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Q&A Project Management Careers – PM Discontent

It’s been five years since the economic downturn and I feel so stagnated in my career – no pay rise, no training and no new challenges. I’m not sure what to do next, any advice?

There have been many others in a similar situation and many more again who have made strides in their careers over the last five years. The difference is down to a number of things including personal qualities, lifestyle, their approach to risk and ultimately how proactive they are at challenging the status quo. Five years is a long time to go without the recognition & rewards and I suspect you already know the answer about what to do next but just need a sounding board to work through the different scenarios. My questions to you start with, ‘what is the most important change you are looking for?’ Is it financial, personal development or just a change in the day-to-day work? Are you fundamentally happy with the organisation you work for? The first steps are about fully understanding what the current situation is with your employer. Change may be just around the corner and it could be a case of sitting tight for a little longer.

The second option is of course looking externally for new opportunities that fit your expectations in terms of salary, development and challenges. Opportunities do exist, project managers are still in demand and in some industries there is deemed to be a shortage of good people. Your next move could be a new permanent role or an opportunity to try freelancing. This will depend on your approach to risk taking and the level of new challenge you are looking for.

One key area to address straightaway is your own professional development. Project professionals should not rely totally on their employer to provide training and career development. If you are considering (a) asking for a pay rise or (b) looking for a new opportunity externally, you need to demonstrate that you do take your development seriously.

You are not the only one who has been sitting tight waiting for the economy to improve, the question is how much longer are you prepared to wait?

About Lindsay Scott

Lindsay Scott
Director of Arras People, the programme and project management recruitment specialists. You can find out more about Arras People and follow me on Twitter and Google I also write the careers column for PMI's Network magazine and other project management organisations too. Recently created the first PMO Conference and currently running the PMO Flashmob


  1. Or you could make a change and move away from the UK to Asia. Here in HK we are short of talent in many industries.

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