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10 Skills to Help You Start an In-Demand Project Manager Career

Man looking at a white wall with project management written on it surrounded by related icons.

The demand for highly skilled project managers is on the rise. According to the Project Management Institute (PMI), 8,500 new project management jobs will be created every year until 2027. The average salary of a project manager in Saskatchewan is $114,632 making this field a lucrative career option. PMI also reports that project managers who obtain a designation are likely to earn between 20-36% more than their non-designated counterparts.

Project managers play a crucial role in many areas like budgeting, planning and scheduling, stakeholder management, team leadership, risk management, quality assurance and more. To excel in this dynamic field, it's essential to cultivate a diverse set of skills.

Here are the top 10 skills you need to help you land a project manager job.

1. Leadership

Project manager leading a team meeting

Project managers need to inspire and guide their teams to success. Strong leadership involves effective communication, the ability to motivate team members and a clear vision for the project. A great project manager can unite a diverse group of individuals towards a common goal.

2. Communication and Stakeholder Management

Project manager meeting with stakeholders on project site

PMI continues to report that the number one reason project failure is experienced is due to communication issues and challenges. Clear and concise communication is the backbone of successful project management. Project managers must convey ideas, expectations and updates effectively to both team members and stakeholders. This includes active listening, written communication and the ability to tailor messages to different audiences.

3. Schedule Management

Person working on a project management scheduling software on a laptop

Time is money, and effective project managers know how to optimize it. They must create realistic timelines, set priorities and allocate resources efficiently. This skill involves not only planning but also the ability to adapt when unexpected challenges arise.

4. Quality, Risk and Uncertainty Management

Person on laptop with a risk management plan cover page on laptop screen

Every project comes with its set of risks. Top project managers are adept at identifying potential risks, analyzing their impact and developing strategies to mitigate them. Being proactive in risk management helps prevent minor issues from becoming major roadblocks and supports delivering a quality project.

5. Adaptability

Line of small cubes with arrows printed on this. The ends are straight white cubes and the middle cubes are yellow and in a wavy pattern.

Flexibility is key in a rapidly changing work environment. Successful project managers can adapt to unforeseen circumstances, pivot when necessary and find creative solutions to problems. A resilient and agile mindset is crucial for navigating the complexities of project management.

6. Team Building

Team raising hands together in a circle

Building and maintaining a cohesive team is a vital skill for project managers. This involves understanding team dynamics, recognizing individual strengths and fostering a positive working environment. A motivated and collaborative team is more likely to overcome challenges and deliver successful outcomes.

7. Negotiation, Consensus Building and Problem Solving

Woman facilitating negotiations with 3 people

Project managers often find themselves negotiating with team members, stakeholders and vendors.  While consensus is ideal, often creative problem solving is required to arrive at agreement. Whether it's resource allocation, deadlines or budget constraints, effective negotiation skills are essential for achieving mutually beneficial agreements and maintaining positive relationships.

8. Value Management - Budgeting and Procurement

Two people at a desk looking at project budget and data details

Project managers must have a solid understanding of budgeting principles including procurement and financial management. This includes creating accurate project budgets, tracking expenses and ensuring that financial resources are utilized efficiently. Financial acumen is critical for meeting project goals within budget constraints.

9. Technical Proficiency

Progress bar concept about loading new skills.

Depending on the nature of the project, project managers may need to be technically proficient in specific tools or methodologies. Staying updated on industry trends and advancements is crucial for making informed decisions and effectively managing project workflows.

10. Emotional Intelligence

stack of balls with emoji faces ranging from angry to happy faces.

Understanding and managing one's emotions and those of others is a key aspect of emotional intelligence. Project managers with high emotional intelligence can navigate interpersonal relationships, handle conflicts diplomatically and create a positive work environment.

Becoming a top project manager requires a combination of leadership, communication and technical skills. By continuously honing these abilities, staying adaptable and embracing a lifelong learning mindset, you can navigate the complexities of project management and achieve lasting success in this career field.

Are you interested in pursuing a project management career? Our Project Management Certificate program will equip you with the expertise you need. Our certificate also gives you the educational requirement needed to pursue the Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM®) designation and the Project Management Professional (PMP®) designation.


Learn About More of Our Programs


Professional Development Has Never Been More Affordable

Take advantage of these funding options: Canada-Saskatchewan Job Grant for up to $10,000 for employee training. Re-Skill Saskatchewan Training Subsidy for 100% training cost coverage. URAA Alumni Professional Development Award valued at up to $500. Canada Training Credit for $250 per year (unused years carry forward).


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