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The Spotlight on the Programme Manager

In this year’s Project Management Benchmark Report we decided to add a few more pretty pictures than normal (infographics essentially). It’s always good to represent data and information in different forms and I’m sure we all like a good picture.

programme-managerThe image to the right is all about the role of the Programme Manager (just click it to enlarge) or just download the full report here.

Of course there was so much data and insights into the role of the Programme Manager that we couldn’t include in the full report or in the image so this article is all about those other interesting insights.

Where are Programme Managers Working Today?

With 72% of Programme Managers working in the private sector – it’s financial services, professional services, IT delivery and telecoms where you’ll find them working the most.

With the public sector (24%) they’re more likely to be working in central government the most, followed by local government, then healthcare then education.

Finally, just 4% of Programme Managers work within charities and not-for-profits. These are mainly national and international charities.

And Where in the Business Do They Work?

A third of Programme Managers report directly to senior executives or Board level. Then its the IT department (30%).

What Size of Business So They Work In?

68% work in organisations with over 1000 employees – it stands to reason that programmes are more likely to occur in larger organisations where more delivery action happens.

And 71% work in organisations that are a multi-national organisation. So if you’re thinking about programme management as a career option these two stats give you some indication about where you’re likely to find that work. Just 7% of Programme Managers work in a single site organisation.

How are Programme Managers Feeling Right Now?

Well, some are feeling very confident:

“The amount of work required to deliver services to the public and the lack of project and programme management expertise in my organisation makes me fairly confident that I’ll be required to remain in post in 2016” and “My company is growing and expanding, the Project Office cannot keep up with the demand for project work from the business.”

And then there are those in industries who are not so confident:

“Company delivers equipment to the oil and gas industry which has contracted dramatically in 2015 and looks to continue to be poor in 2016” and “Job insecurity due to Chinese dominance of local telecom market, our company is surviving really hard to exist.”

Opportunities are arising through company acquisitions & mergers, a perceived skills shortage of good Programme Managers, areas of the public sector increased spending such as defence and a move towards contracting and freelancing.

But external factors are causing concerns such as the ‘possible BREXIT, oil glut, impeding economic recovery / stability and the impact of US rate rises on UK economy’ are just some of the things keeping Programme Managers awake at night.

How Much do Programme Managers Earn?

58% of Programme Managers work in a permanent role and 42% are freelancers. The average salary for the permanently employed is £65,897 and for day rates it’s £563 a day.

But how much do freelance Programme Managers actually bill in a year?


Freelance Programme Managers typically have contract lengths between 4 and 6 months (35%) and 10 to 12 months (37%)

How Experienced Are Programme Managers?

Obviously Programme Managers have over 10 years experience within project management and 43% have over ten years experience as a Programme Manager. We asked respondents how they classed themselves experience wise. They could choose from Junior (1%), Foundation (4%), Practitioner (27%), Advanced (29%), Thought Leader (10%) and Expert (30%).

In what area/subject matter are you a Thought Leader or Expert?

So what kind of areas were Programme Managers thought leaders or experts in?

Here’s a collection of responses:

  • IT Strategy
  • Programme Delivery sector agnostic
  • Management of projects/programmes and recovery of ones that are slipping
  • PMO and Benefits
  • Sponsorship, Ethics and Professionalism, use of standards
  • Business change
  • IT Outsourcing/Managed Services
  • Complex government projects
  • Business transformation programmes
  • Secure IT Programme Delivery
  • Driving change and gaining momentum
  • Strategic Management of Benefits
  • Rescuing failing programmes and delivering them
  • Trusted source who move and inspire people with innovative ideas; turn ideas into reality, and know and show how to replicate their success.
  • Experience in different situations with different sectors
  • Relocation, Integration & Separation

If you’re interested in the role of Programme Manager, why not register with Arras People to see what opportunities are available in 2016?

You can download the full Project Management Benchmark Report too – no form to complete if you’re registered with us, it’s available in your candidate portal.

I’ve also recently written a blog post for the AXELOS website about The risks of promoting Project Managers to Programme Managers have a read if you’re interested in programme management.

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

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