Project Management

Career trends: the picture from 2014

From the The Money Files Blog
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A blog that looks at all aspects of project and program finances from budgets, estimating and accounting to getting a pay rise and managing contracts. Written by Elizabeth Harrin from GirlsGuideToPM.com.

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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

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