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Business project manager Commercial project lead, project manager

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Business project managers plan and organise people, tasks and resources to complete a project on time and within budget.

Salary, a pound sign Salary: £22,000 to £70,000+ average per year
Hours, a clock face Hours: 38 to 40 per week

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

You'll need:

  • 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.

You'll be:

  • 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

4. Salary

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

While you're working, you could study for an industry qualification like PRINCE2 or Agile.

You could also get professional qualifications through:

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.

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Last updated: 10 September 2018