Project managers do a lot

Project manager: job description, career opportunities, salary

What does a project manager * do?

Project manager is a versatile and varied profession, which is, however, also associated with stress and multitasking, and also leaves little free time. The responsibility is high; Organizational skills are essential.

It is not possible to say in general terms what tasks a project manager has to do. Because it depends a lot on the industry and the employer, and of course on the project being worked on. The way of working or the approach to a problem is too different to be able to do this
could generalize.

Project managers must always keep an eye on the project as a whole and not get bogged down in details. Your top priority is coordination, i.e. the distribution of tasks.

The profession knows three important points that everything revolves around:

  • aim
  • Schedule / dates
  • costs

It has to be from the manager

  • a functioning team can be put together for the project. Furthermore, you are the contact person for problems that call the process or even the goal of the project into question
    could. You need to
  • provide solutions and distribute any tasks that may become necessary as a result. With all changes and problem solving, it is your responsibility to pay attention to the budget.

In this job it is important that you always have a plan in mind and still be able to react flexibly. Various obstacles can throw the plan upside down at any time, from production downtimes to illness to planning errors that only become apparent in the course of the work.

In addition to the technical work, the project manager is responsible for keeping the team together and resolving any problems. While some employees urgently need a notice of an appointment in order to work effectively, others are already very nervous about an appointment and need a little reassurance. A good project manager knows how to assess this.

You discuss the progress of the task with the superiors and the employees, arrange the appropriate meetings and make decisions over and over again. This usually entails working hours that are well over 40 hours a week. In many cases, the contact person is the project manager, so you should be available at all times.


There is no typical day-to-day work in this profession. The work of project managers can hardly be compared with one another, it depends enormously on the size of the company and the industry as well as the way of working. Working in logistics can hardly be compared to working in the automotive industry. But there is one thing that all project managers have in common: They always have the big picture in mind and don't get lost in small details. In addition to managing the personnel of your team, in this job you are also responsible for clearing all the stumbling blocks in the various project phases on the way to the goal and at the same time adhering to the specified budget.

In addition to a fixed plan of how the project should run, it is also necessary to be able to react flexibly to innovations. Even if there are unexpected problems, such as illness, in this job as a project manager you must have a plan B and ideally also a plan C and D available in all project phases. In the management of your projects, you are also responsible for finding the right words for your team to motivate them. Who of my employees needs praise in order to be successful again and who may need a warning shot? Which tasks still have to be completed in which project phases? As the project manager, you make these decisions.

Even if it sounds like a very theoretical work, you spend the least amount of time at your desk planning a project. As a rule, you spend your day-to-day work in a meeting or with your team at your desk. The progress of work is discussed and monitored, tasks are distributed, project deadlines are realistically estimated. In larger projects, they are also needed at trade fairs or when visiting customers.

Anyone who wants a regular working day is in the wrong place in this profession. Anyone who feels responsible for the management of various projects and has no problems working more than the usual working hours and does not throw in the towel when problems arise is in good hands in management. In some cases, you may be responsible for planning several projects. You are responsible for the successful completion of all project phases and the entire process.


You cannot complete an apprenticeship or degree that would per se make you a project manager. Rather, it is about competent specialist knowledge (usually acquired through a degree) and personal suitability.

So you can have taken various courses in order to then be able to work as a project manager, such as economics or IT. Leadership and a sense of responsibility are essential for the job.

In the meantime, there are courses in “Project Management” in German and special seminars that impart the skills for such a manager, but what really counts is your training and your skills. With a degree in mechanical engineering or an economics degree, the job of project manager is just as feasible as with a job in press agencies. It is important that you have the competence to understand and implement the technical and content requirements of the projects.

A direct entry into the job of a project manager is therefore very rare. One of the decisive prerequisites for a manager is that you know and understand all the implementation phases of your project, only then will you, as a project manager, be able to use your work effectively and efficiently.

In addition to professional qualifications, someone who wants to work in project management must also have a keen sense for their employees, have leadership qualities and take responsibility for their employees. This is usually referred to as so-called soft skills, which cannot be fully learned, but should already lie in the person of the manager. As a manager, it is also your job to put pressure on your team and ensure that deadlines are met in the implementation - you will therefore not only make friends in your position.

Salary: What does a project manager earn?

