Project manager requirements (With duties and skills)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 29 November 2022 | Published 30 November 2021

Updated 29 November 2022

Published 30 November 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

There is a range of requirements for project managers, including key skills and qualifications. They use these to ensure the success of projects across a diverse range of industries. If you wish to be a project manager, it's essential that you understand the routes into the profession, what skills you may wish to refine and what modern project management methodologies are most effective. In this article, we discuss the most important project manager requirements, their duties, salary and skill set.

Related: How to become a project manager

What are the vital project manager requirements?

Some of the most important project management requirements include:

Academic qualifications

Formal education is valuable but not essential for project manager jobs. A BSc in project management, business management, managerial economics or business law can demonstrate that you understand the many aspects of a project. A master's degree provides even more valuable insight and can include up to two years of advanced training in risk and time management, budgeting and defining scope. A master's degree is a good choice if you have an undergraduate degree in a field unrelated to project management. The path to becoming a project manager without formal education is longer and may provide fewer opportunities.

Advanced certifications in project management

At entry-level, you may only find junior roles in project management, like project assistant or junior project manager. Various certifications can be advantageous for advancing your career, including:

  • PRINCE2: PRojects IN Controlled Environments (PRINCE2) is one of the most globally-recognised certifications for project managers. PRINCE2 is awarded by AXELOS and PeopleCert and is valid for three years, plus its foundation level is available to anyone irrespective of experience.

  • Professional in Project Management (PPM): The Global Association for Quality Management (GAQM) awards this certification to project managers above entry-level. PPM trains project managers in advanced areas of project management, including risk management and resource allocation.

  • Certified ScrumMaster (CSM): This qualification includes the vital training to master the scrum method, a leading project management technique. A CSM certification is available to any aspiring project manager, is valid for two years and provides membership to the Scrum Alliance.

  • CompTIA Project+: The CompTIA Project+ certificate has no expiration date and is available to both IT professionals and non-IT professionals. It's suitable for project managers with little experience and helps them to cope with smaller projects within a diverse range of industries.

  • Association for Project Management (APM): The Association for Project Management awards this certification and requires no prior knowledge to enter. It consists of four levels, though PRINCE2 certified project managers can access this qualification within a shorter timeframe.

Related: PRINCE2 qualification: everything you need to know

Work experience

After gaining the essential knowledge and skills to become a project manager, you can start looking for project management jobs. Experience is a vital project manager requirement you can meet by working as a project manager, albeit in a small capacity. It usually takes between three and five years to meet the requirement for project manager jobs regarding experience. Your experience with handling major tasks, managing a team, planning and sticking to a budget are some of the requirements for a project manager job.

Related: Project delivery methods (with tips)

What does a project manager do?

A project manager works on a project from conception to completion. Here are some common responsibilities of a project manager:

  • developing the project plan with experts across every phase

  • identifying, screening and selecting a team of qualified workforce for a project

  • consulting experts and sourcing the essential resources and equipment for specific tasks within a project

  • negotiating wages for contractors and other members of the project management team

  • placing adverts for the contractor to bid on projects

  • working closely with investors or stakeholders to achieve the goals of the project

  • giving feedback to stakeholders on the progress of the project

  • overseeing every phase of the project from the beginning to the closing stage

  • identifying the strengths and weaknesses of the workforce

  • identifying the opportunities and risks at every stage of the project

  • closing the project when it meets deliverable standards

Related: How to meet deadlines (Plus tips on being organised)

What skills are important for project managers?

Project managers rely on a range of skills to be successful. The most important include:

  • Communication: A project manager communicates a vast amount of information to stakeholders throughout a project's lifecycle. This can include supplying information to superiors or giving feedback to members of your team to ensure they carry out their duties effectively.

  • Organisation: A typical project consists of a number of phases with distinct time frames for completion. Organisational skills can help you to maintain a sustainable plan throughout the project.

  • Leadership: A project manager heads a team of professionals on a project. It takes leadership skills to motivate employees and make them believe in your approach.

  • Problem-solving: Projects can vary immensely and have many different team members that can affect their outcomes. Problem-solving skills can enable you to identify, assess and resolve any challenges you encounter on a project.

  • Interpersonal and negotiation skills: A project manager may negotiate labour costs and equipment purchases and build rapport with their team. Negotiation skills can help you to get the best deals and discounts, while their interpersonal skills make them more relatable and approachable to their team.

Related: Project management skills and how to improve them

How much do project managers make?

The salary for a project manager depends on various factors, including location, size of the project, the organisation or client's resources and the industry. Experience and skill are also determinants of how much a project manager can earn. The national average salary for a project manager is £42,741 per year. You can make more by specialising in a field. For example, product managers in construction have a national average salary of £46,595 per year. Project managers in IT have a national average salary of £45,404 per year.

What industries can project managers find jobs in?

Project managers can work on various tasks in multiple fields. Any organisation that carries out projects which require expert knowledge may employ a project manager. Construction is one of the industries where the demand for project managers is highest. Project managers handle various aspects of construction projects, including the acquisition of construction materials, hiring of construction workers, analysing architectural designs with experts and ensuring compliance during every stage of the construction.

Another example is the health care sector, where project managers oversee various projects, including the expansion or creation of new hospital wings, installation of state-of-the-art facilities and construction of new health centres. Project managers also work in IT, engineering, finance and academia.

Related: Project manager interview questions with answers

What are the modern project management techniques?

Project managers have various methods to work effectively with the resources at their disposal. Project management techniques are techniques a project manager uses to make decisions that can ensure a project is successful in the most efficient way possible. The most important issues to consider for a project includes the budget for the project, the staff's skills, the size of the project, the complexity of the task and the resources available.

There are many techniques for carrying out project management assignments. Learning these methods can help you to manage resources, make feasibility studies and create a comprehensive plan for projects. Here are the project management techniques crucial to the project manager requirements:

The Agile approach

This method allows project managers can make vital changes while a project progresses, rather than only permitting major alterations at the end of the project to protocol at the end of a project. The Agile approach is suitable for modern-day projects where stakeholders contribute to every phase. It's also a flexible method perfect for when the outcome of a project is unknown from the start. Other subdivisions of the agile approach include:

  • The scrum method: Projects are split into short time frames (or sprints) and a scrum manager takes oversees each individual sprint. The scrum manager assesses the outcome of each sprint, makes adjustments accordingly and starts another sprint, repeating the process until the project's completion.

  • Kanban method: In this method, project managers give their team a pictorial view of the state of an ongoing project by representing each task with a column on a Kanban board. The Kanban method can help a project management team to quickly understand how a project is going and what areas they can improve.

Extreme programming (XP) methodology

This method is most suitable for software development technology in project management. With the XP method, project managers, contractors and their team can collaborate, communicate and achieve goals more effectively. It can also help form to organise the unit so that they can share information, feedback and directives. The XP method is ideal for project managers who prioritise teamwork and communication.

Salary figures reflect data listed on Indeed Salaries at the time of writing. Salaries may vary depending on the hiring organisation and a candidate's experience, academic background and location. Please note that none of the companies mentioned in this article is affiliated with Indeed.

Related:

  • What does a technical project manager do? (Role and salary)

  • What does a project associate do? (With required skills)

  • How to become a freelance project manager in 7 steps

  • Project manager vs resource manager: what's the difference?

  • How much do IT project managers make (with qualifications)


Related articles

Your guide to controlling cost in project management

Explore more articles