The U.K. economy has been speeding up since
2012—and looks to keep up the pace in 2015,
according to PwC. Last year, not only did the
U.K. unemployment rate hit its lowest level in
six years, but the rate of employment equaled
the record set in 2005.
That’s good news for project practitioners
in the United Kingdom, which is seeing a
demand for almost 1 million project managers
The tech industry has been a particular beneficiary of the economic upswing, KPMG reports.
More than two-fifths of all U.K. tech companies plan to hire by mid-2015.
Project managers will need to handle the changes typical of the tech industry.
“Change management skills are being asked for more and more,” says Paul Yeomans, managing director, Manifestly Important, York, England. “Project managers who are strong in this area will be well placed to advance.” The construction
sector also will see an expanding need for project managers, he adds.
“The outlook is positive, with the jobs picture for project managers continuing
to improve in line with the economic recovery,” Mr. Yeomans says.
However, that also comes with an uptick in job competition, which Mr. Yeomans sees as the main challenge for job seekers. “It is becoming increasingly
important for individuals to differentiate themselves with extra knowledge, skills
and qualifications,” he says.
I joined the R&D project
management team of Lucent
Technologies in the Neth-
erlands in 1996, working on software
development projects. My first project was
an on-time delivery.
Around 2000, Lucent was having trouble.
They had about 250 project managers, but
there were layoffs. By 2007, only about 30
were left—I was one of them.
I was doing sales projects, which were
profitable, but our sales were going down.
Still, I felt if I got fired I could find another
job because I was confident in my capabilities—and the PMP® credential gave me
Because of the economy, people thought,
‘I should stay where I have a job.’ But I
thought, ‘I can wait until someone else
changes my environment, or I can change my
own environment.’ That is what I did at the
end of 2007 when I left Lucent.
I wanted to do something different, and
Telstra, the telecom operator in Australia,
asked me to join them as a project director
overseeing a major transition of their network.
I signed the contract, and planned to move
my wife and three children to Australia. But
in January 2008, the Australian regulator
decided not to allow Telstra to continue its
project, so we changed our plans again.
Fortunately, Canon Europe asked me to join
their IT group to run several major infrastruc-
ture projects. I stayed in the Netherlands and
joined Canon in February 2008. In my current
role, I oversee a lot of interesting, difficult
projects, like the integration of multinational
printing company Océ with Canon. In your
career, you have to take
PMP, ICT portfolio
manager, Canon Europa
NV, Amstelveen, the
CAR E E R I N A C T I O N AT A GLANCE conomic Outlook: 2015 GDP Growth Forecast:
2.7% Median Project Practitioner Salary:
Sectors to Watch: IT,
A man waits for a train
in London, England.