Career Profile: Project Manager

Career Profile: Project Manager
  • Opening Intro -

    The Project Management Institute (PMI) estimates that between 2010 and 2020, 15.7 million new project management roles will be created around the world.

    The global project management profession as a whole is anticipated to grow by $6.61 trillion.


Any time an industry is experiencing growth, the demand for highly skilled professionals will grow as well. As the project management industry continues to grow, it’s important for prospective project management professionals to prepare for a fast-paced, multidisciplinary environment.

Primary Responsibilities

A project manager’s main focus is to both plan and organize the time and resources in order to successfully complete projects. Some of a project managers daily tasks include:

  • Activity and resource planning
  • Organizing and motivating a project team
  • Time management
  • Estimating costs and creating a budget
  • Ensure customer satisfaction
  • Analyze/manage project risk
  • Monitor the progress of the project
  • Managing reports and other necessary documentation


Project management professionals work in almost every industry. The top five industries in which project management professionals work in the United States are:

  • Information technology
  • Government
  • Healthcare
  • Consulting
  • Financial Services

Education can be a huge factor for project management professionals in terms of career and salary advancement. For example, PMI’s Earning Power survey found that professionals with a PMP certification earn a 20 percent higher salary on average than those that do not have a PMP certification.

Career Outlook

In the United States, current projections estimate that job demand for project management professionals will grow by 12 percent between 2010 and 2020. This means that in 2020 there will be 6.2 million project management jobs in the U.S. This job growth will also be met with a 37 percent increase in the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in the U.S. which will bring the GDP of the profession to $5.81 trillion.

The Earning Power survey determined that the median salary in the project management industry in the United States is $108,200. Looking further at median salaries for some of the more common project management job titles in the U.S.:

  • Director of Project Management Office – $135,000
  • Portfolio Manager – $110,000
  • Program Manager – $100,000
  • Project Manager III – $90,000
  • Project Manager II – $79,500
  • Project Manager I – $70,000
  • Project Management Specialist – $65,000
  • Project Management Consultant – $92,000

Current data also shows that project management salaries are on the rise. 77 percent of respondents noted that their compensation has increased in the past 12 months.

In terms of industry growth, the business services and healthcare industries are expected to exhibit the largest growth of any industry. The healthcare industry in particular is expected to experience a 30 percent growth rate, which is the highest of any project-intensive industry.

Talent Gap

PMI recently completed a talent gap analysis that demonstrates the discrepancy between the high demand for skilled project managers and the low availability of skilled professionals. They have narrowed down the cause of this gap to three key factors:

  • A large increase in the number of jobs requiring project-oriented skills
  • Attrition rates, including a large number of retiring professionals
  • Significant increases in demand for project talent

PMI has estimated that by 2027, the demand for individuals work in project management roles will be 87.7 million. With that in mind, the estimated economic impact is large. This talent gap could result in a potential loss of $207.9 billion in GDP for the countries included in the report. On an annual basis, employers are expected to need to fill nearly 2.2 million new project management roles each year through 2027.

For those considering a career in project management, it is clear that the job prospects in this industry are good. When an industry is experiencing a period of growth, it is important for job candidates to separate themselves from the pack. It will become increasingly important for project managers to develop a multidisciplinary skill set.

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