The World Bank suggests that more than one-fifth of the world’s GDP is spent on project-based work. The paradigm has shifted from focusing on how we manage people to how we managing projects. In fact, some business leaders consider project management to be the new business management.
There is no doubt that project managers are, and will continue to be in high demand. According to the Project Management Institute (PMI)1, the demand for project managers exceeds the availability. Over the next decade, they are projecting an annual average of 1.2 million new jobs which will need this skill set.
A recent survey by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) asked senior managers to identify the job category most important to their current and future success. They identified project professionals as the single most important management job category.
The question is not whether there will be jobs in PM for the foreseeable future but instead what form these jobs will take. For example, a friend of mine recently took up a senior PM position for a large Australian Bank but, as a PM Consultant. So he’s job is to project manage a globally sensitive project as an external consultant. At the time when he investigated the opportunity he found that outsourcing PM roles was bank policy and, so entrenched is this position, that the Bank has an arrangement with a brokering company who manage payroll and other PAYE obligations for those PM’s who don’t want the hassle of setting up their own company!
Another very experienced project manager I know has been working as a consultant and on the books of a PM Consultancy company and has been working for more than 12 months on a large, complex project for our national mail provider.
Now, this of course is the nature of projects. After all projects are set for a discrete timeframe and it makes good business sense to simply hire the staff you need for a project when you need them. This is what companies are now doing, often working in tandem with PM Consulting Companies who provide suitably qualified and experienced labour or, with brokerage firms who handle payment for consultants sourced independently. It makes sound business sense; there is no downtime so no wasted salaries in between projects and no trying to fit square pegs into round holes simply because you’ve got a salaried project manager sitting around waiting for the next project to commence. You can ensure you have the best person for each new project that commences.
It seems to me that this is the way of the future of project management and, if so, then the need to have a CV that stacks up will be imperative. Project Managers seeking projects that best suit them, while keeping gainfully employed will need to have strong CV’s that demonstrates their experience in projects as well as their understanding of the PM methodology and their ability to utilise processes and use tools effectively to ensure successful projects. This means that, along with experience, project managers will need to hold relevant qualifications and/or certifications.
So, a Diploma of Project Management is a must as a baseline qualification with post-graduate qualifications for more senior roles and, along with the basic PM qualification you also need to demonstrate your skill in working with various methodologies so, for example, if you’re applying for a project with the QLD Government well you would be well placed to hold the PRINCE2 Certification and/or, if you’re working in IT you might find Agile a definite advantage just as the global PMI Certification accredits the work experience you have at an associate or professional level.
The world of work and employment option is definitely changing and, for project managers this change is well and truly here. Even if you have significant project experience, your CV is not as competitive if you don’t have the baseline qualifications and relevant certifications. Now is the time to get serious about that Diploma of Project Management you’ve been putting off for so long!