macdonald and company
macdonald and company

Can Project Manager Salaries Compensate for the Skills Shortage?

Posting date: 3 June 2019
Author: Christine Scott

Remuneration Packages For Project Managers

The average project manager salary at your company could be the reason your best project management employees keep leaving. It may be the reason the skills shortage is hurting you more than most. It could also be why it takes you forever to fill vacant project manager jobs.

If you suffer from any or all these issues in your recruitment and retention, it may be time to take a long, hard look at the salaries you are offering in the jobs market. Salary really can compensate for the skills shortage.

A Project Management Skills Shortage?

The skills shortage in all industries has been well-documented. In construction, several studies have shown that there is likely to be a constant and consistent need for project managers for many years.

With the amount of infrastructure construction and house building currently underway or planned, this isn’t surprising. Studies that have concluded a huge shortfall exists in project management and is growing include:

Don’t forget, too, that these forecasts were made before the government’s recent focus on accelerating new housebuilding to 300,000 per year by the mid-2020s.

How To Measure Compensation

Property developers and construction companies need project management skills, but this isn’t their core capacity. Architect companies are good at hiring architects. Builders are good at hiring bricklayers. Such companies have a good handle on competitive salaries and compensation packages for their own specialisations.

Hiring project managers is, for most companies, rather more testing. It’s much more difficult to gauge the right pay. Partly because of the specific specialisation, partly because of the demand and fluidity in the industry.

To stay competitive with your project manager salaries, you need to benchmark against the industry averages. Investing in a benchmarking report is an upfront spend that saves money in the long run.

Pay the right salary and you don’t miss out on top talent because your compensation package isn’t competitive. You will be less likely to hire poor fits, because you aren’t attracting the experience and qualifications you really need. If you are paying fair market value, you’ll be less likely to lose staff to competitors because they are paying more.

What if Your Project Manager is Out Of Your Target Salary Range?

Although salary is considered the most important factor in the decision to make a move to a new company, there are many other elements that you can use as leverage to tempt talented project managers to join you.

Benefits such as pensions and health insurance can be combined with extra holiday entitlement and other benefits to make an appealing package. To make it compelling, you should consider offering people what they want on top of pay for their profession. But what do they want?

The RICS and Macdonald & Company Rewards and Attitudes Survey 2019 asked professionals in the real estate and built environment what influenced them to consider a new role. And they spoke. People want a greater work/life balance. The survey found that important factors in this include:

  • Career progression
  • Training and development opportunities
  • Flexible working
  • Travel opportunities

What don’t people enjoy in their roles? Here are the top three reasons that make professionals dissatisfied at work:

  • Being asked to work while on annual leave
  • Having to work weekends
  • Having to work out of hours

Sarah Quinn - project manager recruiter

If you can offer a working routine that allows your project managers to enjoy their life more, and provide training and development alongside a structured career path, you probably won’t need to offer a knockout compensation package.

Should You Make Your Best Offer First?

Though your whole compensation package may be a winner, salary is still the number one consideration on a professional’s list of requirements. If you offer less than a competitive salary, you are unlikely to attract the best talent.

Similarly, if you approach salary negotiations as an opportunity to try to save a couple of thousand pounds, you may be giving the wrong impression of you as an employer. It’s always best to make your very best salary offer first time.

Sack Salary Surprises

Before you make an offer to a candidate, there shouldn’t be a need for any surprises. Your salary discussions should already have taken place, and the candidate should have a very good idea of the compensation that will be offered.

If you understand what is important to the Project Manager, you are more likely to put together a package that will appeal to them and their desire to balance their professional and personal lives. This is one of the advantages of using a specialist recruitment agency to access talented project managers. When we work with clients and candidates, we work hard to match the needs of both parties.

Timothy Stranks, project manager recruitment

If you interview the right people and make an offer that appeals to what the candidate feels is important, you shouldn’t need to negotiate salary.

As specialist recruiters in the real estate and built environment, and RICS’s preferred recruiter, Macdonald & Company brings a unique set of skills, experience and market knowledge to the table. We help our clients find the talent they need with the skills they require. 

We’ll help you source more candidates in a shorter space of time, helping you keep your business on track to achieve its goals. For a confidential conversation about the Project Manager vacancies you need filled, contact us today.

Project Manager Jobs

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