Most industries need project managers, and there are now undergraduate and specialist post-graduate courses aimed at giving you the skills you need to excel in the role. But whether you are new graduate looking for your first project manager job, or an experienced professional wondering how to switch industries as a project manager, where should you look for your pick of the jobs? You can start with the construction and engineering, financial services, information technology, healthcare, and law sectors.
Construction and Engineering
Construction and civil engineering projects have always needed project managers.
Even in times of global recession, countries still need to replace old housing, build facilities for a growing population and refresh infrastructure. Urban renewal leads to a spike in seeking out people with the right skills to lead and manage local and international infrastructure change. That makes it a good place to start looking for a project manager job.
Large-scale innovative build projects like the UK’s Crossrail project create jobs in a wide-range of roles, with project management being a sought-after skill.
If you haven’t had previous experience in heavy industry or construction work it can feel difficult to make that move. However, many project management skills are transferable, so if you have experience of leading successful projects in other industries, then don’t rule out a move to engineering and construction if it appeals to you.
Over the last decade, project management has become integral to the way that financial services businesses operate. With the drive for getting better returns from smarter ways of working, and implementing transformative change to align with strategic plans and the evolving expectations of customers, there is a lot to be done.
Project managers need to know how to manage change and how to operate within a highly regulated industry. It’s not all spreadsheets and accounting: financial services firms also have to keep up with developments in IT, customer service, marketing, and the needs of their own staff.
The IT sector continues to be at the forefront of hiring for project management professionals. The range of work is wide, from developing solutions with alternative currencies like bitcoin and improvements in artificial intelligence projects to big data solutions.
On top of all the newer branches of tech, there is still the need for project managers to lead development and infrastructure work as well.
With an aging population globally and developments in technology, healthcare is undergoing a radical transformation. From being involved with building new hospitals to providing outreach services in hard-to-reach communities, there is a lot going on.
Digital project managers will also find plenty of opportunities as the healthcare industry moves from predominantly paper-based record keeping to totally digitizing patient medical data. The experience of big data projects, databases, and technical awareness at all levels will help you secure a move to healthcare.
This is also a good area to target if you're interested in developing your skills in process improvement projects. There is much that could be streamlined in healthcare management processes, and knowing that financially many healthcare providers are stretched is encouraging leaders to look for smarter ways of delivering the same services at the same price.
On top of all that, working in healthcare is immensely rewarding: it’s an industry where you can quickly see how much of a difference your project is making to the local community.
Legal project management is a specific branch that has evolved over the last few years. Project managers can enter the profession from any background—not necessarily a legal one—but if you do have legal skills then that could be seen by recruiters as an advantage.
Project managers in this area often get involved with setting the budget for a piece of legal work. You would be working alongside solicitors, lawyers, and other specialists to ensure that legal services are delivered effectively. As law can be complex, having a project manager on the team to ensure work continues to move in the right direction can be a huge asset for a legal firm.
Wherever you are currently in your career journey, it’s good news that project management is a sought-after skill.