Great project management careers for postgrads

Project management is an enormously broad discipline. That said, postgrads are well-suited to several specialisations in particular.
James Davis
James Davis
Team PostgradAustralia
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Project management is needed everywhere. These professionals manage budgets and people, adhere to project specifications, acquire resources and secure competitive advantage, making them an invaluable resource. A postgraduate education is a fantastic way of acquiring all these skills and the discipline required to use them effectively. Graduates have a world of opportunities available to them, but several of those to follow are particularly enticing.

Contract negotiation manager

What do they do?

Contract negotiation managers ensure clients in a contract negotiation receive fair treatment and ensure business arrangements are productive. They manage different sorts of agreements, such as audits, purchases or labour arrangements.

Professionals in this field are expected to be decisive thinkers. They must possess exceptional interpersonal skills to excel, with an eye for minute details. The most advantageous quality is the ability to be calm under pressure. Tempers can flare in negotiations; level heads prevail.

Why are project management postgrads well-suited?

Students gain a variety of pertinent skills in topics like project leadership, human resource management and business leadership throughout courses offered by the University of Southern Queensland and others. These are of great help in complex, heated negotiations. Managing contracts is a lengthy process that may take months of work to yield results. This sort of long-term project is thereby ideal for project management graduates.

Who employs them?

There are a variety of consulting firms specialising in contract negotiation like ENC Consulting or SourceOne, but the most prominent employers are general consulting firms. Companies like Forrester or Feit Consulting deal with this sort of thing all the time.

What are they paid?

Contract negotiation managers are paid roughly $100,338 (AUD) per annum on average according to Payscale. Highly experienced professionals in this field earn $154,687 (AUD) per annum on average.

Operations manager

What do they do?

These professionals are responsible for making everyday business practices more efficient. This can mean anything from identifying where workers are having trouble executing a process to finding a major inefficiency in how deliveries are made.

It’s a job that has a great deal of initiative and creative thinking attached to it, with similar qualities to a contract negotiation manager being required. Exceptional attention to detail is the crux of the position, as finding ways to innovate upon sub-optimal operations is key to success.

Why are project management postgrads well-suited?

Project management is filled with the practice of overcoming operational hurdles, as any given project is bound to have inefficiencies that develop. The diverse skill set acquired throughout postgraduate study prepares graduates through proper understanding of data visualisation, finance and crisis management. Knowing how to communicate during a disaster is also advantageous, as every business has periods of uncertainty and stress.

Who employs them?

Many businesses across fields require operations managers to run successfully, be they import or export based, retailers, wholesalers, financial or managerial services.

What are they paid?

Operations managers are paid $82,263 (AUD) per annum on average according to Payscale. This can go all the way up to roughly $137,452.

Logistics officer

What do they do?

Logistics officers make sure all portions of an operation are running smoothly. This can mean making sure deliveries arrive on time, goods are ordered in a timely manner and are of satisfactory quality, ensuring one division knows what the other is doing and generally facilitating informed cooperation between all members of a logistics team.

Essential qualities for this job include interpersonal and communication skill, an eye for detail and the ability do discern inefficiencies in a similar manner to previously outlined positions. Professionals must be able to keep track of many different elements in play and organise themselves appropriately.

Why are project management postgrads well-suited?

Project management graduates should be no stranger to intricate organisation, as all projects require it in spades. Knowing how to visualise data and make assessments of a business’s quantitative measures while simultaneously knowing how to manage and lead is at the core of this industry and the others in this article. Fortunately, this is exactly the sort of thing project management graduates seek to perfect.

Who employs them?

Similar to operations managers, logistics officer are required in any business that require the coordination of logistics departments. That said, plenty of dedicated national and global logistics companies exist, providing their services to those who don’t have them in-house. Some of these include QUBE, Toll Group and IFC Global Logistics.

What are they paid?

There professionals earn $58,175 (AUD) per annum on average according to Payscale. A few years of experience can see salaries of $77,593. It’s important to note that despite the pay disparity between this profession and the previous two listed, this is accessible much earlier on in a career. Operations management, for instance, tends to require several years of experience despite the value postgraduate project management brings. Starting out as a logistics officer can be a rewarding pathway to something else, in addition to being a great career in its own right.

Project management officer

What do they do?

Project management officers do everything a project management graduate would expect, like leading planning sessions, overseeing contracts, being responsible for client relationships, managing project progress and overcoming any hurdles or inefficiencies stalling progress. In short, they do a bit of all the jobs listed so far and make sure they all come together in harmony for the sake of the project.

Why are project management postgrads well-suited?

Naturally, the coursework of postgraduate project management courses is geared toward the broad nature of the job. Students gain experience in all the core competencies expected of project managers, such as crisis management, business leadership, modelling and interpreting data, business finance, professional communication and more. Topics like these serve to prime graduates for entry into the profession.

Who employs them?

Companies like Savills Australia are dedicated to project management and therefore make sound employers, but graduates could find their place in any number of companies. Consulting firms like TIA Consulting, EPM Projects and Seven Consulting also require project managers to round out their teams.

What are they paid?

Project management officers are paid $67,295 (AUD) per annum on average according to Payscale. This can improve to roughly $93,697 over time. Success in this career can lead to pathways into project management direction, which in Australia yields average salaries of about $180,706, with some exceptions rising as high as $303,793 per annum.

Project management is a pathway to more than just the careers listed, but it’s definitely an in-demand skill. If you’re considering going into postgraduate project management or just want to learn more about it, take a look at our directory here.