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Blog post 12 Aug 2013

Career Opportunities in Project Management

Career Opportunities in Project Management

During the last two decades, we have witnessed explosive growth in the interest and application of project management in Ireland. It has been challenging and interesting to participate in this advancement.

This year will represent a major milestone as more than 3,000 individuals will have acquired professional accreditation in the acclaimed IPMA (International Project Management Association)  4 level certification system.

Scanning the landscape

A clear understanding of the state and evolution of education, training, certification, and professional practice is fundamental to project management's future development. Directly observing what practitioners do and how they put their knowledge and competencies into action can understand their practice.

For the past eight years, The Institute of Project Management and UCC (University College Cork – Ireland’s third-largest university) have conducted a joint survey; Project Management in Ireland – Survey of Practitioners.

When asked about what sectors they are currently employed in and how they viewed project management as a career opportunity, here are the findings:

  • 65% were positive about their prospects in the discipline even though only  one in  four worked in organisations that offered dedicated career paths for project managers
  • Almost 50% viewed project management as a “bolt-on” skillset to their primary area of expertise.
  • Interestingly, even though 71% qualified from a range of 4 disciplines as project managers, they are now spread over a minimum of 14 business sectors. 

The Future

Project management is now widely used throughout the entire economy, where there is a realization that the efficient use of scarce resources is essential to economic progress. This will manifest itself in the greater middle to senior managers seeking to upskill in the project management arena.

There is, however, a caveat. With the enormous growth in the provision of project management training courses and promises of certification, there has been a diminution in the quality of many of these offerings. As a result, organizations that offer various courses across various disciplines often see project management training as another opportunity to grow the top line and increase profitability.

Project management training has also become commoditised to a large and worrying extent, with many providers offering “money-back guarantees if you do not pass your certification examination”. This undermines the image, credibility and professionalism of the discipline and brings a “race to the bottom” mentality.  Once entrenched in this position, it becomes challenging to subsequently convince the market about the true value and quality of the project management product on offer.