The Current Project Management Job Climate

job climate

Recruitment and Employemnt Confederation

The Report on Jobs is a monthly publication produced by IHS Markit and sponsored by the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC). The report looks at both permanent and temporary jobs in a number of different sectors.

As we are now through the year’s first quarter and approaching summer we thought we would take a look at the current climate for job seekers and recruiters in 2018 and how that is affecting project managers searching for positions.

>>Arras People: Latest Vacancies

What has the report shown so far for 2018?

Appointments for both temporary and permanent placements went up in January (bottom left). Permanent appointments particularly increased hitting a joint 33-month increase whereas temporary contracts whilst still increasing hit a 10 month low.

Going forward into April (bottom right) however and permanent appointments are increasing at a 4 month low whilst temporary jobs had a sharp increase in the rate of appointments. Temporary placements in 2018 however still remain lower than at any point in 2017.


Staff spointments - 2018Staff appointments - April 2018







With staff Executive and permanent staff shortagesappointments on the rise, the report has also shown that there is a shortage of workers for the number of vacancies available. The demand for workers has increased in both permanent and temporary opportunities. The figure on the left shows that for Executive and Professional positions (the category in which project managers fall under) there has been an increase in demand (1.7% permanent and 1.5% temporary).

Employers however haven’t found it smooth sailing when trying to fill this demaproject management vancies fillednd. In our Project Management Benchmark 2018 Report, our survey showed that only 35% of recruiters managed to fill all vacancies with 55% not being able to fill all open positions. The Report on Jobs also states that project management is a key skill that is currently in shortage.

Participants of the Benchmark Report did state that there were other factors affecting these results stating:

  • There were too many academic project managers with not enough experience for the roles on offer.
  • Whilst others said the pay on offer did not match market rates for the skills and experience required.

 What does this mean for Project Managers for the rest of 2018?

This current climate puts project managers in a strong position against potential employers. The Report on Jobs stated that there was a link between staff shortages and the current trend of increased starting salaries (See below left). Increase in pay could be the answer in order to attract talented Project Managers. The Benchmark reported that whilst 32% of UK employees were happy in their role 29% would be open to a change with a further 19% wanted a change in employer (see below right). If employers are struggling to fill their roles making the right offer to one of the above could be the solution.

employee position heading into 2018

Employee pay pressures








This is good news for both freelancing and permanent Project Managers. If jobs remain available (and on the rise) freelancers should feel more confident that there are opportunities available, whilst permanent employers could decide to be more selective over which jobs they go for. We found in our survey that 31% of UK based freelancers were resting/between assignments. Some of those will be by choice – for others it has been an enforced break through limited number of opportunities available. The Report on Jobs is indicating that might not be the case right now and in the months ahead.

UK Freelancer Position

As we progress through the year it will be interesting to see how the climate for recruiting project managers changes and how both employers and employees alike react. We’ll keep you posted.



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