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Project manager jobs involve overseeing individual projects to ensure they are completed according to various criteria. If you enjoy being in charge, multi-tasking, motivating people and working to often tight deadlines, then this may be the job for you.
Working as a project manager means you will be responsible for ensuring work is completed to a satisfactory quality, to budget and on time. You will often oversee a team, as well as having to deal with various external parties, such as suppliers. You may report to a senior manager within an organisation or directly to a customer. Project manager employers and jobs can be found in a variety of different industries, including construction, engineering, IT and marketing.
Project manager jobs will differ depending on the specifics of each individual project and of course the sector you work in. For example, a project in construction is likely to be quite different from one in finance. Whilst duties will differ, the responsibilities involved in project manager jobs will likely include:
- Initial planning, including short-term goals, deadlines and budget
- Selecting team members and assigning work to individuals
- Ensuring team members remain motivated throughout the project
- Day-to-day management of all areas related to the project
- Dealing with suppliers and other external 3rd parties
- Providing status reports to managers/customers
- Successful closing of project, on time and to budget
Unless you have worked your way up in a company and therefore have extensive previous experience, most project manager jobs will require you to have a university degree. Whilst many project manager employers will simply accept a degree, candidates with qualifications in areas such as business and project management may have an advantage. Furthermore, specific industries may require you to have a degree in their field, such as IT companies wanting candidates to have a degree in IT.
Graduates will often receive extensive on-the-job training before being given their own project to manage. In terms of skill sets, project manager employers will look for the following:
- Strong organisational skills and the ability to multitask
- Good interpersonal and motivation abilities
- Calm under pressure and able to work to tight deadlines
- Strong communication and negotiation skills
- Detailed background knowledge of the sector you are working in
Working as a project manager can provide excellent career prospects. With project manager jobs found in a variety of sectors, you will often be able to find many different positions, helping to improve long-term job stability. Many of the skills you will learn in this role can be easily transferred to other sectors and roles. In terms of promotion, senior positions include programme manager, in which you oversee a team of project managers.
Salaries for project manager jobs usually begin between £20,000 – £30,000. Salaries will depend heavily on what sector you are working in but can rise to anything up to £80,000 with the correct qualifications and experience. Many project manager employers also offer freelance projects. Freelance salaries are often paid according to a day rate, with this usually being around £300- £500.
There are various pros and cons to working as a project manager. Firstly, the role can be very demanding in terms of the hours you work, and can include nights, weekends and Bank Holidays. Furthermore, you will have to multitask and ensure tight deadlines and budgets are always met. You will be held responsible for any problems with the project and will often have to deal with numerous external parties, such as contractors and suppliers, which can also be stressful.
However, project manager jobs can give you a great opportunity to show others what you are capable of. You will be given lots of responsibility and therefore it can be a very rewarding career when things go well. Other benefits to working as a project manager include good salaries, extensive training and the opportunity to work on exciting projects across a variety of different sectors.