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Project Manager Job Description and Salary Information

Project Manager Job Description and Salary Information

Project Manager depicted as a business woman smiling into the camera and three other co-workers behind her in the background.

Last Updated November 20, 2013

According to the 2021 Project Management Talent Gap Report conducted by the Project Management Institute (PMI), an average of 2.3 million new project-oriented roles will need to be filled by employers each year through 2030. The report also estimates that by 2030, only 77 million current project management professionals will remain part of the workforce due to retirement. Many industries are also becoming more project-oriented such as information and publishing services, which is expected to see a 15% growth in roles. Other sectors projected to see a growth of at least 10% through 2030 include finance and insurance (14.9%), manufacturing and construction (13.2%), utilities (12.7%) and management and professional services (11.3%). PMI’s research indicate there are three main factors contributing to this increased need for project managers:

  • An increase in the number of jobs that require project management-oriented skill sets.
  • Increased demand for project management professionals in developing countries due to economic growth.
  • An increase in the rate of retirement from the project management workforce.

Positive Outlook for Project Manager Jobs

There’s good news for project managers, according to Spencer Shaffer, president of IT staffing firm ConsultNet of South Jordan, Utah. Shaffer says that, “Experienced IT professionals and project managers will be landing more assignments because companies will be launching new projects and completing others put on hold.” He expects that many of the IT projects that have been shelved will now forge ahead.

This could mean there will be thousands of projects moving forward now that decision-makers are spending prudently and proceeding with projects cautiously. The Project Management Institute (PMI) expects the future to be bright, with the global gross domestic product (GDP) in projectized industry anticipated to increase in the United States by $4.5 trillion by 2016. PMI reports that, “Between 2006 and 2016, the number of project-oriented employees will grow by an estimated 8.2 million.” Qualified project managers will be able to benefit from this exceptional employment opportunity.

What Does a Project Manager Do?

Unlike department managers who oversee particular areas of a business, project managers are responsible for all aspects of a time-limited, specific business initiative. Some examples include:

  • Launching a new product for a pharmaceutical firm
  • Developing a new mobile application for a telecommunications company
  • Implementing an internet-based banking system for a financial institution
  • Standardizing testing procedures for an environmental organization
  • Rolling out a new brand for a global retailer

Although project manager job descriptions will reflect the specific needs of the company, the project manager will generally plan, coordinate, implement and finalize projects according to the specifications and deadlines, all while keeping the project within budget.

Depending on the industry and specific initiative, project managers may put together teams of personnel from a number of departments, such as information technology, purchasing, product development, marketing or distribution.
Project managers oversee projects from the planning stage through implementation, testing and reporting. They typically choose and manage the project team members, and are ultimately responsible for the project’s success or failure, based on objectives set by project stakeholders. Success may depend on whether the project is completed within the financial budget allocated or the established time frame – or whether it is completed at all.

Project managers can greatly benefit from excellent communication and interpersonal skills. Strong leadership and multitasking abilities, as well as a knack for scheduling and finance, are also valuable attributes for success as a project manager.

Project Manager Salary

According to the PMI Project Management Salary Survey, Eleventh Edition, 51% of project manager practitioners reported an increase in their total compensation, with the global median salary reaching $90,260. Project Management Professional (PMP)® credential holders worldwide reported earning higher median salaries than non-credential holders (22% higher), with median salaries in the United States now exceeding $120,000, according to the survey.

To provide an idea of how lucrative this field can be, take a look at these job titles and average salaries for these project management jobs, collected from the report:

Job Title Average Salary
Director of Project Management Office (PMO) $144,000
Portfolio Manager $138,000
Program Manager $125,000
Project Management Specialist $92,221
Project Management Consultant $120,000
Project Management Institute Project Management Salary Survey, 11th Edition

How the PMP® Certification Can Advance Your Career Options

Today’s top corporations compete in a more complex business environment than ever before. Employers need to know that the project managers they hire are fully qualified to lead their most important business initiatives. Therefore, most major companies and countless small- to mid-sized firms are requiring project management certification. The most widely-recognized and respected credential in the profession is the Project Management Professional (PMP)®, awarded by PMI. PMI developed industry standards to ensure businesses that certification holders have pursued project management education and can demonstrate a high degree of knowledge and skill. Certifications can be valuable, as they represent a high level of competency and dedication. It has become increasingly common to see PMI certifications as a job requirement. A PMP® certification can also increase salary.

Certification in project management helps validate your ability to lead business projects, and it can earn you the respect of peers and employers. With the PMP® credential on your résumé, you’ll be able to compete for top project management positions. Earning your project management certification online can be the key to advancing in your career, reaching your goals and experiencing a higher salary potential.

How to Become a Certified Project Manager

Gain critical knowledge to lead successful projects with Villanova University’s online Project Management certificate programs. Supporting A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide) – Seventh Edition, Villanova offers the most current information in a dynamic online classroom. By earning your Certificate in Applied Project Management and attaining the PMI certification, you’ll be on a path to job security, professional growth and better pay potential.

PMP, Project Management Professional (PMP) and PMBOK are registered marks of the Project Management Institute, Inc.