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What’s the real state of project management in 2023?

  • Publish Date: Posted 10 months ago

If the accelerating pace of change in project management has left you with questions about the real state of the market, the new APM Salary and Market Trends Survey has some answers. It’s highlighted four crucial trends that project professionals and employers need to know.

1. More women at the top

Top roles like project director and consultant are getting less male-dominated, with almost a third now held by women, and heads of projects/programmes are also getting closer to gender parity. In particular, the percentage of women has risen dramatically since 2021 in project director roles (17% to 28%) and senior project manager roles (24% to 31%).

However, there’s also some bad news–the gender pay gap has remained static at 24% since 2021, with female project managers earning an average of £42,500 and their male colleagues taking home an extra ten grand a year at £52,500.

2. More diversity among the young

People from ethnic minorities are better represented than ever in the project profession, comprising over a third of new recruits. Overall, the percentage of people from ethnic minorities has risen to 20%, up from 15% in 2021.

Breaking this statistic down by age highlights the speed of change. People from ethnic minorities now represent 22% of project professionals with three to five years’ experience, and 36% of those with two or less.

Even more encouragingly, this year’s survey revealed that the percentage of people from ethnic minorities who feel their ethnicity has positively impacted their professional development is equal to the percentage of white people – and only 9% say it’s had a negative impact.

3. Even more demand for flexibility

Project professionals who are looking for a new job still put pay at the top of their wishlist, with 82% saying a higher salary is important. But the percentages of those who want flexibility and home working are not far behind–66% and 62% respectively, ahead of management style and company culture.

Relatedly, the importance of location has dropped to 54%, down from 69% before the pandemic. And nearly three-quarters of respondents said flexible working and virtual teamwork had a positive impact on projects, while nearly half also thought the impact of AI and automation was positive.

4. Inflation worries

When asked what had a negative impact, 66% of project professionals felt inflation was hurting their projects. Among 55-to-64-year-olds, this percentage rose to 72%. Concern about inflation was also higher than average in the local government, construction and space sectors.

Close behind inflation on the list of concerns were:

  • Global supply chain issues (58%)

  • Rising energy prices (54%)

  • New measures to cut energy consumption at work (44%)

  • New project planning measures (37%)

  • Increased spending on energy reduction facilities (35%)

While the increased focus on sustainability is positive and much needed, the energy crisis has led to 27% of projects being cancelled or paused. This will be a key concern for the sector going forward.

However, the overall picture in project management in 2023 is a hopeful one–and since more diverse teams create more innovative solutions to problems, the progress on diversity should help the sector tackle the negatives.

Why not check out some of our Project Management vacancies here?