In North America, more than a third of projects fail, according to a 2021 report from the Project Management Institute (PMI), and a similar number suffer from scope creep — the uncontrolled or ongoing changes to a project’s size. But as businesses shift their practices to meet the ever-evolving global market, project managers have an increasing opportunity to help them overcome these issues.
Project managers are the experts who take a project from creation through planning, execution, and completion, while ensuring it meets their organization’s budgets, goals, and timelines. While there are different types of project managers, what their jobs all have in common is allowing these professionals to focus on a project and provide the best possible outcome.
Aspiring project managers can benefit from a well-rounded degree program such as a master’s in management and leadership, which can help prepare them to take on diverse business roles.
Industries Hiring Project Managers
As dedicated experts, project managers play a fundamental role in many industries. From financial organizations to those in manufacturing, construction, healthcare, and information services, project managers are instrumental in ensuring all types of projects are completed on time. For management professionals, understanding how to maximize profits and find success in different types of project management takes skill, versatility, and a strong knowledge of their industry.
For those considering a shift into project management, the following are a few key job growth statistics from studies and surveys conducted by PMI and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS):
- The global economy will need 25 million new project management professionals by 2030.
- Project management-related employment in fields such as information and publishing, manufacturing and construction, and finance and insurance are expected to increase 13% to 15% by 2030.
- Jobs for project managers in software and development were projected to increase by 14% between 2019 and 2030.
- The total gross domestic product (GDP) of project-driven industries is estimated to increase from $24.7 trillion in 2019 to $34.5 trillion in 2030.
With ventures spanning such a wide range of organizations, no two projects are the same, and project manager candidates come from diverse backgrounds. Through a combination of work experience and advanced education, management professionals can build skills that provide them with a solid business foundation and the versatility to seek out new and exciting opportunities as project managers in a broad scope of industries.
Popular Careers in Project Management
What makes project managers valuable is their singular dedication to a specific project, paying close attention to details that may be instrumental to success. Building in-depth knowledge of the specifics required to complete a project takes time, dedication, and focus, and can make all the difference in choosing the correct strategies. With experience, all types of project managers can uncover opportunities that may have been missed otherwise.
The following are a few of the key careers associated with project management:
Operations Project Manager
Operations project managers oversee the big picture of a project, tracking budgets, deadlines, and overall progress. By communicating with high-level employees and assisting them with challenges that arise, operations project managers can adapt plans and ensure a project is on track to meet organizational goals.
PayScale reports that operations project managers had a median annual salary of about $75,000 as of January 2022, with pay varying based on the type of industry, as well as the education level and work experience of the management professional.
Manufacturing Project Manager
One of the many industry-specific types of project managers is a manufacturing project manager. Many industries are based on product manufacturing and rely on the best possible cost-benefit margin for success. A manufacturing project manager’s job is to ensure the manufacturing process and materials used are cost-effective, keeping track of overall costs versus the level of product demand.
As of January 2022, PayScale reported that the median annual salary for manufacturing project managers was about $75,000.
Technical Project Manager
Technical project managers may find employment in a variety of companies, industries, and organizations based on their knowledge of information technology (IT). As more companies turn to technical project managers to manage the minute details that can greatly affect the profitability of a project, the opportunities available to certified technical project managers continue to increase.
Involved in coordinating employees, strategies, and budgetary goals, IT project managers had a median annual salary of about $89,000 as of January 2022, according to PayScale. With many IT project managers working in senior and supervisory roles, considerations such as location, work experience, education, and certifications play an important role in their individual salaries.
Marketing Project Manager
Of the many types of project managers, marketing project managers are unique in the ways they can incorporate a creative vision into their role. With a successful marketing campaign, organizations can build profits and brand loyalty and make a lasting impression on consumers.
The median annual marketing project manager salary as of January 2022 was about $65,000, according to PayScale. Depending on the organization, many candidates may have the opportunity to increase their salaries through positive job performance, education, and prior experience.
Challenges in Project Management
A variety of factors can get in the way of completing a project or can negatively affect the outcome for an organization. The challenge facing different types of project managers is not only knowing how to navigate obstacles and complications but being able to do so in the most efficient way, saving their organizations time and resources.
From poor chains of communication to spiraling project scopes, limited team member skills, and poor risk management, detrimental issues can arise from many areas. The project manager’s task is to find the best path forward for their organization.
In addition to the issues mentioned above, some of the most common reasons for project failure include:
- Unclear objectives
- Lack of planning
- Unrealistic expectations
- Lack of proper measurement
- Limited accountability
- Failure to identify problems
- Conflicting cultures
However, using strong leadership, communication skills, and an understanding of different project management styles, management professionals can capitalize on their strengths to overcome these issues and guide their teams, projects, and organizations to success.
How to Become a Project Manager
From one industry to the next, the path to becoming a project manager can vary and may require different levels of work experience, education, and certifications. For many types of project managers, however, certain key steps allow them to build the background knowledge and skills they need to lead their organizations and projects with confidence.
Many organizations look to graduates who have completed at minimum a bachelor’s degree in a related field and have gained work experience within their industry. For those looking to compete for more advanced or senior roles, earning an advanced degree such as a master’s in business, management, or leadership can allow them to increase their value by building the practical skills to gain workplace autonomy and take on more challenging projects.
While the certification requirements vary from one industry to the next, many candidates obtain a designation from a reputable association, such as the certified associate in project management (CAPM) or project management professional (PMP) certification.
Project a Bright Future
Focused, strategic, and highly capable, project managers play a vital role in a variety of industries. By combining hard and soft skills, management professionals can take a project from idea to successful conclusion, all while meeting budgets and deadlines.
Building the knowledge and skills to be a versatile and successful project manager takes time, dedication, and experience. Earning a well-rounded, advanced degree such as Maryville University’s online master’s in management and leadership can help provide future management professionals with the foundation they need to pursue many different types of project manager roles with confidence.
From its fully online coursework built on practical skills to its eight available concentrations, the program is designed to prepare you for success in the real world. Discover what you can do as a project manager with a management degree from Maryville University.