Project managers manage the planning, resourcing, scheduling and administration of projects to deliver them on time and within budget.
Project managers usually earn
$90K-$140K per year
IT project managers can earn
$100K-$170K per year
Source: Hays, Recruit I.T. and Trade Me, 2022/23.
Pay for project managers varies depending on the industry, size and type of project, and the region they work in.
- Project managers usually earn $90,000 to $140,000 a year.
Project managers in IT (information technology)
- IT project managers usually earn $100,000 to $150,000 a year.
- Senior IT project managers can earn $120,000 to $170,00 a year.
Sources: Hays, ‘Salary Guide, FY 22/23’; Recruit I.T., ‘Technology & Digital Salary Update, Auckland, December 2022’; Recruit I.T., ‘Technology & Digital Salary Update, Wellington, December 2022’; and Trade Me ‘Salary Guide six months to April 2022’.
(This information is a guide only. Find out more about the sources of our pay information)
What you will do
Project managers may do some or all of the following:
- lead project planning and review sessions
- estimate project costs and manage the budget
- produce and update all project documentation
- manage communication and relationships with clients, stakeholders and suppliers
- oversee the procurement, supply and allocation of project resources
- manage the project delivery timeline
- manage the project team and hire staff to work on projects.
Skills and knowledge
- knowledge of project management methodology
- skill in developing and implementing new business processes
- an understanding of the strategic direction, structure and issues affecting the organisation they work for
- the ability to identify and reduce risks and issues that could affect the project and provide solutions
- an understanding of business processes and requirements.
- usually work regular business hours, but may have to work evenings and weekends to meet project deadlines
- usually work in offices, and sometimes on-site depending on their industry
- may travel nationally to client or stakeholder worksites.
What's the job really like?
Project manager video
James Braddock talks about life as a project manager – 2.21 mins
I take a project from nothing to completed,
much like the one behind me. We take people's life savings and their dreams,
and we make it a reality. We tend to work in the higher end of the residential
market, not just new builds. We do a lot of renovations as well.
I'm basically the eyes and ears,
so everything typically goes through the foreman, then through myself.
So they'll go, "Hey, what do we, what do we think we're going to do here?" Or,
"What does the client want to do here?"
and if I don't already have the answer I have to go back to the client and,
and figure out how they would like us to proceed.
My job changes day-to-day and changes minute by minute on what I need to
do. And basically,
my job is to make sure that we function. Sometimes I'll be on the tools.
So if it needs it I'll chuck the tool belt on and give the guys a hand to give
them a push. . Day-to-day life is pretty hectic.
Usually starts before 6:00 AM with emails and,
and scheduling stuff out for the day, and then often doesn't,
doesn't end until, you know, 7:00 PM.
I usually get to a site around 7:00 AM and then we'll sort of go through a plan
of attack for the day or the week, answer any of the questions.
There's always a list of things when I come to site.
We're just trying to figure out how best we're going to finish the decking into the
pool. But for this one here, we're going to try and run the decking over and in.
So we're just figuring out exactly how we're going to finish it there whilst
keeping it watertight to get the best finish. So after high school,
I went into the construction industry.
I started off as a builder's laborer for around 6 or 7 months.
After that I took up an apprenticeship, which took me around 4 years.
Post that I started my own business, became a Licensed Building Practitioner,
or an LBP, as we call it.
But along the way you pick up all different little bits of qualifications,
whether it be a ropes and harnesses course.
You are just trying to make sure that you are always bettering yourself with the
latest and greatest information. Like in any job, you start off, lower down,
and then you work your way up. The more experience you have,
the more confident you feel about the work that you can do and deliver:
more money comes with that.
[This is] probably one of the higher paid jobs in construction. I started as a
project manager, came running my own business.
So I kind of had to become a project manager when I was running my
own projects. So you learn very quickly. Favorite thing about my job,
being able to build something that is going to stand the test of time and be
something that people enjoy coming home to on a day to day basis for a long
There are no specific entry requirements to become a project manager. However, most employers prefer you to have a tertiary qualification in your specialised area such as engineering, construction or information and communication technology (ICT).
A diploma or degree in project management is also useful. Most employers prefer courses approved by the Project Management Institute (New Zealand chapter).
A tertiary entrance qualification is required to enter tertiary study. Useful subjects include English, maths, business studies, processing technologies and construction and mechanical technologies.
Project managers need to be:
- highly organised, with strong time management and planning skills
- analytical and observant, with an eye for detail
- able to lead and motivate others
- good at communicating and negotiating
- able to relate to a wide range of people
- able to work well under pressure.
Useful experience for project managers includes:
- work in a project team
- work in an specialist area such as engineering, construction or ICT
- business and team management experience.
Find out more about training
- Project Management Institute New Zealand
- (04) 970 2005 - PMINZ@pmi.org.nz - www.pmi.org.nz
What are the chances of getting a job?
High demand for construction and ICT project managers
Chances of getting a job as a construction project manager are good. They are in demand to manage:
- infrastructure projects that are in progress or planned for the next five years
- large-scale housing projects to address the housing shortage.
Demand for information and communication technologies (ICT) project managers is also high due to more organisations making ICT improvements and implementing new software systems.
However, there are not enough project managers to meet demand. As a result, the roles of construction project manager and ICT project manager both appear on Immigration New Zealand's long-term skill shortage list. Construction project manager also appears on Immigration New Zealand's construction and infrastructure skill shortage list. This means the Government is actively encouraging skilled project managers from overseas to work in New Zealand.
Steady demand for project managers from public and private sectors
Demand for project managers in areas outside ICT and construction is steady. Public and private organisations consistently need staff to ensure projects are completed on time.
According to the Census, 19,131 project managers worked in New Zealand in 2018.
Types of employers varied
Most project managers work as permanent employees or self-employed contractors in:
- engineering, construction and property
- project management firms.
- Immigration New Zealand, 'Construction and Infrastructure Skill Shortage List', 27 May 2019, (www.immigration.govt.nz).
- Immigration New Zealand, 'Long-term Skill Shortage List', 27 May 2019, (www.immigration.govt.nz).
- Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, 'Medium to Long-term Employment Outlook: Looking Ahead to 2026', accessed April 2021, (www.mbie.govt.nz).
- New Zealand Herald, 'Project Auckland: Construction Bosses Upbeat About the State of the Industry,' 11 March 2021, (www.nzherald.co.nz).
- New Zealand Now, 'Construction Jobs', accessed April 2021, (www.newzealandnow.govt.nz).
- Project Management Institute New Zealand website, accessed April 2021, (www.pmi.org.nz).
- Radio New Zealand, 'Construction Sector Positive, Despite COVID-19', 23 February 2021, (www.rnz.co.nz).
- Stats NZ, '2018 Census Data', 2019.
(This information is a guide only. Find out more about the sources of our job opportunities information)
Progression and specialisations
Project managers usually progress from smaller projects to work on bigger or more complex projects, with bigger budgets and more responsibility. Project managers working for large organisations may progress to senior project management roles.
Experienced project managers may also choose to work as self-employed contractors.
Project managers can specialise in:
- information and communication technology (ICT)
Last updated 25 September 2023