Careers in Project Management – future PM

By, Ioan Gaitan, Non-Commissioned Officer in Charge of Civil Engineering Operations and Student in MPM Degree Program 

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Tech. Sgt. Ioan Gaitan, inspects aggregate brought on site for an airfield project at Suwon Air Base, Republic of Korea

Although the project management practitioners continue to be in high demand, the opportunities offered will vary by sector and location. Based on my research, I estimate that the energy industry will see the greatest need for project managers in the near and far future. Worldwide energy consumption is estimated to grow by 53 percent from 2008 to 2035, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s International Energy Outlook 2011. The increasing demand for energy, combined with the high risk associated with these projects, translates into a significant need for experienced project managers (Hot sectors for project managers, 2010).

Although many nations are actively exploring renewable energy sources, traditional energy is still a hot sector for project managers. Some of the largest energy projects in the world are currently driven by the new oil-field discoveries and advances in fossil-fuel extraction technology. Let’s discuss about some countries that are experiencing this growth and have difficulty finding experienced PMs.

In Brazil, for example, the untapped oil fields off the coast of Rio de Janeiro could turn this country into one of the world’s leading oil producers. Moreover, the country’s 10-year energy plan intends to attract $133 billion in investments and triple its renewable energy by 2020. In order to get there, the nation will have to overcome a shortage of qualified project practitioners. According to PMI, more than 1.3 million new project management roles are expected to be needed by 2020.Despite this high demand, more than two-thirds of employers in Brazil report that they can’t find enough workers with the right skills.

In Norway, oil production has steadily declined over the last 10 years. Despite this fact, experts predict the fields still have 30 to 40 years of production left. The deep-sea oil drilling in the North Sea region is expected to need 100,000 new workers with college degrees in finance and administration by 2030. According to an industry survey released by Oilandgaspeople.com, the world’s largest oil and gas jobs board, found that 65 percent of North Sea oil and gas companies cannot recruit enough project engineers to meet the current and future demand. Because many workers will be retiring soon, the sector’s need for skilled project managers may reach “near-crisis levels.”

Australia has three operating liquefied natural gas projects and seven more under construction. This represents an investment of more than AU$200 billion. Here, a corresponding labor shortage translates to higher salaries for project managers. According to PMI, more than 375,000 new project management jobs are forecasted to be needed by 2020 (Sykes, 2014).

The developing countries will need project managers as well.  Here, project management is still new for many energy organizations. Mr. Olaoluwa Ibilola, business development manager at Korea National Oil Corp stated, “The regions that have giant oil fields and facilities could be tagged as hot, including Libya, Kuwait, [and] Syria.” In this case, the demand for project managers will depend on the amount of discovery and development in these regions. For example, a significant gas discovery in a certain region will drive more jobs for project managers.

global-map

According to a U.S. Energy Information Administration report, renewable energy is estimated to produce almost one-third of the world’s electric power by the end of 2035. A survey of industry leaders conducted by Cooley LLP in 2012 stated that the U.S. investors, executives and entrepreneurs predicted that the renewable energy sector would play at least a moderate (57 percent) or significant (25 percent) role in U.S. job creation over the next five years. Additionally, the Solar Foundation’sNational Solar Jobs Census 2011 stated that “the solar energy industry has bright days ahead, with a 24 percent market growth and 24,000 new jobs predicted for next year” (Bowles-Jackson, 2012). I estimate that these impressive numbers will only continue to grow in the near and long term.

In the last portion of this assignment I will answer the question Why are skilled PMs in such a high demand in the energy sector? Today, skilled project managers are very difficult to recruit and retain in this sector because the large projects in the oil and gas industry become increasingly complex and technologically demanding. According to Nava & Rivolta (2013), “Schedules and budgets are tight, safety is crucial and every project faces a network of stakeholders concerned about its impact on the environment and communities.”

In conclusion, I would predict that the need for experienced PMs will only become more acute as a generation of experienced engineers will soon retire in many countries. Under this circumstance, companies cannot afford to bring second-rate talent into their organizations because projects will only get more complex and their scope will grow (Nava & Rivolta 2013).

