Careers Service Occupations

Project Management

About

Project managers can work across most sectors. Common sectors include construction, IT, engineering, property, translation and the public sector.

According to the 2018 salary and market trends survey from the Association for Project Management, 18 – 24 year olds working in project management earned an average salary of £27,500. The average overall salary for project management professionals in the UK in 2018 was £47,500. 

Additionally, the survey revealed most project management professionals work for large companies, with 85% working for organisations with more than 250 employees. 

Careers advice

Industry news

Professional bodies

These represent people working in the sector, providing training and networking opportunities. They often provide careers support for students and graduates.

They also provide development for people already working in the sector. Follow them on LinkedIn or visit their websites for news, contacts, work experience and vacancies.

The main professional associations for this sector include:

Find professional bodies outside of the UK on GoinGlobal by selecting ‘Professional and Personal Networking’ on each of the individual country guides. 

Making contacts

Making contacts is useful for success in this sector. Many jobs in this field come through networking and speculative applications. You could start with:

Events

Recruitment fairs, open days, talks and events give insight and opportunities to make contacts.

Many large employers and the professional bodies in this sector run events and other opportunities, for example:

For more events for this sector see Careers Service events or External Events.

Related sectors

You may also be interested in Information Technology, Civil Engineering, Geomatics and Construction, Property and Surveying and Healthcare.

Or see our other Explore Occupations pages for more options.

Roles & Skills

Project management is open to graduates of any degree. Typically, graduates start in an entry level position, such as project assistant, junior project manager or graduate project manager, before progressing to a project manager role.

Many employers will support project management professionals to study for an industry recognised qualification in project management while they are working, for example in PRINCE 2 or Agile project management theory. Employers would not normally expect recent graduates to already have these qualifications. 

The following job profiles include descriptions of typical duties, entry requirements and case studies.

Project manager

Sector-specific project manager role profiles

Charity sector project manager 

For more information on this sector see charities and voluntary organisations

Construction project manager

For more information on this sector see civil engineering, geomatics and construction

Healthcare project manager

For more information on this sector see healthcare

IT project manager

For more information on this sector see information technology

Property project manager

For more information on this sector see property and surveying

Translation project manager

For more information on this sector see language careers

Skills employers look for

  • organisational, planning and time management skills
  • a logical and methodical approach
  • negotiation skills, diplomacy and the ability to motivate
  • communication, interpersonal and people management skills
  • ability to work under pressure and to deadlines
  • IT knowledge, budgeting skills and commercial awareness

Gaining Experience

Getting into project management is competitive. Work experience is invaluable in developing relevant skills and demonstrating your interest and commitment to recruiters.

Several large graduate recruiters, such as Rolls Royce, GE and Network Rail, offer students paid summer internships or placement years in project management.

Applications for large companies start to open in September, the year before the internship or placement year will take place. They start to close between November and February. 

Some companies recruit all year round, but it is best to start looking as early as possible.

Work experience with smaller companies is not always advertised. You may need to contact the employer with a speculative approach.

Finding work experience

Internships and placements

Undertaking an internship or placement year is a great way to gain in-depth experience in your chosen field.

Penultimate year undergraduate students can opt to take a 9-12 month placement, extending your degree programme by one year. For more information, or to register your interest, see Careers Service Placement Year.

The Careers Service offers flexible term-time and summer internships with North East employers, many in project-led roles. Search on My Career for internships. 

Finding opportunities

See Internships and Placement Years for more vacancy sources. 

Finding organisations

Not all opportunities are advertised. You could also approach organisations or find work through networking in the industry.

Find organisations that interest you and get in touch, always with a named contact. Be specific about why you are writing to them and what you’re looking for.

Show your enthusiasm for the sector and highlight any relevant skills. Don’t give up if you don’t get a reply – follow up with a phone call or email to show that you’re keen.

Try the following sites to find organisations to approach:

In the North East

UK wide

See Researching Employers for more ways to source and research companies.

Other ways to gain experience

All work experience is valuable, so if you can't find a project management internship why not try some of these alternative ideas:

  • complete a project based placement as part of the ncl+ Advanced Award 
  • organise an extracurricular project and receive funding and support from the Student Initiative Fund 
  • get involved with the student society Enactus which sets up and implements social projects
  • complete free online courses in project management with FutureLearn
  • think about voluntary work and work on a project for a charity - see volunteering for help with finding opportunities
  • get involved in student societies and develop relevant skills, for example organising events and projects, taking on a leadership role or managing a budget as treasurer
  • enter a project-led competition

Finding Jobs

Many large employers offer graduate schemes in project management. Applications usually open around August or September and close as early as October - December, for roles starting the following September.

You can also find lots of graduate jobs advertised all year round. Competition is strong, especially for entry-level positions.

Use these resources to find advertised vacancies and also research employers for speculative applications.

Professional bodies and research councils also advertise graduate positions. See About for a list of organisations.

Vacancy sites

Find jobs and additional vacancy source websites for outside of the UK on GoinGlobal.

Graduate Schemes 

See Graduate Jobs for more vacancy sources.

Specialist recruitment agencies 

Recruitment agencies often advertise graduate and entry-level positions. They also have a wealth of industry knowledge.

  • Arras People - specialist recruitment agency for project management
  • Edgar Cowen - technology, property and construction recruitment agency with project management vacancies 
  • Michael Page - project management vacancies 

Finding organisations

Not all opportunities are advertised. You could also approach organisations or find work through networking in the industry.

Find organisations that interest you and get in touch, always with a named contact. Be specific about why you are writing to them and what you’re looking for.

Show your enthusiasm for the sector and highlight any relevant skills. Don’t give up if you don’t get a reply – follow up with a phone call or email to show that you’re keen.

Try the following sites to find organisations to approach:

In the North East

UK wide

See Researching Employers for more ways to source and research companies.