One of the core advantages of being project management-certified today is that the methodology/framework cuts across multiple industries. Project management is a multi-industry certification, giving the holder of the certification the flexibility to work in any industry while at the same time providing the rare opportunity to change industries at will. The standardization of the project management methodology makes industry switching almost seamless.

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As project managers, we are often aware of the flexibility and rare opportunity we have to harness, but at the same time confused about what criteria we should use in selecting the industries we work for. Employee satisfaction, challenges, remuneration, and growth opportunities differ across industries and are some of the most important factors for any project manager to consider before deciding to work in an industry.

Location should also be considered an important factor when researching a possible project management position. Research has shown that younger people (project managers included) are more willing to relocate and experience the world from other perspectives, while older employees, many of whom have bought property or established themselves in a community, are more likely to look for new positions in the same geographic area. Some of the factors that affect the need for project managers include the rate of development, technological advancement of the nation, the rate of capital projects, and the entrepreneurial nature of the citizens.

This article will provide both qualitative and quantitative arguments that help determine the top five industries for project managers to work in. It will also discuss the best countries to practice as a project manager. This will be analyzed both in terms of remuneration and the ease with which a project manager can get a project or can gain employment in the country. We will begin by analyzing the industry first, and then proceed to the countries.

Top Industries to Work in as a Project Manager

The following industries have been researched and discovered to be the five best industries to work as a project manager:

Health Sector—The ever-busy health sector consists of a network of multiple projects, thus in perpetual need of complex project managers. An effective health sector requires a complex supply chain network, demand management, detailed resource and material supply, recruitment team, IT team, technical team, ambulances, police, etc., which are expected to be in full functioning positions at all times. (Health issues hardly ever give advanced notice.) For example, the National Health Service is the largest employer of labor in the United Kingdom, employing over 1.3 million people and counting. [I SHOULD GET COMPARABLE NUMBER FOR U.S.?] The consistent need for project management in the health sector makes it desirable industry for most project managers. Also, with a salary range of $66,110 to $118,816 and an average salary of $91,293 per year in the United States health sector, the high remuneration should make the industry appealing and financially stable to statewide project managers.

Management Consultancy—An effective project management consultant will design methods and processes to help the project organization reduce cost and time. Because they understand the role that project consultants play in a project success, many organizations are beginning to recruit in-house consultants. This, however, has not stopped project management consulting firms from growing and expanding. A professional project manager in a management-consulting firm is often very skilled and flexible, as they are required to work on a variety of projects cutting across multiple industries. The average consultant project manager is often satisfied with his/her job role and is also a solution provider.

The industry is highly attractive to analytical, problem-solving oriented individuals, as every new project possesses a unique challenge. Also, the median earning for management consultants is $85,971, making it one of the most sought-after industries for project managers.

Oil and Gas—The world we live in today is energy driven. From the houses we live in to the cars we drive and the offices we work in, all of them are powered by one form of energy or another. This has made the energy industry, which is led by the oil and gas industry, one of the largest industries in the world today. Due to the large-scale projects involved in the oil and gas sector, there is the need for qualified project managers across the various sectors of the oil and gas industry (up stream, middle stream and down stream). A quick survey of LinkedIn’s employment listings show that there are over 50,000 vacancies for project managers in the oil and gas sector across the world. The need for constant innovation, production of more eco-friendly fuels, faster and more efficient supply chain, etc., has increased the amount of projects in the oil and gas sector, thus creating jobs for many who have the required project management skills and interest to be a part of the growing industry. The oil and gas sector also boasts of being one of the most financially rewarding industries for project managers. According to payscale.com, the average salary in the project managers in oil and gas is $107,175, with senior project managers earning as much as $156,000.

Construction—More often than not, when we hear about the construction industry, we think large-scale projects. This is natural, as the construction industry is often referred to as the king of all project-based industries. Common characteristics of the construction industry are jobs that have specific goals (building, offices, bridges, rail, roads, etc.), measurability, definite time bounds, and achievability, are of which are the characteristics of a project. As a result of the project nature of the construction industry, it is known to have the highest need for project managers when compared to any other industry. The responsibility of a construction project manager covers all areas of project management, including contract administration, time management, procurement management, supply chain management, quality management, etc. A high rate of technical competence is often required in construction industry and this has made it a premium and attractive field for those with the required skills. This might also account for the constant need of project managers in the construction industry.

According to payscale.com, a construction project manager earns $72,503 per year on the average, while senior project managers can earn as much as $112,000. This is far beyond the average working income of an American, which is valued at $27,000 in 2012.

Information Technology—The Information Technology (IT) industry has been the fastest-growing industry of the last decade. This time period was revolutionized with the aid of information technology and IT and has practically changed the way we relate with our environment and ourselves. The growth in the IT sector is, however, far from reaching its peak, as the industry has continued to grow exponentially in the past five years. The IT industry consists of several sectors, including software developments, cloud computing, OEMs, and others. The share size and continuous growth of the industry has led to an increase in the demand for project managers. There is also a high demand for creative thinkers and non-conventional thinkers, which have made it attractive to non-conventional project managers as well.

The introduction of IT and the way we relate to our environment and ourselves has also increased the range of project managers that work with the IT sector (not just technical project managers), thus increasing the prospects of getting a job as a project manager within the IT industry, even without a technical background. IT project managers are among the highest paid project managers when compared to many other industries. It is, however, second to the oil and gas sector. The median salary is $85,000, with the senior project managers earning as much as $120,000.

Conclusion

With project managers having unprecedented flexibility to choose from a range of industries, selecting the ideal industry can become a herculean task. Our article today has explored the top five industries to work today as a project manager. We focused on using factors such as demand, remuneration, job availability, and job satisfaction. As a continuation, a second part of this article will focus on the top 10 best countries in which to practice project management, as released by the PMI. We will be analyzing the factors that make these countries superior to other countries.

Thank you for reading. As usual, if you have any question or comment, please do leave us a message in the comment box and we would get back to you.