Wanted: project managers

Wanted: project managers

How can today’s organisations attract and retain the best candidates for the role? Ben Mulligan, director of Infuse Recruitment, shares some insights.

Project managers can be quite transient by nature, says Ben Mulligan, director of Infuse Recruitment.

If an employer can provide a variety of challenges this will attract high calibre candidates who like to have a pipeline of engaging projects to keep them involved and interested in the role, he says.

“A good project portfolio with variety really appeals to project managers as they tend to be short to mid-term thinkers, who are keen to analyse a project, implement it and then move on to the next challenge.”

In the IT sector Infuse has seen several IT-focused organisations exclusively adopt agile methodology for their projects, he says.

Historically there has often been partial adoption of agile, but it now seems agile is the methodology of choice for many in the industry, Mulligan says. Infuse has been keeping a close eye on this shift because changes in job requirements and skills have a direct impact upon the match between a person and a role.

The demand for experienced project managers with agile methodology experience has increased sharply in recent months.

Per sector, he sees a rise in demand within the financial services sector for project managers that have regulatory experience. There are several deadlines looming for their financial services clients, which are looking to get their processes and systems compliant.

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People with strong organisational skills, a methodical approach to work and who have influence within the business are well set up for a successful career in project management.

Ben Mulligan, Infuse

He says Infuse is also seeing consistent demand across all sectors for project managers with large scale transformation experience, due to an increase in merger and acquisition activity and a growing, more confident economy and business climate.

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Which qualifications?

Mulligan says from a professional qualification perspective, the most widely recognised course for project managers is Prince2.

However, not all companies require their project managers to be certified in Prince2, he adds.

“Interestingly, we tend to see two schools of thought when it comes to qualifications – for some clients, it is a black and white case and all project managers must be qualified in Prince2 or similar in order to get through the door. For others though, it is more about proving your skills and the outcomes you can deliver.”

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Any working environment that allows its people to develop a good structure while still providing the challenge of influencing a variety of stakeholders should hold you in good stead, he says.

People with strong organisational skills, a methodical approach to work and who have influence within the business are well set up for a successful career in project management, he says.

“There is often a variety of backgrounds in any project office, but those characteristics tend to be the most common – and in demand. What people should focus on is enhancing those skills. A business that helps its people to build those competencies and helps project managers to hone their influencing skills is on the right track.”

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Read more: Companies filling senior IT roles made redundant during the downturn: Robert Walters

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