Project managers plan and oversee the delivery of projects for a wide range of industries and employers.
Ultimately, they are responsible for ensuring that the projects under their management are finished on time and within budget, whilst meeting all client expectations.
This detailed guide includes a full project manager job description and everything else you need to know about project managers, including salaries, skills, qualifications, typical employers and more.
- Project manager job description
- How much do project managers earn?
- What does a project manager do?
- Requirements, skills and qualifications
- Who employs project managers?
- Jobs that progress to and from project manager roles
Project manager job description
Project manager |The IT project company
At ITPC we deliver word class project management services to high profile clients across the globe, with a focus on IT infrastructure solutions to the banking and insurance sectors.
About the role
We are looking for a project manager to lead large scale IT infrastructure projects for our clients, and ensure they are completed on time and within budget, whilst delivering all project objectives and exceeding client expectations – reporting to the Head of UK Projects
- Determining initial scope of project and setting milestones, deliverables and objectives in accordance with stakeholder requirements
- Mapping requirements of internal resources and securing capable project teams
- Cost forecasting and optimal allocation of resources and budget across projects, making project adjustments and constraints where necessary
- Plan and schedule projects and tasks, track progress and updates project documents using project management tools
- Identify, manage and mitigate project risks and issues
- Regular communication, reporting and progress updates to stakeholders
- Recruiting and managing contractors, vendors suppliers and other external parties
- Managing and allocations all internal resources and ensuring deliverables and milestones are met
Location & commitments
- Permanent full time role based at our London office Monday – Friday (37 hours per week) with regular onsite client visits
- Overtime may be required to ensure client projects are delivered on time
- Weekend work is rare but can occasionally be necessary
- Previous experience leading large projects in professional environments and managing senior stakeholders
- Competence in creating project documentation, tracking projects and using project management tools such as MS Project
- Ability to manage medium sized teams, contractors, vendors and suppliers across remote locations
- Strong written and verbal communication skills, leadership, problem solving, budgeting and mediation abilities
- Recognised project management qualification such as Prince2 or PMP
- Strong knowledge of, or background in IT infrastructure
Contact us to apply
If you’d like to apply for this role, please contact our project team recruiter, Mike Edmund at firstname.lastname@example.org
Attach your CV and tell us why you would be a great fit for our project management team!
How much do project managers earn?
Generally speaking, project management is a well-paid profession with an average salary of £41,824.
Project manager salaries in the UK
- Low: £20,000
- Average: £41,824
- High: £80,000
Project manager salaries will vary hugely depending on;
- The industry of the employer – e.g. does the project manager work for a bank? Retail store brand? Pharmaceutical company? Car manufacturer? Etc.
- The type of projects being managed– e.g. IT software upgrades, office moves, building construction, process improvements etc.
- General salary factors – such as level of candidate experience and location
For example, a senior project manager in a well-funded industry such as banking, working on IT projects where skills are in high demand, will normally earn more than a junior project manager working on a low demand skills project in the public sector, where budgets are limited.
Bear in mind that these are average figures taken from job advert samples, and they do not include extra benefits such as bonuses, overtime and non-financial benefits such as healthcare.
What does a project manager do?
Breaking down the job description jargon, here are the typical tasks and responsibilities that project managers will carry out in average work week;
- Scoping projects – Determining the goals of the project with the key stakeholders (people who will benefit from the project) and assessing the amount of work involved.
- Resourcing– Recruiting suitable team members for the project and allocating them to areas of the project that will best suit their skills
- Forecasting and budgeting – Estimating the cost of delivering the project and monitoring spending throughout – making adjustments where necessary in order to avoid breaking budgets.
- Planning projects– Setting milestones to hit throughout the project, scheduling which team members will be doing which tasks and when they will be done.
- Risk management– Identifying potential risks which could cause delays or other problems within the project, and putting plans in place to eliminate or minimise those risks.
- Stakeholder management– Communicating with the senior people within the business who have a stake in the project (for example if a project manager is delivering an IT upgrade for a business’s sales system, the stakeholder would be the sales director)
- Vendor management– Managing external suppliers and contractors, being accountable for their delivery.
- Reporting – Providing formal progress and performance updates to senior staff or project stakeholders.
- People management – Managing all internal project staff members, providing direction, guidance and coaching.
What do project managers need?
Project managers need a range of skills, experience, knowledge and sometimes qualifications in order to carry out the job effectively.
