The votes are in. It’s never been a better time to be a project manager than in 2018.

While the IT skills gap is driving demand for talent in the cyber world, the project management skills gap is growing. In fact, it’s estimated that by 2027, employers will need to fill nearly 90 million project management related roles.

What does that mean for project management professionals? In short, it means opportunity, a well-compensated career, and a chance to do work that is desperately needed.

In this article, we’ll discuss exactly how and why project managers are needed in 2018 and how talented professionals can forge a career they love in this current market.

The Terrible Cost of Bad Project Management

project management professional 2018

Before we talk about how project management can help, it’s important to discuss why project management is important. The truth is, bad project management practices aren’t only wasteful and annoying, they can mean a huge loss of revenue.

Here are just a few shocking statistics about how bad project management professionals slow down production and cost businesses millions of dollars.

  • Around 70% of all projects fail
  • The failure of IT costs the U.S. economy $50-$150 billion annually.
  • IT failure rates are estimated to be between 5-10%, a loss of $50 billion to $150 billion per year in the U.S.
  • 75% of respondents lack confidence in project success due to fuzzy business objectives, out-of-sync stakeholders, and excessive rework (Source.)

It’s clear that working without project managers, or with unskilled project managers, has a negative, measurable impact on revenue. However, project managers can also have a real positive or negative effect on team morale.

Perhaps one of the most important ways project managers help is by identifying over or underperforming workers. An underperforming worker could be disengaged and not pulling their weight, leaving a burden on the rest of the team. Meanwhile, an overperforming employee may be micromanaging other employees or bringing morale down.

Lastly, good project managers shut down toxic workers. This is especially important because reliable employees are 54% more likely to quit their job even when there’s only one toxic employee.

The Magnitude of the Project Management Talent Gap

Now that we’ve identified the need for project management professionals within an organization, it’s important to return to the talent gap. First of all, how bad is it?

As we mentioned earlier, employers will need to fill 90 million project management related roles by 2020. This includes positions like project managers, program managers, portfolio managers, business analysts, change management experts, and more.

What industry will be host to these new jobs? The short answer is, everywhere, but some of the biggest needs will include:

  • 7 million jobs in manufacturing and construction
  • 5 million jobs in information services and publishing
  • 6 million jobs in finance and insurance
  • 7 million jobs in management and professional services
  • 279,000 jobs in utilities
  • 49,000 jobs in oil & gas


This problem gets even worse when you widen the scope internationally where the result could be a potential GDP loss of 208 billion dollars in 11 countries.

Estimated Project Management Jobs by Country 2017-2027project management skills gap

With this all in mind, it’s clear that there are a lot of opportunities to build a much-needed, well-compensated career in project management. Now the question is, what does project management look like in 2018?

Project Management Trends in 2018

This field has undergone quite a few changes in the last few decades and this article wouldn’t be complete without touching on some of the most important trends. In 2018, here’s what will be at the forefront in the minds of most project managers.

  • Resource Management: As qualified workers become scarce across the board, project managers must figure out how to make the most of the staff they have. This means that deciding when you have the proper resources to start a project is becoming more important.
  • Hybrid Project Management: In the past, it may have seemed that traditional and agile project management were in conflict. However, as different situations call for different management styles, there will be a call for more hybrid project management styles. This is something we touched on in a previous article.
  • Project Management Office: More organizations are seeing a need for a group or department to standardized project management across a company. This is known as a PMO or Project Management Office and there are definitely benefits. In companies that have a PMO, 38% more project succeeded and 33% fewer projects were deemed failures.
  • Project Management & Cyber Security: There is now a  wide range of online solutions to help coordinate projects. That means that cyber security is becoming more and more of a concern. While online solutions make it easier to collaborate and can be great for productivity, there are concerns about data being vulnerable to hackers and a need for solutions.

Now that we’ve established the top trends for project management, as well as the overwhelming need for project managers in general, it’s time to talk about salary.

Salary Trends in Project Management

Internationally, the median salary for project managers is $74,900 even for those with less than three years of experience. However, this number rises to $108,200 for project managers working in the U.S. For professionals with more experience working in high-demand areas, the median salary can climb as high as $125,000 annually.
project management salary

These numbers may change yet again when it comes to project management talent in the most demand industries. In places like the financial world, IT/tech, or staffing, the salary range can top out as high as $165,000.

PMP Project Management Salary

Another factor that has a huge effect on salary is certification. In general, project managers who are certified are more competitive job candidates and have a better chance at a higher salary. This is especially true for high-value certifications like the PMI’s Project Management Professional (PMP) or Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM) certification.

Project Management & PMP Certification in 2018

What exactly is the value of a PMP certification? Well, according to one estimate, a certified project management professionals in the U.S. commands around 20% more in salary than their uncertified counterpart.

PMP Certification Fast Facts

  • In nearly all countries, median salary steadily increases with PMP tenure.project management skills gap
  • Titles that a PMP-certification project manager might have include director of project management office, portfolio manager, project management specialist, and project management consultant.
  • The Program Management Improvement and Accountability Act (PMIAA), signed into law in 2016, means that many federal government project management jobs require a PMP certification.

In terms of salary breakdown, here is exactly how the PMP certification affects salary.

project management salaries

Why is this difference so stark? The answer is simple. The PMP certification “codifies what a project manager is, and how a project manager works.”  Basically, project management is all about organization and the PMP provides a strict framework for completing project effectively.

It’s clear that project managers are needed, important, and well-compensated. So, if you’re looking to start or advance a career in project management, what is the next step?

Getting PMP-Certified with LeaderQuest

Project Management SalaryAt LeaderQuest, we employ expert instructors who will not only help you prepare for your PMP exam, but are veterans of the application process as well. We pair the ITIL, CAPM, and PMP certifications together in our Senior Technology Project Management program so you have all the tools you need to be successful.

Our scheduling is flexible with classes that are available on campus, online, during the day, or at night to fit any work schedule or learning style. Once you’ve finished your first class, our career services team will use their contacts and resources to help get hired!

Project management isn’t just important, it’s sorely needed in a world where bad project management can cost valuable time, money, and man-hours. If you’ve been thinking about getting into this field, why wait? With the project management skills gap, a career in project management in 2018 is sure to be an incredibly valuable career. The time is now.

If you’ve been looking for a way to invest in your future, take the leap today!

Get PMP Certified!