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The Pros and Cons of a Career in Project Management

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However, as is the case with every career path, there are pros and cons that people interested in a project management career must consider, and here we discuss them to help you decide whether it is the right career path for you!

The Pros of a Career in Project Management 

1) No two days are the same

A career in project management is not the typical 9 to 5 job, to say the least, being that you’re rarely doing the same things from day to day.

Since all projects are different from one another, each with their own set of objectives, challenges, risks and solutions, meaning you’re never stuck doing the same tedious tasks - making project management a great option for those who crave variety and get bored easily. 

In fact, monotonous work is considered to be one of the leading causes of employee burnout. According to a research conducted by LumApps, a leading employee experience platform, 88% of employees reported that they had experienced at least some level of burnout over the last 2 years, while ⅓ claimed to have suffered from physical and mental exhaustion as a result of workplace pressures. 

To this end, choosing a career in project management is ideal if you’re looking for a role to keep you motivated and content. 

2) Earning power

Even though project management is not a straightforward and easy job to have, one of its main advantages is that the effort you put into your work is recognised and rewarded. It is a lucrative career path you will definitely be satisfied with.

Although a project manager’s salary can vary depending on location, company and level of experience, the average salary for a project manager in the UK is around £45,600, according to employment website Indeed.

Project managers working on a freelance basis, however, can often earn more, as they tend to work with several high-paying companies simultaneously.

3) Soft skill development 

Problem-solving, leadership, communication, budget and schedule management are just a few of the soft skills project managers develop throughout the course of their careers.

The development of such skills, although are required to excel in a project management career and help you grow in your role, can also be utilised to explore different opportunities and career paths, while a background in project management suggests to future employers that you have in fact mastered these soft skills. 

4) Not confined to one department 

Project managers do not tend to belong in a larger department or within set teams, the way that marketing or finance teams would work, for example. However, depending on the nature of each project, project managers have to collaborate with different departments within an organisation. 

For instance, if a project involves the development of a new e-commerce website, the project manager is required to collaborate with the finance, website development, user experience and marketing departments. Due to this, a project manager’s job is always kept interesting, working with a mix of colleagues, as well as providing them with a better understanding of how each department in their organisation operates. 

5) A fulfilling job with tangible goals 

Unlike colleagues from various departments working on a piece of a project, project managers get to see and work on a project from beginning till end, allowing them to reflect on the entire journey from beginning to end, adding to their knowledge and skill level as they go. 

For many project managers, there is nothing more satisfying than when a project they’ve been working on for an extended period of time has been completed successfully, allowing them to see it all come together after weeks or even months of targets, deadlines, milestones and a lot of hard work.  

The Cons of a Career in Project Management 

1) Dealing with dispute is a regular occurrence 

When it comes to defining project requirements, different areas within an organisation will prioritise different aspects of a project. This can often lead to numerous disputes arising throughout, which can be stressful to deal with and untangle.

To add to that, a lack of resources and finances required for the successful completion of a project can also bring up disputes amongst colleagues, which is often out of a project manager's hands and forces them to have to recalibrate and pivot the direction of a project.  

To tackle such challenges, it’s important that project managers: 

  • Create a clear project plan for everyone on the team to agree with and sign
  • Set a detailed timeline for the project’s major deadlines
  • Assign each team member their tasks for the duration of the project

Clarifying expectations at the start can help prevent any unnecessary disputes along the way.

2) Ownership and accountability

As a project manager’s role is to oversee all aspects of a project within an organisation, full accountability and ownership usually lies with them regarding the progress of a project as well as its outcome. Likewise, they are also held responsible when anything goes wrong with a project, such as delays and budget increases.

This isn’t to say that it’s anyone’s fault when a project goes wrong, however, it’s the responsibility of a project manager to communicate effectively to ensure that those involved are aware of any setbacks in a timely manner so that each department can plan accordingly. 

Defining and assigning clear roles for each team member to ensure shared responsibility is critical to somewhat relieve the burden of ownership and accountability where applicable so that you - and everyone else - can do their jobs efficiently. 

3) Dealing with immense pressure daily 

Being that project managers are responsible for the team’s coordination and performance throughout a project, the role of a project manager can often be extremely stressful. 

It is no news that increased stress can negatively impact your productivity, from missing deadlines to going over-budget. This is a regular phenomenon for project managers as a result of the immense pressure placed on them, due to the amount of responsibility they have.

A study published by the Kansas Journal of Medicine found that there is in fact a negative correlation between overall stress and productivity, where high stress scores were greatly associated with low productivity scores.

So, if you are looking for a stress-free career with less responsibility, project management might not be the best choice for you.   

4) Always uncertainty about a project’s final result

The career of a project manager involves much uncertainty, while an expectation of risk-taking is also prevalent.

Most often, the way a project will unfold is uncertain, with issues arising one after the other, requiring project managers to mitigate any risks. Unfortunately, the best way to learn is through trial and error.

As a project manager the best way to approach this is by trying different things, seeing what works and improving on any mistakes you have made. This further justifies the importance of developing a well thought out plan regarding the project’s objectives, milestones and results. 

5) Constant need to understand company culture

If you work as a freelance project manager, then you tend to change over projects and clients all the time. Due to that you are obligated to take on the tedious task of learning a company’s culture and policies to oversee projects effectively, by adapting the project’s objectives and methods to the standards of the company. 

Along with that, having to oversee projects with different team members means you are expected to put effort into getting to know and becoming comfortable with them. An effective way to accomplish this is by starting off each project with team bonding and ice breaker exercises to get everyone in the team comfortable with each other.

Remember, an organisation’s employees are their number one ambassadors, which means the more you know a team’s members, the more you understand about the company and its culture.


Are you interested in becoming a project manager? Enrol on a 100% online PRINCE2 course today to get started.