Career Prospects for Project Managers & HR Professionals: What the Latest Global Research Says!

Career Prospects for Project Managers & HR Professionals: What the Latest Global Research Says!


At last after a year of disruption in the Australian economy with the Federal election and the on again off again nature of large, complex projects, comes some really good news for those of you planning for the future as a Project Manager or HR Professional!

In its 2013 ‘Pulse of the Profession’ survey, the Project Management Institute predicts that between 2010 and 2020, 15.7 million new project management roles will be created globally across seven project-intensive industries. China and India will lead the growth in project management, generating approximately 8.1 million and 4 million project management roles through to 2020, respectively.

Along with job growth, there will be a significant increase in the economic footprint of the project management profession which is expected to grow by US$6.61 trillion. This enormous anticipated growth, along with higher-than average salaries, will make the next seven years an opportune time for professionals and job-seekers to build their project management skills.

The industry sectors expected to lead this growth up to 2020 are business services and Health care. Now up until very recently the Healthcare sector has not been a major player in PM so it’s interesting to note that it will become one and both these sectors rely far more on skilled project managers rather than requiring any specialist industry skills to facilitate the smooth flow of PM (unlike for example the construction or IR sectors whose projects tend to work better with strong technical knowledge). So, while it always been the case that a professional PM can manage a project in any sector, these two high growth project intensive industries should certainly fit the mould!

The good news doesn’t stop with Project Managers either! The report notes that, to achieve those impressive growth figures, will require a much more intensive focus on human capital and talent management activities.  In line with this:

  • 77% of the global CEO’s interviewed stated that they anticipated making changes to their talent management strategies, and
  • 23% are currently planning major changes.
  • 71% of CEO’s see human capital as a key source of sustained economic value.


This recognition of, and need for talent and the strategies that will enable it, falls comfortable into the bailiwick of the strategic HRM Professional, so the demand for HR Professionals to engage with, attract and then retain the very best of PM breed will grow alongside the demand. Strategic talent management is not a skill set that currently abounds in the HR and/or executive management marketplace but it’s something that will be in high demand if organisations are going to be competitive players in this area of enormous potential growth.

The other significant point of interest for those who would be career PM’s is the emerging need for more highly skilled project managers. While two in three organisations or, 66%,  found their greatest difficulty lay in finding resources with adequate PM technical skills, the research also found that this won’t be enough and that there is currently a significant gap in the number of professionals prepared to step up to the mark and lead and manage projects. In fact, the report notes that this talent gap is negatively impacting the growth and profitability of organisations. It notes that ‘quality, innovation, strategic projects and market opportunities have all been adversely affected’ by this talent scarcity.

 The report notes that there are three critical project management skill sets needed for successful projects and to fill this gap. They are:

          The PM technical skills,

          Strategic and business management and



So, if you’re looking to be part of this enormous PM industry then you’re going to need to get your technical skills on board and recognised and, if you hope to make PM your long-term career, then, you’ll need to focus on leadership and strategic business management skills as well.

And if we come back to our HR Professionals, well the report found that the level of talent management alignment to organisational strategy has a clear impact on the success of projects meeting their original goals and business intent.

Furthermore, it found that organisations in which talent management is aligned to the organisational strategy have an average project success rate of 72% (this compares to those without this alignment with an average success rate of only 58%). It then goes on to list an impressive list of benefits that organisations with successfully aligned talent management to organisational strategy reap.

It’s not hard to see that successful organisations and organisations looking to maintain their competitive edge are going to need to pay a lot more attention to talent management! This is something that we here at CAL have been jumping up and down about for ages as many of our students in HRM would be only too well aware of!

So, if you’re thinking about a career in HRM or further developing your skills as an HR Professional then, once you have the basics under control, I suggest you to build your skills in Human Capital Management, strategic and business management and yes – leadership! That way you’ll have all the skills you need to develop and align talent management to organisational strategy that, in turn creates the competitive advantage required to sustain and grow the organisation.    

Now, this research is exciting and vindicating for all of us here at CAL as we have been pro-actively pushing the need for these skills – that is the combination of technical skills in HR or PM along with strategic management, people and leadership skills. In fact, we have been inserting them into our online programs as additional elective tutorials for those really keen or switched on students who want to take advantage of them.  

 So, I can’t resist the urge to self-promote and say that, if you’re looking to get a head start on the future why not consider doing a dual qualification program combining the technical skills you need with the leadership and management skills so important for the future.

For project managers why not undertake a dual qualification comprising the Diploma of Project Management with the Diploma of Management and,

For HR Professionals why not undertake a dual qualification comprising the Diploma of Human Resources Management with the Diploma of Management.

Sure it’s a significant investment in time, effort and cost but, when compared to the potential return on investment it is (well, in my humble opinion) worth it. Particularly if you’re looking for a strong, sustainable career pathway that can grow with you and that has the potential to deliver all the outcomes you want and need.

At the College for Adult Learning we design all our qualification programs to ensure you get the skills you need for both what the market wants now and for what the future is demanding. We are continuously updating our programs with new, additional and updated tutorials to ensure that the program of study you enrol in addresses the very latest in research findings and in ‘can do’ industry requirements.  

We guarantee our programs will challenge and provoke you to think outside the box as well as provide you with all the knowledge and skills, together with a comprehensive kit bag of tools and techniques, that you’ll need to step up to the plate and take a leadership role in project management or as an HR Professional.

I didn’t set out for this blog to end as a sales pitch and, it’s not my normal style but, I sometimes get carried away by the moment and let passion overtake sensibility!

If nothing else I recommend you have a read of the two reports that you can find on the links below.


[strong colour=”darkgrey” weight=”normal”]‘PMI’s Project Management Talent Gap’ Report 2013.[/strong]  Click Here


[strong colour=”darkgrey” weight=”normal”]‘PMI’s ‘Pulse of the Profession’ Report 2013.[/strong]  Click Here


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