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 What are your Job Prospects with MSP? | PM Tools - PM Tools

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What are your Job Prospects with MSP?

I have never yet encountered a student of Managing Successful Programmes who was on the course for fun. Everybody who trains in MSP wants a programme management career, and pretty much everybody who takes the MSP examinations is determined enough to get there.

Working in Programme Management

Programme Management is an electric business. Programme Managers are responsible for implementing the strategies and visions developed at the very top end of the scale. Organisational, social and political change cannot happen without excellent Programme Managers. Individual projects would freewheel – or just never get started – without the guiding framework of the organised programme. Quite simply, Programme Managers are essential to the smooth running of Getting Things Done within an organisation.

The Rewards of Programme Management

Programme Managers are compensated according to their expertise, their qualifications and the irreplaceable function that they provide. The average basic salary of a Programme Manager is £60 – £100k per annum, at least £30k more than that of the average Project Manager.

Programme Management Qualification

How necessary is the MSP qualification to securing a Programme Management position? In all areas of education there is a recognisable trend for qualifications to become standardised and therefore less useful to prospective employers as a recruitment benchmark. One result of the credit crunch has been the tightening-up of the job market, and the enforcement of more stringent job requirements for project and programme staff. Top recruitment agencies, such as Joslin Rowe, have observed an increase in the number of positions demanding the PRINCE2 Project Management qualification. While this means that the more basic PRINCE2 qualification is now almost necessary to secure a project management position, the MSP certificate is coming into its own as a way of making a CV stand out in the pile.

Just for Programme Managers?

It might seem a paradox, but the MSP qualification is not only for Programme Managers. The MSP awarding-body (the APMG-UK) also specifies Business Change Managers and Programme Office Managers as people who would benefit from MSP training. Furthermore, a brief survey of advertised jobs requiring MSP certification includes not only Programme Managers, but also: Project Managers, Project Co-ordinators, Project Assurance Managers, Project Planners, Management Consultants, Implementations Managers and Project and Programme Directors.


No qualification can guarantee employment. However, the absence of a qualification may well guarantee unemployment. For experience project, and even programme managers, MSP may well be the way to beat the job-cuts and kick-start a management career.

Simon Buehring is a project manager, consultant and trainer. He works for KnowledgeTrain which offers training in managing successful programmes and MSP courses in the UK and overseas. He can be contacted via the programme management training website.
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