Employer Branding

Why a Project Management Career Can Weather the Economic Storm

At a time of political and economic uncertainty, it can be a challenge for recruiters and employers to attract new talent – and retain quality staff. Yet according to new research, project management seems to be one profession bucking that trend.

Away from the doom and gloom of the news headlines, our annual ‘Salary and Market Trends Survey’ has revealed that nearly eight out of 10 (77 percent) of project professionals are optimistic about the supply of jobs in the project profession over the next five years and more than two thirds (70 percent) are expecting pay increases in the next 12 months.

Likewise, confidence around project professionals’ own economic prospects has also grown, rising to 56 percent this year from the 43 percent who rated it as excellent or good in 2017.

Positively 49 percent of respondents cited that their organization is growing and bringing in new staff – great news for recruiters. More than a third of respondents also stated that they are likely to change employer within the next year.

There’s good news for employers too, with job satisfaction levels markedly high. 81 percent of project professionals stated they are satisfied in their current roles, compared to 77 percent in 2015.

So, positive news so far, however, there’s still room for improvement.

  • Together, we need to increase the visibility of the project profession as a viable and positive career choice across businesses and promote its sustainability and financial rewards.
  • We need to work harder to increase the perception of the value project management brings to a business and develop clearer career paths to encourage more into the profession.
  • Closing the gap in gendered pay will help to attract more women to project management and ensure that those who remain in the profession feel valued. Our survey reveals that men are now earning 24 percent more than women in 2018, compared to 30 percent in 2017. Certainly not an even balance, but a positive trend that we’re keen to help continue.

Projecting the future

Perhaps the most heartening of our survey findings though are the perceptions held by the next-generation. Among younger project professionals there is a particularly positive sentiment about the future with 78 percent of 18-24s rating their own economic prospects as either ‘excellent’ or ‘good’. This same group was also the most positive that there would be a good supply of jobs in project management over the next five years.

It is this encouraging outlook that could help our profession ride out any uncertainty faced by the UK in the months and years to come. While also fuelling innovation in many different sectors and offering new or existing project professionals the chance of an attractive and sustainable career path full of increased learning opportunities and rewarding professional development.

After all, let’s remember that nurturing talent remains crucial, whatever the weather.

About the author: Debbie Dore is Chief Executive of the Association for Project Management (APM), having been previously Chief Commercial Officer and Chief Operating Officer.  Prior to joining APM, Debbie served as a senior executive at Oxford University Press and on the board at Swets Information Services delivering global transformation projects across sales, IT and customer service. 

Having had responsibility for teams in 25 countries, Debbie has extensive international experience and has a proven track record in delivering significant business change programmes, driving growth and increasing profitability.  Debbie has also served as a non-executive director for UKSG, a membership organization connecting the knowledge community, and as a volunteer for Inspiring Future Careers. 


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