Project Manager Salary Overview: Seeing Tasks Through to Completion
Whenever you see a building getting made or a road built, there is always someone either behind the scenes or onsite who makes sure that everything runs according to plan. That person is the project manager of a job, and while it is a tough job, the payoff can be significant.
If you do not mind putting in the time, education and work needed for the position, then the job can yield you a sizeable yearly project manager salary. But what type of skills while you need for this type of situation? What kind of person will ideally benefit from this type of position?
If you have been thinking about these types of questions that this project manager salary will suit you well. In this article, we will go over the job and the average paycheck that comes with it. We will also look at some of the qualifications and responsibilities of the position. Let us get started!
What Is a Project Manager?
The position of a project manager is a job with many different roles and responsibilities depending on the specific situation. However, according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the role of project manager belongs to the construction industry.
Still, all project managers, regardless of the industry, are responsible for starting, designing, overseeing, controlling, finishing and closing a project. When they begin a new construction project, the project manager is at the head of everything, from finding employees to budgeting the overall cost.
A project manager needs to worry about maintaining an internal staff department that they can pass work off to as it comes. Similarly, they also need to communicate with all the vendors involved with the project. Often this involves multiple material providers and interior decorators in the case of a building.
The project manager also looks after the budget during the entire process of construction. They must manage the scope and expectations of the work if it begins becoming more expensive than predicted. A project manager must report to each department head and let them know the current status of the budget.
They will also inform them of any progress and concerns they may have with the way things play out. As such, a project manager must come with extensive knowledge of departmental procedure. They also must know how to communicate with a large group of people quickly and concisely.
In terms of day to day operations, most project managers will work behind the scenes in office settings. However, they will also visit the site itself so they can know that day to day operations with the workers goes as planned.
Why Are Project Manager Important in the Workplace?
If you cannot already tell from the job description, the role of project manager is by no means a small task. But why is the job important in the workplace? What causes the project manager salary to be so high?
A project manager remains a justly revered position because this individual is responsible for making sure that the end product matches up with the expectations of the client. The client will always bring strategies and desires to each business opportunity.
As we mentioned, these roles can be complicated and multifaceted. The project either succeeds or fails because of this position and the strategies it implements. It is the role of the project manager to make sure that by the end of the job all of these strategies come to pass.
Another reason this position remains highly sought after in the industry is it requires competent leadership skills. As the name suggests, you will need to direct other people and provide some guidance with each task they complete and how they complete it.
Oversight is crucial when you deal with any large scale, day to day operation. While documenting the minute details of your team's progress and budget might seem like tedious paperwork, it helps provide an accurate estimate regarding when the project will reach the final stages.
It also helps keep workers in line that might slack off under a less watchful eye. The leader is in charge of making sure that well-produced progress reports reach the stakeholders promptly. These reports should be technical, but also easy enough to understand for the average person who may not know much about it.
Without any good leadership, then projects can quickly turn into a car without a steering wheel — dangerous and out of control. A leader acts as that steering wheel by controlling the direction and progress of any construction work.
In plain terms, a manager remains necessary for the sake of accountability. If someone stands at the head of the project, then there is no confusion about who is in charge and who is responsible for any trouble that arises.
Project managers also remain essential due to their clarification skills. When dealing with both abstract concepts like design and real ones like building costs, it helps to have some who can redefine the listed goals for when they get too convoluted.
When management teams lack a leader, then goals the client set before them quickly become confusing and different for each person. As such, a project manager ensures that everyone remains on the same page in terms of understanding the task at hand.
The overseeing of money and time also remain essential reasons for hiring a project manager. Like the goals of a project, the projected budget and period estimated by a management team can quickly turn into over-ambitious guesses if there is not an individual keeping things in check.
This position helps set a realistic expectation for the client. It also helps combat possible negative conversations about budget projects or projects that arrive late.
Without a good project manager, complex construction projects can quickly turn into chaotic and expensive cash holes. As such, investors want someone they know can handle the responsibilities of the job.
A good project manager also ensures that the final project, once the team finishes it, maintains all the amounts of quality that the company promised the client. This part of the job is more natural said than done. In practical terms, it requires the leader to break down the project into stages which can be easily identifiable.
At each one of these stages, the leader will organize a quality control team to go through the project and make sure it reaches the standards that the client communicated.
