Business project manager Commercial project lead, project manager
Business project managers plan and organise people, tasks and resources to complete a project on time and within budget.
1. Entry requirements
You could get into this career through a graduate traineeship, where you'll usually start off as a junior project manager. Any degree is acceptable, although studying business or project management may give you an advantage.
You may be able to work your way up from a project support or administration role.
You could also get into this career through a higher apprenticeship in project management, lasting 2 years. You’ll need 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) or equivalent, including English and maths. Some employers may want you to have level 3 qualifications.
The Association for Project Management (APM) has more information on careers in project management.
2. Skills required
- excellent organisational, planning and time management skills
- leadership, and communication skills
- the ability to negotiate and influence
- budgeting skills
- IT skills for using project management software
- the ability to use initiative and work under pressure
3. What you'll do
You could work on different types of project in almost any industry or sector like construction, IT or the NHS. You might be managing a large building development, introducing a new computer system or developing a new advertising campaign.
- finding out what the client or business wants to achieve
- agreeing timescales, costs and resources
- drawing up a plan for each project stage
- negotiating with contractors and suppliers
- choosing and leading a project team
- constantly monitoring progress, quality and costs
- reporting regularly to senior managers and the client
- using specialised software and spreadsheets for planning, costing and analysing risks
Starter: £22,000 to £30,000
Experienced: £30,000 to £45,000
Highly Experienced: £50,000 to £70,000+
Your salary will depend on your experience, the industry and the size and type of project. You could get bonuses for meeting deadlines. Freelance contracts are common. Freelance project managers negotiate a daily rate.
These figures are a guide.
5. Working hours, patterns and environment
You'll spend most of your time in an office, working standard hours from Monday to Friday.
You may also spend time travelling to meetings and visiting contractors and suppliers.
You may need a driving licence.
6. Career path and progression
You could also get professional qualifications through:
- Association for Project Management (APM)
- Chartered Management Institute (CMI)
- Project Management Institute (PMI)
If you're working in the IT industry, you could get a certificate in project management through The Chartered Institute for IT (BCS).
With experience, you could move into senior management or become a freelance consultant.
You may be interested in:
Last updated: 13 September 2017
Exam results helpline from 16 to 31 August
Once you've got your exam results, get help from a careers adviser on your options, and what to do next.
Call 0800 100 900
8am to 10pm, 7 days a week
Calls are free from landlines and most mobile numbers.