What are you worth?

Apparently the average salary for a programme manager is £70,196, down from £72,510 this time last year, according to G2, an IT specific recruitment agency.

The range of programme manager salaries is actually much narrower than I was expecting, with the average minimum being £65,513 (last year – £66,711) and maximum being £74,990  (last year – £78,310). There’s a premium attached to working in the south east, with London salaries coming in at a massive £80,006 (£86,875 is the top salary out at that way). London is the area that has the highest demand for programme managers, closely followed by the rest of the south east with an average salary of £72,273.

Programme Managers in Sheffield are the worst off, seeing salaries of only £40k, even though that area has higher demand than Canary Wharf and the whole of Scotland and Wales!

Even though salaries are falling, project and programme managers aren’t badly off in the salary stakes – provided you still have a job. Unemployment in the UK has now risen to over 2 million for the first time since 1997, according to the Office for National Statistics and Wellingtone – a good source of recruitment analysis – thinks that this upward trend shows no sign of peaking just yet.

As Wellington point out the recession is not characterised by a north/south divide or secondary industry/service sector divide (although I thought financial services had been hit particularly hard?). They are seeing that the only variance is between public and private sectors, with the private sector currently bearing the brunt of redundancies.

In December Wellingtone last produced a white paper on the state of project management recruitment, and they were pretty optimistic. However, in the space of a few months a lot of that optimism has faded.

“Initial resilience appears to now be worn away with the wider lack of business confidence now directly impacting new projects and investments….Away from [strategic business change projects aligned with cost reduction] organisations may find themselves with fewer projects (both internal and client driven) but with a pool of Project Managers.

However, the article goes on to argue that making project managers redundant is not a cost effective use of our skills (thanks!!). While you’d expect that attitude from a recruitment firm they do have a point. Changing businesses, even if that means closing offices, making things smaller, focusing on strategic, revenue generating stuff, is all things that we are supposed to be good at. And if we do all that and do it well, we are valuable assets to struggling organisations, even if you do have to pay handsomely for all that skill.

Craig Brown also commented recently that as a profession, we do good things. Apparently, we work in “an industry populated by a large number of high quality people.” Thanks, Craig!