Organizations are realizing they need project talent—and they’re willing to pay for it.
No matter their place on the org chart or the sector or location they’re working in, most project professionals are earning more. Nearly three-quarters of respondents in PMI’s Project Management Salary Survey, 11th Edition, reported their total compensation had increased over the last year.
For Wale Elegbede, PMP, the rise in compensation is recognition of what project professionals are accomplishing: “The fact is, in terms of bringing ideas to reality, we’re the ones that get it done,” says Mr. Elegbede, director of strategy management services, Innovate Delivery Team, Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology at Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota, USA.
That ability to deliver results is prompting more organizations to invest heavily in project talent across the board.
“In any industry, you need project management,” he says. “We are part of every piece of the economy.”
And the demand isn’t likely to diminish any time soon, especially given the massive disruption across the business landscape.
“The pace at which our world changes will continue to increase,” says Morten Sorensen, PMP, PgMP, PfMP, vice president of the project management office (PMO) at Peraton, Herndon, Virginia, USA. So the need for people “who can identify, plan, rationalize, integrate and deliver change will continue to increase.”
In Germany—where project professionals have some of the highest median salaries according to PMI’s survey—the demand is being driven by a high number of digital transformation projects, says Michael Krekeler, PMP, a senior program manager at Cisco, Nuremberg, Germany. “Everyone is thinking about, ‘How can I digitize my business?’”
Given all the different departments involved in a transformation, Mr. Krekeler says project professionals need “a combination of process knowledge, on top of the industry knowledge, plus very high empathy and social competency skills.”
Jacqueline Stanley, PMP, vice president of the PMO at Hero Digital in Austin, Texas, USA, agrees people skills are now a must-have. “Project managers are the hub of work, and if they can’t get along with different kinds of personalities and figure out how to support them and to work with them, you’re out of luck,” she says.
Ms. Stanley is also looking for a “sense of urgency.” The best project professionals “aren’t just waiting for things to fall in their lap. They’re going and finding the answers, and they’re making sure everybody’s moving along.”
Mr. Elegbede recommends adopting a growth mindset.
“We always have opportunities to improve,” he says. “Never feel like you’re done learning. Have sensors out there to look at what’s going on in your industry. What are the new skills that are critical in addition to the project management core skills?”