Membership of a recognised professional body can give an edge in the project management job market, with better prospects and commanding up to £20,000 a year more than those with no affiliation.
According to the results of the Salary and Market Trends survey carried out by the Association for Project Management (APM), on average its members earn more than non-members working in project, programme and portfolio management.
Membership not only shows that you have the formal qualities to do the job, it also demonstrates that you do so to high ethical and professional standards and are continually improving and expanding yourself and your skills.
“The job of any professional body is to set, maintain and develop the standards of the profession and the technical and ethical competences through examination and continuing professional development (CPD),” said Rob Denny, head of research at the Professional Associations Research Network (PARN).
“Membership is a kite mark of competence. As a member of your professional body, you go through a CPD process of continually refreshing your skills and competences. Employers recognise this strength.”
PARN has 133 member organisations across all sectors, including APM. A study by the Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply (CIPS) and Hays Procurement in 2015 produced similar results to the APM survey, added Rob, and there is further anecdotal evidence from others that also supports this.
Recent PARN research among professional organisations showed that the vast majority have seen a noticeable increase in membership in the past few years, possibly due to the economic downturn, with people seeking ways of setting themselves apart as they compete for opportunities.
Employers, too, are realising the benefits, stating professional membership and qualifications in job advertisements.
“If the professional body has done its job and is recognised in its sector, it is absolutely beneficial to the individual to be a member,” said Rob.
The APM Salary and Market Trends Survey for 2015 showed that full-time membership of a professional body proved to be the main pay differentiator.
In the mid-salary range, 34 per cent with no professional project management qualifications earned £20,000-£39,000 a year, compared to 44 per cent with qualifications who earned £40,000-£59,999.
Not surprisingly, the level of membership and qualification also influenced pay rates. More than half of APM Associate members reported earning £30,000-£49,000 compared to nearly a quarter of all APM Fellows on £100,000 or more a year, and a greater number of Full members (MAPMs) earning £100,000 or more compared to those with APMP: The APM Project Management Qualification.
The APM Salary and Market Trends Survey report is the largest stakeholder engagement exercise ever conducted by the association and its most downloaded report to date.