Exact requirements will depend on the seniority of each job, as well as the industry and type of project being led, but generally speaking… here’s what’s needed.
Junior PM jobs will usually require the candidate to have had some exposure to project environments, perhaps working in an entry level project role. Although some large companies will sometimes hire candidates with no project experience for apprenticeship or graduate schemes.
Intermediate to senior PM roles will normally require candidates to have previous experience delivering projects successfully – and often companies will prefer industry and project-type experience. E.g If a bank was hiring an IT project manager for a senior job, they would prefer a project manager with an baking IT project background.
Aside from the industry specific skills mentioned above (like planning, budgeting etc.) the following more generic or “soft” skills are also vital for project managers.
- Communication: Written and verbal communication with staff, stakeholders and external parties
- Leadership: Managing and directing large teams of staff and external providers
- Organisation: Overseeing multiple teams and activities into streamlined project plans
- Negotiation: Dealing with expectations of numerous parties and persuading others to make compromises in order to achieve project goals
- Technical knowledge: knowledge of the industry and project type being worked in. E.g. engineering, IT, HR, retail etc.
- Problem solving: Dealing with unexpected project issues to reduce or eliminate their effect on the success of the project
Project manager qualifications
Qualifications are not essential to work as a project manager, as many employers value experience and skills over qualifications.
However, there are a number of project management qualifications that are recognised across the profession and will help candidates to land jobs, in addition to helping them perform better in their roles.
Prince2 (PRojects IN Controlled Environments) is the most widely recognised project management certification in the UK, Europe and Australia.
It is actually a framework for delivering projects which helps to provide a structured approach and ensures that people across the industry work to the same procedures.
Prince2 qualifications teach the framework to people who undertake them, and ultimately provide them with proof that they have a sound understanding of it.
There are 2 levels of Prince2 qualification;
- Prince2 foundation
- Prince2 practitioner
PMP is more recognised outside of Europe (especially in the USA) and is considered by many to be a more in-depth qualification than Prince2.
Agile is relatively new project management framework, designed specifically to deliver products or service projects and is popular in the software industry.
The Information Technology Infrastructure Library qualification provides a framework for delivering IT services to business.
Subject matter qualifications
It can be beneficial for project managers to hold qualifications in the subject of the types of project they will be leading. For example an engineering project manager would benefit from having a degree or vocational qualification in engineering.
What is expected of project managers?
Typically, project managers will be expected to commit the following;
- Full time hours – (35 – 40 hours per week) with occasional overtime required when project deadlines are nearing
- Possibility of occasional evening or weekend work where project work needs to be carried out outside of the employer’s core business hours
- Location – Normally based at employer office
- Regular travel to project sites to oversee work
Project manager benefits
As project managers tend to work for larger companies, they will usually receive a good benefits package, including things like:
- Bonuses – based on project performance
- Car allowance
- Corporate discounts
Who employs project managers?
Due to the ongoing need for projects to be undertaken across all sectors of the UK, project management skills are in high demand across all industries in both the private and public sector.
Large national and international companies are continually rolling out change projects, so they employ project managers frequently.
Whereas small companies do not have the need to run large projects, and therefore do not normally hire project managers.
Typical project manager employers include companies within:
- Oil and gas
Which junior jobs progress to project manager roles?
Aside from trainee/graduate programs, there are a number of jobs which see employees naturally progress into project manager roles. These include:
Junior project staff member, responsible for managing administrative tasks on projects, such as updating documents and taking meeting minutes.
Project support officer
Junior project role, providing support to project managers and other senior project staff.
Project coordinators support project managers in the coordination of people and tasks on projects by keeping records, sending communications and chasing actions.
Which senior jobs do project managers progress to?
Even though project management is a great career choice in its own right, it can also be a spring board into more senior and higher paid jobs, such as:
When organisations run multiple projects simultaneously, they often group them into “programmes”. Programme managers head these programmes with numerous project managers reporting into them. This is the most common next step on the career ladder for most project managers.
Some project managers progress into senior management positions, such as directorship roles, overseeing the strategy and overall leadership of a business or an area within a business.
COO (Chief operating officer)
COO is a senior executive role overseeing the day-to-day operational functions of a company or area.
Project manager job description – conclusion
Project manager is a highly skilled job with strong demand across the UK from a wide range of industries and employers.
It pays above the national average salary, offers challenging and rewarding work as well as plenty of attractive career progression opportunities.