In the pit of the recent recession, job loss support groups teemed with project managers. Now, some of the same companies that cut those jobs are hiring again.
By DIANE STAFFORD
The Kansas City Star
The turnaround is good news for workers who have both industry specific and cross-disciplinary skills. Theyre needed, in essence, to help the trains run on time.
At the University of Kansas, Herb Tuttle, assistant dean of engineering for the KU Edwards Campus in Overland Park, saw a growing job market demand for project managers in his field. He led a push to begin offering evening classes leading to masters of engineering degrees in project management and masters of science in project management.
The specificity of the degrees shows the increasingly complex world of project management. Project manager skills need to be both wide and deep, and depth is particularly needed in science, technology, engineering and medicine.
You have to know the technical stuff but also be able to communicate it in a cross-disciplinary way, Tuttle said. We believe you have to know it before you can manage it.
Advanced education may help, but that doesnt mean every former project manager needs a masters degree to get back in the fold.
Im seeing openings in health care, IT, construction across the board, really, said Nancy Petersen, president of the 1,300-member Kansas City Mid-America Chapter of the Project Management Institute.
Petersen said shes even seeing recent college graduates get hired for project management positions, provided they have the right business and communication skills.
Many of todays hot jobs and the projections for the next 10 years give an edge to workers who can pull it all together to bring innovations to market. Thats what a good project manager does, and thats why its a brighter job field.