January 21, 2018


Project management advice, tips, tools and recommended resources for existing and aspiring project managers.

Is Project Management a Growing Profession?

As a professional project manager you are concerned about your career growth and the future of your profession. You enjoy your work and receive much satisfaction from completing projects successfully. Yet the economy is not growing as expected and more people are reported to be part of the unemployment statistics.

How is the project management profession impacted by this?

A report published by the Project Management Institute called: “Project Management Skills Gap Assessment”, looks at Project Management between 2010 and 2020. (you need to be registered to view the Report)

The forecast is that between 2010 and 2020 15.7 million new project management roles will be created globally across seven project-intensive industries, along with tremendous growth in salaries.  This enormous anticipated growth, along with higher-than-average salaries, will make the next seven years an opportune time for professionals and job-seekers to build project management skills.

Rising Salaries

It is said that this high demand for project-oriented professionals is reflected in both average salary and salary growth. Project Management Professional (PMP) ® credential holders in the U.S. earned an average of 16 percent more (approximately US$14,500) than their non-credentialed peers in 2011.

Growing Industries

project intensive industriesCurrently, project-intensive industries in the U.S. that support the greatest number of project management roles are business services and manufacturing, with 2 million and 630,000 project management jobs, respectively, in 2010. However, business services and healthcare (not currently a project-intensive industry) are expected to lead the pack in terms of growth between 2010 and 2020. In particular, the healthcare industry is projected to increase project management roles by 30%.

In 10 countries with established or quickly developing project management industries, project management roles are expected to increase by over 13.4 million between 2010 and 2020, to over 41.5 million. In addition, the economic output of the profession in these 10 countries will increase.

China and India will lead the growth in project management, generating approximately 8.1 million and 4 million project management roles through 2020, respectively. Total employment for project managers will increase in nine of the 10 countries.

The 10 countries with established or quickly developing project management industries are:

  1. Australia
  2. United Kingdom
  3. Canada
  4. Germany
  5. Japan
  6. China
  7. India
  8. Brazil
  9. Saudi Arabia
  10. United Arab Emirates


The rapid growth of demand for project professionals and the exceptional salary levels make the project management profession highly desirable to job seekers. Currently, demand for project management professionals is not matched by availability of resources with relevant project management skills. This means that job seekers will find the next 7 years to be an unparalleled opportunity to build project management skills and enter this flourishing market.

The report results point to immense growth of the profession globally. If you are an existing project management practitioner or an aspiring project manager, please take a look at the many project management resources listed on Virtual Project Consulting. You will find recommended training, products, software or valuable websites that will enhance your growth as a project manager.


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  1. Adrian Pyne says:

    Growing professionalism might be helped if a certain organisation dropped its opposition to the UK’s Association of Project Management gaining Chartered Status in the UK.

    I understand that a major objection is that the status would make the UK a closed shop. Can I check, just how easy is it to get a job in the USA in project management without being PMP?

    Pots and kettles? Or simply commercial cynicism?

  2. Folks, sorry to say this but there is no shortage of credible, published research which shows that not only is project management not a profession, but that management is general is not a profession.

    PMI in part funded research by Bill Zwerman and Janice Thomas back in 2004 which concluded “project management is not now, nor is it likely in the foreseeable future to be recognized as a profession”. http://www.amazon.com/Professionalization-Project-Management-Exploring-Future/dp/1930699069

    My own PhD dissertation “Is Project Management a Profession? And If not, what is it?” (2008) reaffirmed the findings of Zwerman and Thomas, taking a different approach and using different case studies. http://www.build-project-management-competency.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/12/P.Giammalvo_PHDthesis_2008.pdf

    Between 2008 and 2011, the Harvard Business Review published a series of articles on whether MANAGEMENT is a profession and here too, the conclusion was no.

    Khurana and Nohria, (2008) http://hbr.org/2008/10/its-time-to-make-management-a-true-profession/ar/1

    Barker (2010) http://hbr.org/2010/07/the-big-idea-no-management-is-not-a-profession/ar/1

    Pfeffer (2011) http://hbr.org/2011/09/management-a-profession-wheres-the-proof/ar/1

    Project management is nothing more than a series of processes and the processes of project management are already embedded in every existing trade and profession,and even woven into our day to day personal lives.

    Not to be a cynic (and understand that I am a life long project manager) but these attempts to make project management a profession are nothing more than efforts by professional societies (“Unions”) to make a lot of money.

    Bottom line- IF we want to raise the professional image of project management practitioners, then we need to do it the old fashioned way. We need to EARN the trust and respect of the consuming public. And how do we do that? By CONSISTENTLY delivering projects on time, within budget, in substantial conformance to the technical requirements while substantially delivering the value the project was undertaken to create.

    Dr. PDG, Jakarta, Indonesia


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