Project managers also work to identify risks in the problem and deal with them before they become a bigger problem. Like diseases, or holes in a ship, when you catch them early on, you can minimize what likely would have turned into something of an irreparable loss.
How to Go About Being a Project Manager
As you can probably expect, becoming a project manager involves more than just a college degree. However, a college degree is also necessary too — specifically a bachelor degree in relevant fields.
While some universities offer specific project manager majors, more often than not you will need to study a related field and then take additional certification measures. Generally, we recommend studying business management since this major will cover a lot of the necessary skills needed for the job.
However, you do not confine yourself to business management if it does not interest you. Computer science, marketing, and engineering degrees also come in handy — mainly if the project you lead specializes in these fields. Remember project managers usually work in construction, but not always.
If you do decide that you want to oversee a construction undertaking as a project manager, you will need some additional level of certification. Specifically, you will need to pass an exam offered by the CMAA, or the Construction Management Association of America.
These types of certifications help prove that you hold all the necessary qualifications for this type of job. And since they are universal, you do not need to complete multiple certifications for different companies.
You will also need experience before a client can trust you with the responsibility of a big project. No one is going to hand you a big, important job right out of school, so you will need to work your way up before taking on these type of projects.
Most project managers work as an assistant until they learn enough insider information on the job to handle one of their own. Be patient during this process and eventually you will get the project manager salary that you deserve.
Project Manager Salary
The most recent average released by the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics places the typical project manager salary around $133,684 per year. However, the range of wages usually falls between a wide area of one hundred and twenty thousand and one hundred fifty thousand dollars.
However, keep in mind that these salary figures are not set in stone. Indeed, they rely on a variety of factors like the level of education you hold, the number of years you have in the industry, your reputation for finishing projects and any other additional skills you might bring to potential projects.
As such, you will need to work your way up the ladder and prove yourself before you start seeing consistent money coming in, in terms of a regular salary. Connections within the industry also help speed up this process considerably.
Why You Might Want to Become a Project Manager
It takes a particular type of person to become a project manager — not everyone is cut out for the job. Simply put, excellent communication skills are a must for this job. When you talk about the goals of the project with your client and team, you must be the middleman for transferring a clear vision.
This skill means that you can answer any questions someone might ask you concisely and. It also says that if you do not know the answer, that you communicate that and get back to them. You must be able to demonstrate an aura of calm and respect during stressful situations and interaction.
As you can tell by the amount of education, certification, and experience needed for the job, a project manager also requires quite a bit of time that not every individual has the patience or financial circumstances for when applying.
Since the project manager must identify problems before they occur (or at least know where problems might arise), they must come with a good deal of foresight. While often this skill is taught through the job, it does not hurt if the candidate remains a prudent thinker throughout their life.
Leadership skills are another necessary trait. Some people just were never meant to lead anything — which is excellent! Not everyone needs to be a leader. But even in the leader world, there are spectrums of how effective a leader can be on the job.
Some good leaders point the team in the right direction and deal with problems as they arise. And then some bad leaders micromanage every team member and create more problems than they solve. It is crucial you know the difference between the two.
If the organization is an incredibly important part of your personality, then that is another sign that you would make a good project manager. With all the files, bills and forms needed during the construction process, if you do not maintain an incredibly streamlined system, then things will quickly back up.
Unorganized leaders will lose vital pieces of paper, or forget to pay a critical supplier. Anytime spent during the work process retracing your steps to get a document or idea is some time that you could spend on the project.
As you might guess math skills are another essential qualification for an individual in this job to possess. However, not only should they be well versed in dealing with large sums, but they should also be able to understand and contextualize them for the team.
When you deal with big money orders spent on labor and resources, then the figures you estimate can quickly turn into meaningless numbers. There is no better way for a project to head over budget. As such we recommend people who come with a knack for dealing and understanding large money figures.
We hope this article helped give you an excellent overall impression of what the roles and responsibilities of this position look like in the workplace. The project manager salary is a pretty good motivator for getting into the field anyway.
But, we strongly recommend that you find so passion in the field — either in the building process or in leading others. If you do this, then the nice paycheck will be the cherry on top of the sundae. But, if you do not like it, then you may quickly become overwhelmed and unhappy. Choose carefully!