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Key considerations

Project Management Salary Survey 2023
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Dealing with volatility

In any year, there are a number of concerns for the future. But the past year has had more than its fair share, with the conflict in Ukraine, UK political instability, and the twin fallout of the pandemic and Brexit still having a detrimental effect on business. Something that all of these challenges have contributed to is inflation, which emerged as the chief concern for project professionals.

Changes in technology and ways of working are also having an impact, but this time in a good way, with the ability of professionals to work flexibly and virtually regarded as the most positive future trend. This is backed up by communication skills now being the most important skill for the project professional.

The past few years have thrown an unprecedented set of challenges at project management, but the profession has handled them all with confidence and positivity, something everyone should be proud of.

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Key Considerations (1)

Key concerns for the future

The project management profession always has to have one eye on world events and quickly assess how they may affect future projects. Right now, it’s inflation that keeps them awake at night, with 66% feeling that it’s having a negative impact on their projects, closely followed by global supply chain issues (58%) and availability of skills (56%).

The impact of inflation is most keenly felt by the older age groups, with 72% of 55-64 year-olds being concerned about its impact, while those in the construction and local government sectors show higher than average unease.

On a more uplifting note, flexible working and virtual teamwork is regarded as having a positive impact on projects by almost three quarters of project professionals. Indeed, technology has a central role in improving the efficiency and success of the sector, with almost half stating that automation and AI has a positive impact.

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🕮  The Blind Spot

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Impact of global energy supply on sustainability strategies

The issue of sustainability has increased in importance for companies in every industry around the world, and the current energy crisis has sharpened the focus on using renewable energy sources, reducing usage, and making sustainability a key focus in new projects.

Overall, a greater proportion of respondents stated that the sustainability strategy of their organisation had been negatively impacted by the energy crisis (25%) than positively (16%). Of those whose organisation’s sustainability strategy had been impacted by the energy crisis, 44% cited new workplace measures to reduce energy consumption as having an effect, 35% reported increased investment in energy reduction facilities, and 37% stated that new measures had been introduced around project planning.

While reducing energy consumption and considering sustainability in new projects can be seen as positive moves for the sector, the fact that 27% of projects had been cancelled or paused because of the energy crisis is a key concern.

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Future skills

With changes in technology and working practices, the project management profession of the future will need to prioritise different skills to those required in the past. The demands of increasingly complex projects, with new considerations and regulations, will require professionals to broaden their knowledge and abilities.

This increase in required skills is seen in the results of the question of important skills for the model project professional, where almost all areas increased in importance. Project leadership (38%), stakeholder engagement (34%), people management (29%) and planning and monitoring (24%) all increased compared to 2021, with the latter rising by an impressive 18%.

However, our project manager salary trends for 2023 show that communication skills is now the outright leader, leaping ahead of project leadership to reflect the industry’s changing working culture. With more remote working, the ability to communicate quickly and clearly is an obvious requirement, and something that the younger generation and women particularly value.

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🕮 Take the competence framework online assessment to understand your skills and develop you capabilities

🕮 The best way to become a better project leader

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Skills shortage

A key challenge for companies in many industries around the world is the recruitment of skilled workers, and the project management profession is no different. There is an overriding concern that companies don’t have enough skilled staff, with 60% of respondents worried their organisation is currently unable to recruit enough skilled workers to successfully deliver projects. This concern is heightened when thinking about future projects, with 67% showing concern.

For both questions, there’s a difference in response from men and women, and young and old. While men show more concern about their organisation’s current project workforce than women (65% vs 55%), and its ability to recruit enough skilled workers in the future (71% vs 62%), it’s the older male generation that are the most concerned about future people resources (80%).

An explanation for this disparity could lie in the fact that older men hold a greater proportion of senior positions and are therefore more likely to be involved in the recruitment process.

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In summary: Facing multiple challenges head on

Project management is a future-facing profession, not only having to assess the impact of current events on their projects, but how those events will play out in the future. That not only requires experience and knowledge of a broad variety of areas, but a certain level of intuition to decide what the profession of the future will require.

Following a year of post-pandemic challenges such as supply chain issues and skills shortages, the conflict in Ukraine is adding inflation and high energy costs to their list of concerns. But the profession cannot control most of these issues, it’s adapting to what it can, investing in energy reduction facilities and considering sustainability in new projects.

Project professionals are also adjusting well to the new skills demanded by a rapidly changing workplace, understanding that communication is now the key to effective project management. It’s not going to solve all of the profession’s challenges overnight, but coupled with good leadership and stakeholder engagement, it will make project management fit for the future.

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