A project manager is responsible for planning, executing, monitoring, controlling, and closing projects. The role requires a combination of leadership, communication, and technical skills to deliver within scope, time, budget, and quality constraints while meeting stakeholder expectations.
Some key responsibilities of project manager jobs include:
Defining project scope, goals, and deliverables
Creating a project plan, including timelines, budgets, and resources
Managing project resources, including team members and external vendors
Monitoring and controlling project progress, including identifying and managing risks and issues
Communicating with stakeholders, including team members, customers, and senior management
Facilitating team meetings, including status meetings and project reviews
Ensuring project deliverables meet quality standards
Managing project changes and scope creep
Closing out projects and conducting project evaluations to identify lessons learned and areas for improvement.
Project manager job roles across different industries
Numerous industries advertise project manager job vacancies, with many skills required for the role transferable – meaning it’s a popular option for career changers.
To be successful as a project manager, one must have strong organisational and problem-solving skills, effective communication and leadership skills, and a thorough understanding of project management methodologies and tools.
Aspects of the role require professionals who are adaptable, able to work under pressure and meet deadlines, and comfortable with taking ownership and accountability for project outcomes.
As a project manager in human resources, you may have a range of responsibilities, depending on the size and complexity of the project and the organisational structure of your company. Some of the key areas include staffing; performance management; training and development; conflict resolution and employee engagement.
A property and construction project manager is responsible for overseeing the planning, design, and construction of various types of properties, including commercial, residential, industrial, and institutional buildings. The role is likely to involve project planning; budget management; team management; contract management; quality control; safety management; and documentation.
An engineering and manufacturing project manager oversees projects related to the design, development, and manufacturing of products. Typical role responsibilities include project planning; resource management; risk management; quality assurance; communication; procurement; project monitoring and control; documentation; project closure and review.
Overall, the project manager job is responsible for ensuring a project is completed on time, within budget, and to the satisfaction of stakeholders.
As a technology project manager, your main responsibility is to plan, execute, and complete technology projects within the defined scope, timeline, and budget. The role involves managing all aspects of the project, from the initial planning phase to the final implementation and post-project evaluation.
Communicating with stakeholders, including clients, team members and management, is key to ensure everyone is aligned on project goals, requirements, and timelines. Confidence to deal with changes and identify opportunities for improvement along the way would be advantageous.
How to get into project management: qualifications and skills
Careers in project management typically require a combination of the right qualifications, experience, and specific skills. Here are some qualifications and skills that can help you get into project management:
While there isn't a specific degree required to become a project manager, a bachelor's degree in a relevant field such as business, engineering, or computer science can be beneficial. Some employers may require a master's degree in project management or a related field.
Certifications like Project Management Professional (PMP), Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM), and PRINCE2 can demonstrate your proficiency in project management.
Gaining experience through internships or entry-level positions in project management or related fields is helpful. You can also look for opportunities to manage projects in volunteer roles or in your current job.
Project managers need to communicate effectively with team members, stakeholders, and clients. Strong communication skills, both verbal and written, are critical.
Project managers need to lead and motivate their teams to achieve project goals. They should be able to delegate tasks, manage conflicts, and provide feedback.
Project managers need to keep track of timelines, budgets, and resources. They should be able to prioritise tasks and adjust plans as needed.
Project managers should have a good understanding of the industry and the technologies being used in the project.
Project managers need to be able to identify and solve problems that arise during the project. They should be able to think creatively and find solutions that meet the project goals.
In summary, to become a project manager, you should have a combination of education, certifications, experience, and skills such as communication, leadership, organisation, technical, and problem-solving skills.
Project manager salaries in the UK
Project manager salaries can vary significantly depending on sector and region.
Those working within the tech sector, for example, may be able to command higher salaries than their counterparts in other sectors.
Typically, project manager salaries are significantly higher in London and the South East compared to other regions. However, in the current economic climate, many transformations and projects may be postponed or even cut as businesses look to reduce spending.
Time, money and quality are the key elements of delivering any project. With commonly high salaries across all sectors, retraining as a project manager is a wise move if you have an eye for detail, diplomatic and confident communication skills and enjoy a high-pressure environment.
Average project manager salary ranges in 2023
Businesses that had previously outsourced their HR have decided to bring back in-house teams to improve the end-user experience and reduce costs.
Companies need to be prepared to upskill their existing talent and train new recruits if they don’t have the whole list of expectations.
According to a survey by CIPD, the professional body for HR, 41% of companies in the UK are looking to upskill their existing employees, 35% are advertising flexible working and 29% are raising salaries to keep up with the market rate.
For an example of the steady UK average salary increase in recent years, in 2021 East Midlands-based HR project managers were commanding £54,600, rising to £58,300 in 2022, and £62,200 in 2023.
In London, project managers are currently receiving an average income of £84,700. In the North East of England, £60,300, and £69,400 in the North West. Salaries are increasing in Northern Ireland, with the average at £61,800 – a rise of £8,900 since 2021.
The property market typically sees periods of boom and bust. Construction has been, and will likely continue to be, hit by the cost-of-living crisis.
With material and labour costs increasing, the possibility of higher interest rates slowing the housing market, and additional inflationary pressures, some companies may be hit hard in 2023, causing further instability in the market.
Professionals considering changing jobs this year should look beyond just a high salary. A company that is willing to invest in your skills and support you with gaining qualifications will be invaluable in the long term.
Project managers in construction are earning an average £84,800 in London, and £80,000 in the South. Workers in the Midlands, East and North of England can expect £77,500 in this role, and £51,000 in Scotland. Northern Ireland project managers are looking at £45,500.
There continues to be strong demand for engineering and manufacturing professionals in Wales across maintenance, production, and research and development.
Because of the continual investment in high-tech industries such as semiconductors, pharmaceuticals and automotive, we’ve seen a rise in the creation of enterprise zones by the Welsh government, which should see further opportunities arise throughout 2023.
London-based project managers are in line for £71,500, but by comparison, their counterparts in the North East are receiving an average £52,800 – a regional average decrease of 2.8%. In Scotland, professionals can expect £52,100, and in Wales £54,800. Meanwhile, south-west-based project managers are in line for £56,300.
Technology is changing at lightning speed – the global pandemic changed working patterns for millions of people around the globe, fuelling the desire for ever-greater efficiency.
Professionals may opt to enter the field as project coordinators or assistants, rising to project managers and eventually senior project managers or directors. Knowledge of frameworks and methodologies such as Scrum and Agile are a common requirement.
Project managers based in the Midlands and East are earning an average £69,900 per year, while their peers in London are commanding £94,400. Salaries are on the rise in the North of England, with professionals receiving an average £67,400 – that's a 15.2% increase on last year. Northern Ireland is also seeing higher paid roles, at £51,400, and Wales too, at £62,200 – a rise of 13.1%.
Curious about salaries?
Check out our 2023 salary guides across 14 sectors. Each guide provides detailed insight into current salary trends across the country, to help inform your recruitment plans or job search.
Project manager job benefits and perks
With advances in technology over the past decade, it has become increasingly common to work remotely as a project manager, reducing physical office space overhead costs.
While remote work has its advantages for this role, it may present challenges such as communication issues, and a risk of disconnection between team members that can lead to misunderstandings and low morale.
In addition to fair salaries, project managers often have access to generous benefits such as bonuses for the successful completion of projects or rewards for meeting key objectives. This is in addition to common benefits and employee rewards.
Find out more about project manager salaries and benefits in our 2023 salary guides.