The Money Files

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A blog that looks at all aspects of project and program finances from budgets and accounting to getting a pay rise and managing contracts.

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5 Facts from Benefit Realisation Management [Slideshare]

Career trends: the picture from 2014

15 Things You Should Have Done This Year on Your Project Budget

Project Cost Management: Determining Your Budget

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Career trends: the picture from 2014

Categories: research, salaries

Did you get a new job in 2014? Or are you hoping to get one next year? ESI have released a new report that looks at career trends over the last 12 months.

Starting salaries

As this in the inaugural report, ESI don’t have historical trend data on starting salaries. Even so, their assessment is interesting. In US Dollars, they report starting salaries as:

  • Graduate entry level: $38,957
  • Small project: $53,291
  • Moderate project: $64,768
  • Large, highly integrated project: $74,264

Note to self: put together justification for pay rise to present to my manager.

Getting the big money

The study found that if you want to be ‘proficient’ and earn the big bucks, you need to start off with 2 years on small projects, 5 years on medium sized projects and then 7 years on large, complex projects. That’s a career trajectory of 14 years! I hope that it doesn’t take the new project managers on my team that long to become a valuable, proficient project manager.

Note to self: plot out the career plans of the project managers in my team so they can see how they are advancing on to larger projects

Earn more with training

Just 5 days of training a year can make you a better project manager, and in turn, lead to a higher salary, the report says.

  • On small, low risk projects a week’s training can advance your career by 5 months
  • On moderate, medium risk projects, a week’s training can advance your career by 9 months
  • On large, highly integrated projects, a week’s training can advance your career by 13 months.

Targeted training can accelerate your ability to take on more complex and larger projects, jumping you ahead of your peers.

Note to self: find a course and get training booked for 2015.

Experienced PMs are in demand

Let’s say that you’ve done your time, you’ve advanced with training and you are now an experienced, proficient project manager. How hard is it to get a job?

Not very hard, according to the ESI study.

They report that it is difficult to find suitable, skilled project managers at all levels but it’s really, really hard when you want someone capable of managing a big, complex project.

  • 36% of respondents found it hard to find staff for small, low risk projects
  • 67% of respondents found it hard to find staff for moderate, medium risk projects
  • 88% of staff of respondents found it hard to find staff for large, highly integrated projects.

So there should be plenty of opportunities around for people at the experienced end of the scale, if you are able to take the time to seek them out.

Note to self:  update CV for all those great opportunities!

What are your career goals for the next 12 months? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Posted on: December 12, 2014 06:43 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Will the new Agency Workers Regulations affect you?

Picture of some peopleA new European law about using contract workers comes into effect in the UK on 1 October 2011. If your project relies on temporary staff, freelance workers, or contractors, you may find that your project costs go up.

What is the new law about?

The Agency Workers Regulations entitles freelancers, consultants and other ‘agency’ staff to equal access to benefits and equal working conditions to those of permanent staff. That impacts everything from maternity pay to annual appraisals and the right to attend the Christmas party.

Employing a temporary worker on your project means that they will be entitled to information about job opportunities in the company, access to the canteen and to use the childcare facilities if these are provided by the company: basically, they are ‘equal’ to permanent employees. It is likely to take some time to establish how far this goes: will they be entitled to a car parking space, for example? Or luncheon vouchers? (Although I’m not sure if companies still give out luncheon vouchers!)

These benefits apply from the first day that the person takes a role with the company. There’s another level of benefit for contractors, though. This level kicks in after the person has been in post for 12 weeks. At this point they become entitled to the same basic working and employment conditions as a permanent staff member.

That means that contractors become entitled to the same working hours, rest breaks, equal pay, overtime payments and bonuses. They also become entitled to annual leave, with parity to what is on offer to the permanent staff. One quirk of the new law is that they can choose to take the time off or receive additional pay in lieu of the holiday time – not all companies offer permanent employees the opportunity to do this, instead opting for a ‘use it or lose it’ policy.

What is the impact on your project team?

Contractors:

Contractor rates are typically higher than permanent staff rates because contractors are currently not entitled to holiday pay, sickness absence pay or other benefits. With the introduction of the new law, you could have the opportunity to negotiate a reduction in contractor rates to take into effect the additional payments required for holiday entitlement.

Overall, costs for contractor staff could be higher, and you would be advised to review the provisions of the law and plan this into your budgets, especially if your project needs contractors on the team for over 12 weeks. You may even find it harder to get approval for temporary team members, because the terms of the new law make it less attractive to employee short term contractors.

Permanent staff:

Don’t forget the impact of all this on the permanent staff in your project team. Contractors are generally on high day rates – and now they are getting holiday pay? Managing the morale of your permanent team members when faced with high earning contractors could be tricky, so think about what you can do to address the balance. What else can you offer in terms of reward and recognition to support the permanent team members?

You may also find that permanent team members who have been thinking about contracting decide that this is the push they need to leave employment and set up on their own as a project management contractor.

