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Communication & project leadership skills are most desirable for project management, survey finds

In addition to uncovering salary trends across countries, the study also aims to examine the factors impacting salary improvement, employment outlook, and critical competencies hiring managers look for when recruiting project management professionals.

Key Takeaways:

• Countries with the highest and lowest mean monthly salary recorded: Across all industries, roles, and experience levels, Australia emerged as the country with the highest mean monthly salary registered within the project management profession (USD11,350), followed by New Zealand (USD9,161), Hong Kong (USD7,500), Singapore (USD7,033), Malaysia (USD4,316), China (USD3,663), India (USD3,453) and Indonesia (USD3,428).

• Only 9 per cent of respondents were specialised in Agile project management: Project management professionals across Asia Pacific have the most experience in programme management (24 per cent), traditional or Waterfall project management (20 per cent), and project portfolio management (19 per cent), regardless of the industries they are in. While only 9 per cent of survey respondents were specialised in Agile, organisations in regulated industries, such as the financial services sector, are increasingly turning to Agile to align business needs with IT and meet regulatory compliance.

• Most respondents did not expect a further salary improvement in 2014: Aside from annual increment and bonus payouts, 62 per cent of respondents did not expect a further salary improvement this year. Given the current competitive business environment, the finding indicates that organisations may be looking at investing in training programmes for skillset development and upgrading rather than salary revisions in the near term.

• Better economic outlook and increased job responsibilities attributed as top factors in improving current salary: 44 per cent of survey respondents attributed a better economic outlook as a factor in improving their current salary, while 31 per cent attributed it to increased job responsibilities, which will require acquisition of new skills, professional experience and credentials.

• Project leadership, and communication and general management skills, rated by respondents across most industries as the top two competencies for career advancement: Across most industries, project leadership, and communication and management skills, are the top two critical competencies singled out by respondents for career advancement. Technical or hard skills were ranked as of lower importance to their careers by respondents across most industries.

• Agile project management (Scrum) and stakeholder management regarded as critical competencies by respondents from financial services sector for career advancement: Respondents from the financial services sector considered Agile and stakeholder management as the top two core proficiencies vital for career progression.

• Fairly bullish hiring outlook across Asia Pacific for the first half of 2014: Hiring managers who are looking to add new headcount to the project management team are likely to do so within the next 3 or 6 months.

• Communication and project leadership skills are the most critical and sought after competencies in project management: Hiring managers across Asia Pacific regard communication and project leadership skills as the most critical competencies when recruiting project management professionals. These are also the same critical competencies that survey respondents across most industries think will help fast-track their careers.

“Business soft skills are just as critical for career success even for a hard skills-centric profession like project management. Continuous learning and competency upgrading is therefore instrumental in aligning both technical and business skillsets with industry requirements and advancing the project manager’s career path,” said Raed S. Haddad, Managing Director for Asia Pacific, ESI International. “Organisations are advised to adopt a more strategic view on training and development, given the significant cost and time advantage of developing talent internally versus hiring from the outside, in order to address staffing challenges associated with the shortages of experienced project managers today.”

ESI International is a global project-focused training company helping people around the world improve the way they manage projects, contracts, requirements and vendors through innovative training in project management, business analysis and contract management. 


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