It’s a difficult time to be a business or practice development manager. Research suggests almost two-thirds of PDMs and BDMs are so frustrated in their current roles that they’re ready to switch to other jobs.

Business Health’s ‘Business Ready IV’ whitepaper, to be released this week, reveals what it calls “a potentially alarming level of discontent” among PDMs and BDMs. It defines a PDM as a manager who works on behalf of a licensee, and a BDM as a manager with an institutional employer.

It has found eight in 10 (81 per cent) of PDMs and BDMs (collectively, “managers”) have seen their workloads increase, but their compensation remains unchanged.

While 64 per cent of mangers say they’re looking for a change in role or responsibilities, only 45 per cent say they’ve already been directly approached by a competitor.

But even for this cohort, the Business Health report sounds a potential warning: discontent is so widespread, the grass may not necessarily be greener, and switching to a role as a manager with another licensee or institution might not address the fundamental problem.

“That was reflected when we drill down a little bit to what what’s your next move look like?” Business Health partner Rod Bertino tells Professional Planner.

“A significant amount said it was for a senior management role. But will there be the senior management roles for these experienced BDMs to move into as their next step? The industry is contracting still; there’s aggregation. The roles may not be there, the number of roles might not be there, for these people to move into.”

Bertino says the research shows managers are collectively being asked to do much more, with much less.

“They’re working really hard,” he says. “All of them want to add real, tangible, meaningful value. But they don’t always have the tools.”

Where managers are ill-equipped by their employers to meet the needs and expectations of managers, there’s a fair level of improvisation, Bertino says.