This article is from the July edition of Project Management Tipoffs, the project management & recruitment issues newsletter from Arras People. Subscribe today and we’ll send you free monthly editions, including last week’s July release.
Back in the good old days of 2005, Tipoffs reported that the UK project management marketplace was hit by a massive skills shortage;
- The job market is bound for massive expansion as companies and organisations take the dust covers off their delayed investments in new IT systems and regulatory adherence demands change!
- The general consensus would appear to be that this skills shortage will convert into pay increases and a general scramble as organisations look to secure the services of the best permanent and freelance consultants!
The interesting observations we made at the time included; “The number of available skilled programme and project management professionals is reducing; employers are not yet cognoscente to the fact that there may be a shortage on the horizon and rates are still pretty level and not inflationary.” At the time we were a little sceptical about the perception that a skills shortage would exist in project management but fast forward to 2010 and the marketplace is showing some interesting signs.
Permanent employees and contractors alike will tell you of their concerns on not only the available opportunities within the marketplace being drastically reduced but also the impact on the rates and salaries available. It has not been uncommon to hear of contract project management professionals raising concerns about the reduction of their rates by up to 30% of what they were two years ago. There is, however, a flip side to this story and one worth noting and sharing with the project management community.
It is the project management professionals who are working within a “skills shortage” industry, sector or organisation that have carried on working through these recessionary times and who have seen their rates increase during the last two years. It is also worth noting that although we are still within a period of economic flux, where the marketplace has seen an increased in available project management resources, the general consensus amongst employers is that there is a decrease in “the right” project management talent being available. That’s right, it appears we do indeed have a skills shortage, or to expand that further, we have a domain knowledge shortage within project management. The contract and permanent project management workforce who are currently working within those areas deemed to be in demand are cleaning up.
My question to you is this; “what is your area of specialism?” Or are you a generalist project management practitioner who believes that project management is a transferable skill set which will allow you to work in any industry sector? Rightly or wrongly, the marketplace at the moment is demanding specialism of its project managers; demonstrable experience of domains, sectors, industries, systems, products, business change and so the list goes on.
Think about your own situation and circumstance; if you were to market your own specialism what would it be? What areas of business and industry are looking for my particular specialism? How can I work the current marketplace demands to my advantage? Now is not a great time to think about how to change sectors or markets; now is the time to capitalise on your real achievements to date.