References:

(2010). Hot sectors for project managers. Retrieved from http://www.pmi.org/learning/professional-development/career-central/hot-sectors-for-project-managers.aspx

Bowles-Jackson, M. (2012), Sectors to watch. Here’s where the jobs are – and the skills you need to get them. Retrieved fromhttps://www.pmi.org/~/media/PDF/Professional-Development/PMN0112%20Sectors.ashx

Nava, R. & Rivolta, T. (2013). Large project management in oil and gas. Retrieved fromhttp://www.bain.com/publications/articles/large-project-management-in-oil-and-gas.aspx

Sykes, K. (2014). Global jobs report: hottest industries, highest salaries. Retrieved from https://www.pmi.org/learning/PM-Network/2014/global-jobs-report.aspx

Thought Leadership in Project Management: with Dr. Rick Johnson, Consultant in Construction Management

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Dr. Rick Johnson

Dr. Johnson specializes in the architecture, engineering, and construction professions. He has established a high level professional expertise in management science and project management on a global scale. As an inducted presidential member of the National Society of Leadership and Success (NSLS); he has also evolved his leadership skills to a recognized national level through the Sigma Alpha Pi chapter of Lawrence Technological University. As a subject-matter management expert and practitioner-scholar in the building industry, Dr. Johnson provides certified construction contract administration and other management consulting professional services to clients.

Tell me a little about your background in project management as it relates to the construction industry?

I have been working in the building industry for more than 20 years. Primarily, this has been as an architectural practitioner with project management responsibilities. Architectural practice inherently involves managing projects and I have been a PM on various types from single-family residential to high-rise commercial buildings. Many times I split the role of architect and project manager but this generally depends on the scale of the project. For many years I specialized in religious, retail, and healthcare facilities and each type required management of budgets, schedule, and other resources, which are all prime areas of traditional project management.

How is the construction industry using project management differently from other sectors?

The building industry is one of the primary industries in the world that uses project management in dominant ways. In fact, the PMI has developed a construction extension that is specifically focused on project management practices for this industry. It is similar to the PMBOK but has concentrated areas due to higher levels of risk, cost, and time constraints associated with building projects (Project Management Institute, 2007). Construction projects are unique—just like project management is based on unique projects. No two projects are the same so the path to completion of a construction project requires proper individualized planning in order for it to be managed successfully. Therefore, a prime difference is the integrated impact that the big three project constraints have on the client’s ability to continue or terminate a project before it is totally realized.

What type of innovation and creativity is coming out of your industry that project managers should be aware of?

The biggest innovative or creative project management development is the intricate interface between technological advances and the different ways that stakeholders stay involved with a project from beginning to end. PMs should be aware of the faster pace that projects are expected to proceed under while also understanding that clients expect more for less. This means that a contemporary PM should be very flexible, but also firm when it comes to following a well-developed project management plan.

There has been a lot of chatter on LEED Projects in the last few years. What are your thoughts on this?

LEED stands for “Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design”. As a LEED Accredited Professional (LEED AP), I have learned that energy and environmental concerns are more prevalent than may be immediately noticed by the general public. Within the design and construction industry, practitioners are expected to design and build with a minimal degree of thought given to the impact of inappropriate materials. However, LEED requires the practitioner to pay a much higher degree of attention to negative matters of energy and the environment that can be avoided all together. A lot of the discussion taking place today seems to be centered on the cost involved with developing a LEED project. Some owners do not understand the higher up-front cost compared to the perceived benefits they may have down the line. LEED has to be sold to those who do not understand these benefits and this can make the case for LEED more complex if a monetary decision is the presiding factor for acceptance. On the other hand, owners who already understand the benefits and the role they play in reducing their carbon footprint initiate these types of projects with minimal resistance. They need very little convincing in terms of cost and benefits associated with those costs.

LEED-certification-levels

Are there unquiet skills, certifications and certain type of knowledge that students should be seeking in their education to get a career in your industry?

Students in current day construction education programs should be seeking to learn what the true expectations of industry are. For example, many design programs must teach students how to design building projects using traditional drafting methods, but students must also be aware of the limitation of its use in daily practice. Technological skills are highly expected in practice and professional certifications such as those provided by the Construction Specifications Institute (CSI) would be fabulous for these types of professionals. For instance, the CSI’s Certified Construction Contract Administrator (CCCA) is one of the top professional certifications that a practitioner could have in this area (Construction Specifications Institute, 2011). This is comparable to having the Project Management Professional (PMP) credential as a project manager but specifically in the construction industry.

What are some emerging trends in construction project management that is changing the field?

One particular change in the field is something that is called “Integrated Project Delivery” (IPD). As defined by the American Institute of Architects (2007) “Integrated Project Delivery (IPD) is a project delivery approach that integrates people, systems, business structures and practices into a process that collaboratively harnesses the talents and insights of all participants to reduce waste and optimize efficiency through all phases of design, fabrication and construction.” (p.1). Based on this definition, a gap is present that implies a need for a meta-management system that is capable of adequately measuring and organizing the program and overall scope of an integrated project. This can be complex depending on the scale of the total undertaking.

How can my readers contact you or search for more information?  

Email: davale1@sbcglobal.net | LinkedIn: Dr. R. D. Johnson |Twitter: @RJDoctorate