What do employers look for in a project manager?

Monday, May 19th, 2014 By Jack Nevison

The Project Management Institute released a report estimating that 6.2 million new project management jobs will be created between 2010 and 2020 in the U.S. This represents a growth of more than 12 percent, with the fastest growing sectors being aerospace, healthcare and information technology. 

To find out exactly what qualifications are needed to snag one of these new positions, Noel Radley of SoftwareAdvice.com compiled data from 300 national listings for project managers on the career building site Indeed.com. The results let job seekers better understand the current PM job market, apply only for jobs for which they are qualified, and avoid wasting time and money on unnecessary credentials.

The study found that 49 percent of PM positions required a bachelor's degree, while 36 percent of postings said they would accept equivalent work experience (though a bachelor's is still preferred). For example, a mid-level IT project manager listing stated that 3-5 years of experience would be considered equivalent to a BA/BS.

Advanced degrees, such as a master's or specialized MBA were rarely listed as necessary. Only two of the 300 postings required such a degree, and both were for advanced positions in the IT sector. Roughly 24 percent of listings indicated a preference for a master's degree in the aerospace sector, but it was not a part of the listed requirements. 

By far the most important qualification was a PMP certification. Across all industries, 79 percent of listings that named one preferred or required certification chose the PMP. Some companies allowed for applicants to earn their PMP within six months of hire, but professionals seeking a PM position should be aware that a PMP definitely makes them more attractive to employers.

If you are getting ready to take the PMP Exam, New Leaf's 2-day "PMP Exam Prep" program can help you prepare to pass the test on your first try. With a PMP in hand, our white papers and online QPM games let you learn while you earn PDU credits for PMP recertification.

"PMI®," "PMP®," and "PMBOK®" are registered marks of the Project Management Institute, Inc. All rights reserved.

"QPM™" is a registered mark of New Leaf Project Management. All rights reserved.

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