Project management skills companies are looking for

by Moira Alexander

Every year hundreds of thousands of project management jobs open up in the United States alone, yet it may be surprising to know that over the past few years, many employers have had difficulties finding project managers (PM) with the right skills. As a project manager, do you have the project management skills companies are looking for?

When you think of project managers, what skills come to mind?

Many people may be tempted to list attributes like good organizational skills, effective time management, or a host of technical project-management skills, but are these the attributes employers will be looking for? Not all project managers are created equally, and not all project management skills will be valued the same way.

Each year, it is estimated there will be hundreds of thousand more project management jobs in the United States, according to a “Talent Gap” report by the Project Management Institute (PMI). These jobs will primarily be within utilities, construction, information services, oil and gas, finance and insurance, manufacturing, and business services industries.

Do you have what employers are looking for?

A PMI and Anderson Economic Group white paper on Building High-Performing Project Talent shows that over the past few years, 83 percent of employers had minor-to-significant difficulties finding skilled project managers, which led to a decline in quality (31 percent), an inability to innovate effectively (29 percent), and the cancellation or delay of strategic initiatives (27 percent).

The project management skills companies are looking for in the next generation of project managers

key project management skills, various project management skills, collaboration skills, project kickoff meeting, research skills, project management field, project management career, project management processes, technical skills project management methodology project manager's job project team different people to do list entire team successful career planning stage communication skills people skills key essential project management skills list successful project manager project management tools develop project management skills project management software skills project management professionals risk management project management methodologies best project managers critical thinking skills soft skills project management skill project management professional project management tool risk management skills project stakeholders interpersonal skills essential project management skill organization skills interpersonal skills project plan good project manager planning projects project success project portfolio management hard skills manage projects effective project manager task management great project managers team management traditional project management project scope different project management methodologies task management software project schedule teamwork skills problem solving team building project management roles project charter effective communication project progress team member future projects project vision other project managers particular project completing projects project leaders process management conflict resolution subject matter expertise successful projects project's progress leading projects project deliverables project planning good project managers software development cost management negotiation skills budget management project management hard skills successful project managers project management soft skills project management role project management techniques project manager role time management skills successfully lead time management skills project scheduling practical skills skills for project managers day to day work career development motivate professional organizations formal education technical know how project initiation better understanding communicate effectively identify risks critical thinker skills for project hands on experience change management kanban boards skills needed goal setting good leader closer look real time good news new project

PMI’s white paper highlights the top three next-generation PM skills based on their survey. These skills are technical project management, leadership, and strategic business management.

(Image: Project Management Institute – PMI’s “Building High-Performance Project Talent” Whitepaper, Project Management Institute, Inc., 2013. Copyright and all rights reserved. Material from this publication has been reproduced with the permission of PMI)

Technical project management skills

Among the top three desired skills, technical knowledge rates as a key component that employers require but say are hard to find. As these technical skills are primarily process-based, they are easier to teach than other attributes that some project managers possess.

Leadership abilities

Although technical skills are essential, and it is difficult to effectively manage projects without them, there are some soft skills like exceptional leadership abilities that will rank much higher as a priority for employers. In fact, according to PMI, 66 percent of organizations rate leadership skills as the most valuable trait of a successful PM. What makes these skills hard to find is the fact that not all project managers are strong in this area. If you are a project manager with this sought-after ability, you may be in high demand.

Strategic and business management mindset

If you are lucky enough to have exceptional leadership skills and have a solid grasp of how project management can enable business strategy, you may be among a small percentage of project managers whom many employers will seek. Employers rate this as one of the top three next-generation PM skills in PMI’s report.


Why is a strategic and business management mindset important for project managers?

Employers rate a strategic and business management mindset as one of the top three next-generation PM skills because it enables project managers to understand how project management can enable business strategy and align project goals with business objectives.

What are the top three next-generation PM skills according to PMI’s white paper?

The top three next-generation PM skills are technical project management, leadership, and strategic business management.

Why do employers rate leadership skills as the most valuable trait of a successful PM?

Employers rate leadership skills as the most valuable trait of a successful PM because they are essential for effectively managing a project and ensuring team success.


Similar Content:

You may also like