Project management represents one of today’s most exciting and diverse fields. It plays a vital role in almost every industry and setting imaginable. As such, job opportunities abound—especially as organizations seek innovative and efficient options for implementing major initiatives on a budget.
While there are many avenues to success in project management, it’s often helpful for aspiring professionals to understand the scope of the field prior to embarking on career training. This is particularly important when pursuing a Master of Science in Project Management. While this degree’s foundational core provides all types of students with analytical skills and a strategic mindset, practical application may prove easier with an ultimate goal in mind. To that end, we’ve highlighted a few of the most exciting opportunities available in modern project management.
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Top Industries for Project Managers
While project managers can be found in nearly every sector, job opportunities tend to be most abundant in select industries. These appear diverse at first glance, but all share a similar need for innovation and exceptional productivity. Day-to-day roles and responsibilities may vary, however.
The more you understand the many industries that need project managers, the better. The knowledge will keep you on track as you develop the skills needed to gain a competitive edge in your preferred niche. Companies looking for project managers can be found in the following sectors:
Construction and Engineering
The construction industry is booming, but regulatory concerns, rising costs, and several other issues can make it challenging to turn a profit even when exceptional demand is taken into account. Therein lies the value of construction project managers. These professionals provide precise coordination for numerous stakeholders and resources. Their efforts may involve residential buildings, commercial properties, or industrial facilities. New builds are common, but some project managers are also involved in renovations.
No matter the sector, construction project managers must take a broad view to integrate a wide range of considerations. They work with architecture and engineering professionals, as well as city planners, public works employees, and onsite construction crews. From formulating budgets to developing schedules, their involvement keeps companies on track throughout the entirety of the project lifecycle. Risk management plays heavily into this niche, although contract administration and quality management are also chief concerns.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), construction managers hold a job outlook of 8 percent between 2019 and 2029. When starting out as a construction manager, one can expect a salary in the $50-60k range. BLS data reveals an annual median wage of $97,180 though, meaning there is a lot of room for growth in the role.
While financial concerns permeate all areas of project management, the finance sector itself requires skilled professionals to minimize costs and maximize productivity. Finance project managers tend to take a narrower approach than their counterparts in other fields. They focus on priorities such as cash flow projections and earned value management.
When taking on ambitious financial projects, professionals must develop metrics, estimates, and operation plans. They may be responsible for handling cash flow, including both payroll and project-related expenses. Many also develop strategies for revenue enhancement. Financial reporting is a key aspect of this job, with project managers often working closely with high-level executives and other influential individuals.
A variety of factors determine salary for finance project managers, meaning the pay ranges from as low as $46,500 but can reach over $139,500 annually for those at the top. Data gathered by ZipRecruiter indicates average wages of $106,740 per year.
Finance & Insurance Services
Large insurance brokers often hire project managers or consultants for high-stakes initiatives that require technical considerations above and beyond their internal teams’ expertise. A thorough understanding of risk management is imperative for success in this role.
While brokers understand the basics of risk management as it applies to clients, project managers take this to the next level by assessing and mitigating risks—and developing actionable plans. Beyond this, they may use advanced technological solutions to track progress and report results. Their efforts promote greater agility in a growing industry bound by increasingly complex compliance concerns and evolving demands among clients.
According to PayScale, project managers employed in the insurance sector earn a base pay of around $47,000 annually, with the professional average at $74,704 per year. With experience and the right credentials, however, many can exceed six figures.
Cost and compliance are two of the greatest concerns in the modern healthcare industry—and both can be addressed with help from skilled project managers. Often employed by regional healthcare systems, hospitals, or outpatient clinics, healthcare-oriented project managers may also work for medical equipment suppliers or pharmaceutical companies.
In a patient-centered environment, the healthcare project manager supports clinical staff and other employees by handling a variety of concerns. Examples of potential projects they might oversee include:
- Developing apps or web-based portals for communicating with clients.
- Facilitating the addition of a new department or wing at a hospital.
- Implementing systems designed to improve mobile access for employees while complying with HIPAA.
Depending on the scope of the job, healthcare project managers can range from $78,500 to $140,000. According to ZipRecruiter, this type of project manager enjoys an average income of $102,628 per year.
Information Services and Technology
Today’s IT initiatives are more ambitious than ever. Organizations rely on advanced solutions to enhance productivity and accuracy while also driving innovation. The sheer scope of these efforts can make them difficult to implement, especially while maintaining a reasonable budget.
IT project managers help organizations secure the best possible ROI for complicated technological systems, all while ensuring that initiatives remain within the scope of the company’s budget.
Because IT plays such a significant role in so many processes, the reach of an IT project manager can be vast—especially as compared to other project management niches. Their work often involves:
- Web development
- Mobile app development
- Hardware installation
- Software implementation
- Network configuration
- Database storage
- Emergency recovery
Depending on the initiatives they’re charged with handling, IT project managers may:
- Conduct needs assessments
- Select team members best suited to the job
- Properly sequence tasks
- Optimize operations to remain under budget
Earnings can be impressive for project managers in the IT field. Base pay can be as low as $43,000, but ZipRecruiter data highlights an annual average wage of $105,291, with those at the top of the field earning up to $145,500 annually.
Today’s advertising initiatives often call for impressive metrics in spite of significant budget limitations. Without the oversight of a project manager, campaigns risk becoming bloated, unorganized, and ineffective. To avoid such problems, project managers may accompany marketing departments at major companies or work at ad agencies responsible for developing campaigns on behalf of demanding clients.
Advertising project manager responsibilities can vary based on the industry, company, and scope of specific campaigns. In general, these professionals are charged with handling multiple campaigns at a time. They deal with everything from goal setting to revenue. While their team members get into specifics such as content optimization and A/B testing, project managers are charged with keeping overarching initiatives on track. Their oversight ensures that campaign objectives are delivered on time and according to the client’s wishes.
Project Managers Are in Demand
There’s no denying that the scope of project management is vast in today’s rapidly changing business world. Despite the range of available project management industries, however, all sectors share a need for professionals who are not only technically skilled, but also, able to thrive in a collaborative environment. Add a spirit of innovation and a strategic mindset, and you could be on your way to a project management career you love. Look to the Master of Science in Project Management from Post University to get you started.
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