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Top tips to get ahead in project management

01 September 2015

Welcome to the second blog in our series on project management. We've already discussed the burning topic of 'how do you fare' against other Project Managers and now we present our 'top tips' to get ahead in your management career based upon APMs trend and market survey.

With the average project manager earning "between 40,000-49,000" a year and working in corporations with over 250 employees, the desire to move ahead in your career is appealing. With 70% of those surveyed stating that their organisation is growing and 47% stating that they are looking to recruit more staff, now could be the best time to think about that next step.

So how can you get ahead in project management? What gives the best candidates that extra edge and how do they achieve it? APMs report not only gives a typical profile of its members but shows the ways in which you can climb the project management ladder.

Professional Membership

Becoming a member of a professional body specialising in project management not only looks good on your CV but can bring with it opportunities to network and learn new skills with other members. Membership as an Associate, a Fellow or a full member of a professional body is a common trademark of high-earning Project Managers. According to its study "nearly a quarter of all Fellows [at APM] earned 100,000 or more per annum."


This goes hand in hand with your professional membership and can lead to new training opportunities from industry experts at exclusive or heavily discounted events. APMs trend survey revealed that within their own membership "Professional qualifications give you a significant advantage; 44% with qualifications earned up to 60,000 compared to 34% without." RICS Recruit also states how important executive level training can really be in making the leap to management material as industries becoming increasingly global.
Finding the perfect role

Finding the perfect career development opportunity through traditional methods is now a thing of the past with vacancies filled via social media and web ads replacing newspaper searches. Using recruitment agencies was a popular method for 35% of APM project management members surveyed.

For more information about getting that perfect role, why not take a look at our top tips for creating a successful LinkedIn profile, cover letter or how to do well in interviews.
To download the APM market and trends survey from their website, you can visit the page here.

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Project Management How do you fare?

25 August 2015

"A good project manager needs to be an inspirational leader, a diplomat, a good organiser, a good communicator, a mediator and a motivator, thick-skinned, focused and goal-oriented." Whilst this description of project management may seem like a tall order, it is undeniably a multitalented and demanding role as those in the role itself or looking to progress to management are well aware.

Finding out how you fare against industry averages is naturally a burning question for any current or aspiring project manager - so what do other project managers look like and what sort of profile do they fit?

The Association for Project Management (APM) have produced a market trends survey of their membership which gives a well-rounded profile of project managers in 2015.

Their report shows that their average member earns a day rate of between 300 - 500 for contract workers. For those working permanently you can expect to earn "between 40,000 - 49,000, with the average salary of a project professional being 44,167 across all industries and locations" having had around 15 years of project management experience.

Of course variations between both industry and geography play a part in creating this average with a majority of those surveyed coming from an aerospace or consultancy background and living in Greater London or the South-East. Those based in Greater London and Ireland were (unsurprisingly) the largest share of high end earners (100k+) compared to the North East and South West.

What is also clear is that a large proportion of high earning project managers held some form of professional qualification as well as a degree and membership of a body related to their career. APM noted that "as respondents move up the pay chart full-time membership of a professional body such as APM becomes the main differentiator."

Out of the APM members surveyed, most were male and pay scales between genders changed dramatically towards the higher end of the salary scale "6% of males earned 100,000 compared to only 1% of females." This gender ratio was reflected in the profile of the average project manager member of APM which was male and between 35 to 44 years of age and most likely working in an organisation with over 250 employees.

APMs survey and market trends for 2015 reveals interesting data about its members, whether this reflects upon the wider market of those who work under the umbrella of project management remains to be seen. Looking further afield, it lists the comparative success of other managerial roles including change and programme managers who earn considerably more than the average project manager.

Look out for the next blog in our project management series where we give you some top tips to get ahead in your career and progress to the next step...

To download the APM market and trends survey from their website, you can visit the page here.

