Project Management

Project Management

Industry Outlook

The coronavirus pandemic impacted all sectors of the project management industry in 2020. Business lockdowns and social distancing requirements disrupted the industry early in the pandemic. Many project management companies transitioned their employees to remote work, with meetings and sometimes property tours conducted virtually. The rollout of the vaccine in 2021 is expected to bolster the economy and demand for project management services will increase as businesses reopen and corporate profit improves.

Project management is a growing field and is expected to continue growing in the future. The Department of Labor predicts 7 percent employment for all management professions through 2028, which is faster than the average. Nearly 707,000 new management jobs are expected to be added by 2028. More organizations are using skilled project managements to increase efficiencies and project success rates. According to a talent gap report by the Project Management Institute, by 2027, nearly 88 million individuals will be needed for project management roles globally across multiple industries and the profession will grow by about 11 percent in that time frame. More employment opportunities are predicted for project management professionals in the project-intensive sectors of management and professional services, manufacturing, finance and insurance, information services and publishing, construction, utilities, and oil and gas.

The major industries in which project management professionals work are construction, engineering, architecture, information technology, manufacturing, and real estate development. Employment in the professional, scientific, and technical consulting field will vary by industry sector. The market research group IBISWorld forecasts that the U.S. engineering services industry, which includes project management services, will experience steady growth through 2025, after a 4 percent decline in 2020 due to the pandemic. The types of activities that project management professionals are involved in for engineering companies are the following: design and management services for construction and engineering infrastructure projects, environmental projects, and industrial processes and equipment. The work also may involve construction management services, process management (assessing product and engineering problems), project planning, and economic assessments, among other services. As of late 2020, the U.S. engineering services industry was valued at $204 billion business that employs more than 1 million workers.

As of early 2021, the U.S. architects industry is a $38.8 billion business, with 68,224 businesses and 202,172 employees. It experienced about 4 percent annual growth from 2014 to 2019, but was projected to have a 20.3 percent decline in revenue in 2020 due to a drop in construction activity during the pandemic. The outlook is brighter for 2021 onward, due to the rollout of the vaccine and resumption of construction activity. The architects industry is expected to have accelerated growth through 2025. As the construction industry gains strength, the architects industry is expected to improve as well. The growth in demand for environmentally friendly designs is also increasing the need for architecture firms and managers to oversee architectural projects.

The information technology (IT) industry experienced a 4 percent decline in revenue in 2020 due to reduced private investment in computers and software during the pandemic. Post pandemic, the IT consulting industry is expected to resume growing, with relatively consistent growth predicted through 2025. The IT consulting industry generates $460 billion in revenue; it has 462,418 businesses and more than 2.2 million employees. Demand for consultants will grow due to increasing mergers and acquisitions in major markets, such as financial services and insurance providers; consolidated companies will need help with the various systems integration. The Department of Labor predicts 11 percent employment growth through 2028 for computer and information systems managers, including IT project managers. This growth is attributed to the rise in the cybersecurity that businesses are now using in their computer and information systems. The health care industry is also expected to offer many job opportunities to IT consultants and project managers, as more health care agencies are implementing information technology. Many companies are outsourcing their services from on-site IT departments to cloud-computing companies, which will mean more job opportunities in companies focuses on computer systems design and related services, rather than in IT departments of non-computer companies.

The real estate industry will continue to provide decent employment opportunities for project management professionals. The commercial real estate industry is an $889 billion business in the United States, as reported by IBISWorld. There are more than 2 million businesses and more than 3.2 million employees. The industry experienced a 1.5 percent decline in annual growth from 2015 through 2020, due to the pandemic. Growth in office vacancies and falling demand for existing buildings coupled with a drop in corporate profit contributed to this decline. Post pandemic, the real estate industry is expected to rebound, although this may be limited by growth in remote work. Overall, average growth is expected for the U.S. commercial real estate industry through 2025. Project managers will be in demand for real estate development projects. This type of work might involve such tasks as site research, reviewing consultant proposals, coordinating and managing team members, and working closely with other project managers, real estate development directors, departments, and funding agencies. Projects might be small scale, such as remodeling a home, or large scale, such as constructing housing developments.

The Department of Labor does not provide data that specifically pertains to project management in real estate development, but it does project the outlook for the construction management field, which is closely tied to real estate. The DOL predicts faster than average employment growth for construction managers through 2028. Job opportunities will arise from the overall population growth and the need for new residences, schools, hospitals, and other structures to be constructed. The national infrastructure will also need portions to be improved. Construction projects to upgrade or replace bridges, roads, and sewer pipe systems will offer jobs for construction managers and project managers. The DOL also notes that as construction processes and building technology are becoming increasingly complex, there will be greater demand for specialized management personnel to oversee and manage the projects.