Project Management Job Requirements Study Announced

Job ApplicantsNoel Radley, the managing editor for, published the results of an interesting survey last month. They looked at three hundred job listings on job board-scraper for project managers. The intent was to compare requirements for positions across three sectors: aerospace, healthcare, and information technology. The points of comparison were education, certifications, and years of experience.

The team at chose these three sectors based on PMI’s Industry Growth Forecast, published last year. The Forecast estimates 6.2 million new project management roles will be created in the United States between 2010 and 2020. PMI anticipates job growth in aerospace, healthcare, and information technology will each be over 12 percent.

Radley says, “After reading how 6.2 million new project management jobs are anticipated to be created by 2020, we wanted to understand what qualifications employers are looking for in the project manager role. We wanted project managers to be able to better understand trends in their sector: how many years of experience are wanted (on average), what the biggest industries for PM are, and if PM job seekers need to be investing in higher education and certifications to secure these jobs. We also wanted to give project managers a sense of whether they would be competitive if they decided to switch industries, helping them to think through what it would take to transition and seek a new opportunity.”

What I found interesting in the results was the reduced importance of education, especially advanced degrees, for companies hiring project managers. The skills gap referenced in the PMI Forecast is manifesting here first, as companies lower their academic expectations of new hires. If you don’t have a degree, but you have lots of industry and project management experience, you might be preferred over the recent graduate.

Another of their findings was that, of those job postings specifying a professional certification, the PMP credential was the most commonly mentioned – as expected for project manager in the U.S. If you don’t have a degree, that PMP may provide an additional edge.

I’d be interested in hearing from recent job seekers and hires whether it seems like the bar is getting lower, in terms of education and experience, and whether these “requirements” are becoming “preferred.” Leave a comment, and let’s add some anecdotes to Noel’s insightful analysis.