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HR...Be Proud

18 August 2015

"HR add no value, HR are not commercial, HR create initiatives that make no difference, and I am disappointed in HR; why do we need them"....

I am positive that as HR professionals we have all heard or been on the receiving end of these types of comments from the business; all of which I am sure we listen to and reflect on. What I didn't expect was to hear these types of comments coming from my fellow HR professionals and contributing to the growing layers of the 'criticism cake'. This was really hard for me, to hear that our own profession is becoming as cynical about the business of the value of HR.

I am disappointed that businesses haven't evolved enough to realise the value of people. I am also disappointed in us, as HR professionals and our apparent willingness to accept an outdated view of HR; allow me to explain.

As a HR professional I have spent my career equipping managers to manage effectively, how to get people to deliver high performance/manage poor performance, how to recruit and retain the right people when the business need them and how to grow the business through people; the list goes on. Managers and leaders continue to distrust our recommendations, create complexities where there are none, use politics to support personal agendas which results in HR not being able to do what is best for the business, our people.

Businesses still don't get that what it takes to operate a business is human intellect; a person. For without people there would be no business, no economy. Furthermore, when HR suggest ideas for ways to develop better relationships, capture engagement and discretionary effort, managers fail to see the benefits; seeing only disruption to making money. The consequence is managers and leaders have failed to accept responsibility for developing authentic adult relationships; choosing rather to criticise HR for not doing a good enough job because its "HR jobs to manage people"....WRONG.

It's a manager's jobs to manage people, leader's jobs to inspire people and HR's job to equip both with the tools to have authentic adult relationships with their people, which capture their discretionary effort for both individual and business benefit.

What we do in HR is incredibly invaluable in ensuring the business can operate from product/service to customer to shareholder. As Wikipedia defines it: 'HR is a function in organizations designed to maximize employee performance of an employer's strategic objectives'. We have been around since the beginning of time, from the Ford motor car to now the leading global companies of the world, and very few organisations are able to operate without a strong HR Team made up of enablers, trainers, experts, coaches, facilitators, negotiators, influencers, organisers, great listeners, specialists, managers, leaders and many more roles. We operate in a space very few others do, holding the Company/Leader/Employee confidences and data that remains hidden from view. And finally we ensure the business is able to recruit the right people to do the right role at the right time with the potential to support individual and company growth....how many other roles can say they do so very much.

So as I sign off, I make a final plea to you if you are a business manager or HR person reading this; - we should be proud and if not then we need to ask the business what we need to do to add value to the business. For me, I believe in us, trust us to get on with what we are good at and our ability to continue to grow to support economic and business challenges for the future. And if you have people in your business that are not good at it, talk to your HR Director. For us as HR professionals; I implore you to be proud and to do what you do best every day...give businesses the chance to give and get the best from people every day.

We look and can see great examples of where they do get it including: Menlo run by Richard Sheridan articulated in his book 'Joy Inc.' where he and his team have worked hard by recognising people are central to success. This clearly shows it is possible for us to grow, to trust, and to deliver results collectively; surely that's what we all want?

Strong people who have the ability and potential to perform and grow to deliver future individual and company performance....

Thanks for listening...

Rachel Humpherson is the Founder and MD of SkyeLark HR Consulting, and with nearly 2 decades of experience in people, Rachel is passionate about helping HR to be the best value add team to help organisations create engaged and high performing people, teams and organisations. Rachel has a very diverse background and recently set up SkyeLark HR Consulting Ltd to work with organisations and teams, including HR; in a state of change to help them tap into their potential to create positive high performing individuals and businesses. Rachel is a proud Fellow of the CIPD, holds an MBA in Entrepreneurial Business and is highly qualified in many areas including coaching and mentoring, always seeking opportunities to grow. In her spare time she has a love of being healthy, photography perfectly complimented by her desire for travelling at every opportunity. You can find Rachel @ https://uk.linkedin.com/in/rachelhumpherson.

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