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The resilience of project management

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Project management is a profession that appears to stay strong even when the political and economic climate is uncertain. APM’s 2019 Salary and Market Trends Survey of over 4,500 project professionals from multiple sectors found 77 per cent of professionals were optimistic about the next five years. We also found that the project profession is going against the redundancy trend with the expectation of job losses falling from 14 per cent in 2017 to 11 per cent this year.

Why might project management be so resilient?

  1. Job fulfilment

81 per cent of project professionals stated they were satisfied in their current roles, a trend that has been growing since 2015. Whether contractors or permanent employees, job fulfilment is relatively high, with many expressing positivity in terms of organisation growth and a good supply of jobs in the next five years.

  1. Financial security

Project management continues to boast stable pay across age brackets, which contributes to optimism for a secure future. The profession offers appealing starting salaries, with 43 per cent of 18-to-24-year-olds saying they earned between £25,000 and £34,999. And it doesn’t stop there, 70 per cent of respondents expect a pay and benefits increase in the next year too.

  1. Movement in the field

Nearly a third expressed that they are likely to change employer over the next 12 months. The capacity to move and grow within project management is appealing – many project professionals are contractors, so they have the freedom to change their workplace. These opportunities to shift and progress in different fields means no job is ever the same, and this diversity could be why project management continues to stay strong.

  1. Future growth

The future of project management appears to be bright as well, with positivity around individual growth. There is a very positive outlook from those beginning their careers in the project profession, 78 per cent of 18-to-24-year-olds rated their own prospects as ‘excellent’ or ‘good’.

  1. Wellbeing

Project professionals also seem to feel positive with 69 per cent rating their mental health as ‘good’ or ‘very good’. A positive working environment in a demanding role could be why many stay within project management even if they move between sectors. However, we recognise that wellbeing is a topic that must be explored so stayed tuned with APM for further investigation.

These could be some of the reasons why project management endures as a profession, but we acknowledge that there is much to develop on as well – whether it’s continuing to reduce the gender wage gap or having clearer career paths through project management. However, it is exciting to know that project management can ride out uncertainty and stand strong against political and economic doubt. Many different sectors offer new and existing professionals a sustainable and interesting career filled with opportunities to grow and learn.

Image: kristnu/Shutterstock.com

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  1. Gordon MacKay
    Gordon MacKay 27 April 2019, 12:40 PM

    Hi Dayner No coincidence then that the Ibis - on which the APM logo is based - is reminiscent of the Egyptian Hieroglyph.. https://www.apm.org.uk/about-us/apm-brand/ "In many countries the ibis is also a symbolic bird that represents resilience and courage, being the last creature to take shelter during a storm and the first to return – it signifies qualities of a good project manager."

  2. Paul Giammalvo
    Paul Giammalvo 02 May 2019, 09:48 AM

    Folks, as evidenced by the taming of fire over 1 million years ago to the invention of the wheel 6000 years ago to the Pyramids of Giza 5000 years ago to today's Burj Khalifa and Kingdom Tower, all stand as evidence that the propensity to "initiate, plan, execute, control and close" projects is somehow hard-wired into the human psyche- that the need or desire to "do" projects is what sets humans aside from the animals. And standing as proof of that hypothesis, just take a look at the sticky notes that my wife and kids have added to my refrigerator door listing all the projects they want me to do. Project management is NOT a profession at all. It is a series of PROCESSES that are already embedded into all existing professions, the trades and even into our day to day personal lives. Stop trying to make it into more than what it really is. BR, Dr. PDG, Jakarta, Indonesia

  3. Richard Renshaw
    Richard Renshaw 07 June 2019, 11:26 AM

    I agree that project managements is a profession and has demonstrated resilience in the face of market challenges. The evidence to support includes: https://www.apm.org.uk/news/eight-key-takeaways-from-our-2019-apm-membership-satisfaction-survey/ From the above survey facts the satisfaction trend is upward. In addition the current register of PM persons attaining RPP and Chartered Professional is increasing. To demonstrate inclusivity persons do not need to be members of APM to make an application to become a Chartered Project Management Professional. APM providing free membership to young professionals who are studying I thought was a pleasing initiative. Thanks Dayner for the good Blog, appreciated. Richard Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia