in which these platforms collect their data means that they will never be able to offer salary estimates as clear and comprehensive as a government source like the BLS, these figures remain informative. They are based either on salary information provided by current proposal workers, on salary offers made by hiring employers in job adverts, or, in some cases, on a combination of both.
The large range seen across these four platforms likely reflects the varied industries in which proposal writers are employed. Many proposal writers are employed in the non-profit sector as grant writers, for instance. Somewhat counter-intuitively, government data in fact indicates that professionals who work in the non-profit sector tend to earn slightly higher salaries than their peers in for-profit fields.
What Do Proposal Writers Make Per Hour?
Just like annual salary estimates for proposal writers differ somewhat from platform to platform, the same holds true for hourly rates. ZipRecruiter estimates that proposal writers an an average of $32 per hour, while Indeed places this number at $33.57 per hour. PayScale has a significantly lower estimate; this platform indicates that the average hourly wage for proposal writers in the US is $24.11.
These ballpark ideas will be most interesting to aspiring proposal writers who are hoping to work part-time. Some proposal writers are also self-employed professionals who work on a freelance basis. Although they are more likely to be compensated per project or per word, freelance proposal writers can use these hourly rates to determine if they are charging sufficiently.
Based on Experience
In most fields, professionals can expect their yearly salaries to rise as they accumulate experience, insider knowledge, and connections in the industry. Data provided by Salary.com shows that proposal writers are no exception:
- New proposal writers have a median annual salary of $70,705.
- Proposal writers who have worked in the field for three to four years enjoy a slightly higher median salary of $72,407 per year.
- After working as a proposal writer for seven to nine years, the median yearly wage shoots up to $75,888.
- Those who have been working as proposal writers for at least 10 years have a median annual wage of $76,559.
Based on Education
First, is it important to note that the majority of employers — in any sector — who are hiring proposal writers will want their applicants to possess, at a minimum, a Bachelor’s degree. This degree may be in an area related to writing, such as journalism or communications, or in a relevant technical field.
Salary.com indicates that proposal writers who have a Bachelor’s degree make a median annual salary of $72,407. The fact that proposal writers who have a Master’s degree under their belt earn only slightly more, with a median wage of $72,974 per year, shows that your earning potential will not increase significantly if exceed this minimum requirement.
Top Paying States for Proposal Writers
The salary a proposal writer can hope to earn does not only depend on their qualifications, years of experience, and the industry in which they work, but also on their location. According to ZipRecruiter, proposal writers who are based in California, Massachusetts, New York, Alaska, and Maryland earn more, on average, than their counterparts who live in other parts of the country.
Unsurprisingly, most job openings for proposal writers are concentrated in large urban centers.
Job Outlook for Proposal Writers
The outlook for proposal writers is not entirely clear. Writing jobs in general are, however, projected to grow by nine percent in the coming decade. This is just a slightly higher growth rate than is seen across all professions.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics explicitly notes that writing jobs are expected to dwindle in the traditional print publishing industry, while growth is likely to occur in other sectors. As most proposal writers will work in fields outside of publishing and media, the general outlook is not set in stone.
Skilled and qualified proposal writers are, however, likely to have plenty of career opportunities. After gaining experience as more junior members of their teams, proposal writers can also explore roles as senior proposal writers or proposal managers. These opportunities for career progression lead to corresponding increases in salary.
What Exactly Does a Proposal Writer Do?
A proposal writer expertly compiles well-written, factual, and persuasive proposal documents of various types. They may craft internal proposals to be used within their company or organization, various types of external proposals, including sales proposals, and grant proposals.
Over the course of their everyday activities, a proposal writer may:
- Conduct background research, gather data, and engage in fact-checking that will form the backbone of the proposal they are currently working on.
- Write a wide variety of proposal documents in a standardized — but also clear and persuasive — manner. Edits and revisions will inevitably form a part of this process.
- Present proposals formally, within the company or organization or to other businesses or organizations.
- Collaborate closely with other members of the team, as well as with outside organizations.
How to Become a Proposal Writer?
The majority of successful proposal writers first complete a Bachelor’s degree in a field that nurtures excellent writing skills. People who already know that they are interested in proposal writing while they are in college will gain an additional edge if they study the structure of proposal documents and practice crafting them.
Seeking internships, either at non-profit organizations or within companies, is the best way to gain experience, insider knowledge, and begin networking in this case. Following an internship or two, further job opportunities will almost certainly open up to recent graduates.
However, professionals who already have relevant education as well as experience in technical fields may also become highly-successful proposal writers. That may be in healthcare, aviation, finance, or any other sector. Proposal writers are needed in every industry, after all.
Qualifications to Be a Proposal Writer
Young people who aspire to become proposal writers will usually be advised to pursue a Bachelor’s degree in an area such as:
These degrees will, alongside self-study to learn about the structure of proposals, place a great number of vacancies within your reach. Other degrees, such as in marketing or business, can also be helpful, on the other hand.
Skills to Be a Proposal Writer
Proposal writers should certainly possess outstanding writing skills — and the type of writing required to craft an effective proposal document is clear and entire fact-based, but also creative in that a proposal writer has to be extremely persuasive. This means that proposal writers should also be skilled editors who are able to spot the mistakes they and others made, in order to fix them.
In addition, the best proposal writers will also have the following aptitudes:
- Excellent research skills that may call for data analysis (and therefore statistics) as well.
- Strong communication and social skills. Proposal writers may need to interview people and do presentations, but they will certainly be expected to work seamlessly with a variety of people inside and outside their organization.
- Resilience is another must. Proposal writing can be a high-pressure job.
Can You Be a Proposal Writer Without a Degree?
There are always exceptions. On the whole, however, proposal writers require a Bachelor’s degree to do this job.