Now we're into the engine room of the agency / supplier company - SREs and the next level up are sometimes referred to in this way and are also called 'mid-level', even though we look for anything from 2 years' experience up to about 4 and a half for SREs, depending on other factors - and two years into a 40-year career may not seem to be the middle! SREs will work on all stages of a project, often with relatively little supervision. This doesn't necessarily mean that they run the project - at the start and end in particular they will generally be steered by senior staff - but they will often be capable of doing most or all of the real work of a project, including running group discussions, discussing and agreeing stages with clients, specifying analysis and writing up draft proposals, presentations and reports. In some cases, they're doing pretty much everything a Research / Project Manager is and indeed some companies don't bother with the latter level, going straight from SRE to Associate Director - however, generally there's a real distinction between them in the degree of autonomy they are given. As an SRE, you're generally doing all the work on jobs for someone else's client - as a PM / RM, they're your clients. Perhaps as a result - tho rather unfairly we think - there's a huge jump in salary somewhere around now, from a mean of GBP 29 or 30k for an SRE to around ten thousand more at the next stage.
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