What next?

First, find out if the rules apply to your company. Talk to your Human Resources department. This is the result of EU regulations, but even if you are working in a non-EU country, it could have an implication for your project if you have a European division. Normally, the rules of engagement in the hiring country apply so even if you are working elsewhere, team members based in the EU could be affected.
 
Second, find out if the rules apply to your contractors. In my company, The Otobos Group, I have a number of part-time staff – including an accountant and a virtual assistant. The Agency Workers Regulations do not apply to these people because I buy services from their companies, I do not have the individuals under my direct supervision on a day-to-day basis. There might be contractors or freelances to whom this applies, but given the cost, time and reputational damage that going to court incurs, it is best to be careful. This article is not meant to provide specific legal advice for your situation, so the best thing to do is to check now about how the new regulations will affect your project team!

Posted on: September 17, 2011 02:26 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Salaries, benefits and the training outlook for 2011

Categories: news, reports, research, salaries

Arras People, the specialist project management recruitment company and the people behind How to Manage a Camel, have just released their latest Project Management Benchmark Report.  This is an annual, ‘state of the industry’ UK project management study, and each year it includes information about salaries and corporate budgets.  Here are some of the highlights from this latest report.

Training budgets cut

  • Over one in five employees say that there is no training budget for this year.
  • Only 15% of employees have an agreed training budget or plan.
  • 15% of employees state that they would think about funding their own training this year, if they felt they would see adequate returns. This goes up to 47% for contractors, many of whom take advantage of courses run at the weekend.

Salaries static

  • Salaries across all respondents was flat: 41% of respondents said there was no change in their salary against last year.
  • Some people were lucky: 17% of respondents reported an increase of more than 5% (up from 12% last year).
  • Some weren’t so lucky: 18% saw their remuneration fall (down from 27% last year – at least this is improving).
  • Nearly a quarter of people reported an increase of between 1% and 5%, but this is mainly employees, not contractors.

As well as looking at salary movements, the survey gathered data on salary amounts.  The mode salary for project practitioners in the public sector is £30k to £40k: 36% of respondents fit in here. In the private sector the mode salary is the £40k to 350k band.

Benefits

Part of a remuneration package is benefits: cycle hire scheme, childcare vouchers, season ticket loan, pension and so on. If you get these, consider yourself luck: 52% of employees reported that they receive no benefits.

The full 36-page Arras People Project Management Benchmark Report 2011 is available on line here.

Posted on: March 13, 2011 01:20 PM | Permalink | Comments (2)

Live from PMI Global Congress North America: How to Become a Program Manager

Categories: events, pmi, program, salaries

Convention CentrePedro Serrador presented yesterday at PMI Global Congress North America on how to become a program manager.  There are many career advantages to program management – not least that program managers tend to earn more than project managers.  So if you want to move into program management, here are Pedro’s tips.

“A program manager adds more value than just project managers,” said Pedro.  He said there are eight principles to being a successful program manager, and shared these from Vincent J. Bilardo, Jr.:

  • Establish a clear, compelling vision
  • Secure sustained support from the top
  • Exercise strong management and leadership
  • Facilitate open communication
  • Develop a strong organisation
  • Manage risk
  • Implement effective integration
  • Create your own success

Moving to a program manager role requires you to deliver the goods, he said.  There might also be a case for upgrading your education, and learning from others.  Pedro also said that prospective program managers should put themselves in a position where they can lead and mentor others, and especially learn to delegate appropriately.  “Show that you are a leader, not just one of ten project managers in the group,” he added.  Look for the opportunities that arrive and take them.  Finally, act the role, he explained.  “If you want to become a program manager, act like a program manager. Start to structure things like programs.”  If you act like a program manager, your manager will see that you are capable of operating at that level.

“Often it is beneficial to move around,” he said, when he spoke about how to land that new program management job.  That could mean moving to a new initiative or to a new company.  He explained that outside CEO’s earn an average of 13% more than internal candidates.  However, they fail 34% of the time, compared with only 24% of internal candidates, so there is something to be said for sticking with what you know.  “Moving is riskier,” Pedro said.

Pedro had some tips for what to do when you get that first program, or you choose to structure your existing work as a program (even if you don’t yet have the title):

  • Structure sub-projects properly
  • Make your project managers run things how you would run them
  • Don’t micro-manage
  • Get strong business and executive level focus

Pedro also said that senior managers spend more time planning their own time.  “You help the projects managers get on the right track and then go on to something else,” he said.  Factor that into your daily schedule and take the time to plan your day (and your schedule in general).  It might seem like it takes a long time but it will be effective.

“A big part of your role is to let the stakeholders know the importance of your program and you need to be able to push to have obstacles removed,” he said.  His final piece of advice was to have a 30 second status summary in meetings in case the executive you are presenting to gets called away.  “Know to stop at yes,” he added.

Posted on: October 11, 2010 04:05 PM | Permalink | Comments (4)
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