There is no training for jobs in project management. Rather, these project managers are already experienced colleagues in their areas with the necessary leadership quality and are therefore suitable as project managers. Such managers have to live with the fact that they usually work more than the usual 40 hours a week. 45 to 50 hours a week are more the rule than the exception.

In terms of salary, you are well advised as a project manager. Large companies pay well when a project manager works effectively. Then gross monthly salaries between 3,600 and 4,000 euros as a starting salary are quite realistic. This profession is best earned in the chemical industry, but also in the automotive industry. Higher salaries are paid to those who have a master’s degree and who already have practical experience.

If you have been with us for a few years, a gross project manager of around 5,300 euros per month is possible. Exceptions can be feasible up to 8,000 euros. The prerequisite for this, of course, are appropriate training courses and certificates. Some (especially large) companies even pay bonuses and bonuses if everything goes well.

Top earners also like to receive more than 8,000 euros a month. The salary of this job can therefore be considered generous.

Entry opportunities:

The opportunities for entry are good - you can start with a trainee position, for example. This will give you an insight into many departments and get to know how they work. The next stage is usually the assistant to the project management. You will work with an experienced project manager and support his tasks. So you can do all of your work steps, but you have less responsibility and don't have to make any decisions.

There are few who make direct entry into project management. There are no prerequisites for this job in the management of projects, apart from leadership quality and skills in the planning and implementation of a project. There is no such training in Germany, a degree should have been completed. But even immediately after graduation, hardly anyone is able to understand the complexity of a project and to take on responsibility as a project manager. As a rule, a project manager qualifies for the position of a project manager in the course of his work in projects. Due to the already existing experience and acquired competencies, the salary of a manager is already quite high during the entry period.

Employer: who is hiring project managers?

There are jobs as project managers in all larger companies. For example, the pharmaceutical industry, where there is often work on projects. Furthermore, various other industrial areas are also contact persons looking for such a position, as well as administrations, for example the public sector. The job postings are frequent; and the industries are very different. So you can first choose the right direction for you.

In Germany, such jobs are often employed in the automotive industry, IT sector, in banks and insurance companies or in the logistics sector. Such managers are needed wherever the work takes place at least partially in projects. Depending on the industry, an apprenticeship or a degree in this field is advantageous. If you are looking for such managerial jobs, study the relevant vacancies.

Job market and career opportunities for project managers

Many large companies already offer a so-called trainee program for their young employees in order to prepare them for the tasks in project management. Such job offers are common. In the next step, the assistant in project management waits for the future managerial staff, after which the management of a sub-project can be transferred in order to gain further skills. In sub-projects, for example, you are responsible for the implementation of a phase of the project. If this project has also been successfully completed, the stage of project manager is not far away. You will then often be presented with such vacancies.

The last point on the career ladder is the so-called senior project manager. In other professions, too, the title “senior” stands for an employee with a very high career level. As a senior project manager, you are responsible for the largest projects and most important customers. Your salary will adjust to this responsibility. You can now only take another step up the career ladder by moving to a larger company. There are always such job offers.

further education

In order to get further up the career ladder, various further training courses should be attended. A well-known certificate is IPMA, which you even have to show for some positions. Seminars and training courses can be attended in different areas, such as

  • Basics of the work of a project manager
  • Methods of project management
  • Leadership skills

Next you can do a Subproject manager- Get a job. This is the project manager on a small scale, since he has to perform all the tasks of a project manager, but for a smaller area, just a sub-area. After at least five years of professional experience, a Project manager position Tobe offered. The further development is then only for Senior project manager possible, who is responsible for particularly important projects and customers and bears a high degree of responsibility. Sometimes such a position is called "Project director“Written out

Tips for applying

Of course, in your application you should mention all certificates and further training courses that you have attended or the degree you have completed your studies. However, it must also be mentioned whether there is a certain organizational talent and the corresponding personality.

Core competencies are:

  • Structured, well-organized work
  • leadership qualities
  • reliability
  • Adherence to deadlines
  • Technical knowledge

Technical jargon explained

Next level consulting - a modern leadership style in which trust and understanding are also valued Lateral leadership - a leadership style that motivates employees and builds a stable working relationship

Lateral guidance - a management style that motivates employees and builds a stable working relationship

* Note: To make it easier to read, this text only uses the term “project manager”, this of course includes all genders.