Get a (Green) (PM) Job



The Project Management Institute has issued its Global Jobs Report (January, 2013), highlighting “5 Sectors to Watch”.

The good news overall – demand for PM skills hit a four-year high in 2012 (despite the general economic decline over those years).

The five sectors analyzed in this Report:

  • Tech
  • Healthcare
  • Infrastructure
  • Energy
  • Finance

…and although the Energy section of the report was titled, “If Energy Is Your Game, Think Green“, the theme of sustainability was prevalent throughout the pages, especially in Energy and Infrastructure.

So what does this report say?  Well the best way to find out is to read the whole thing in the January edition of PMNetwork.

But we’d like to summarize some the the key points of the Energy sector report here.

The tips they have for landing a Green PM job:

  • you can break into the sustainable energy field by playing up accomplishments and qualifications that transfer across industries
  • track industry news so you know which projects are moving forward (we recommend joining one of the sustainability-oriented LinkedIn groups, like GreenBiz, Green, EarthPM, or Sustainability Professionals).
  • reach out to companies before they’re ready to hire so you are on their ‘radar’

Some ‘pull-quote’ highlights from the report:

  • “The long-term trend suggests that the number of solar power projects will double every year for the next few years,” says Seth Masia, spokesman for the American Solar Energy Society, a not-for-profit advocacy group in Boulder, Colorado, USA. “Owners will be looking for specialists with project management skills to run these projects.”  Prospects should think big, as in the 115-megawatt Toul-Rosières solar power project near Nancy, France and the 1.5-gigawatt Atlantic Array Offshore Wind Farm project off the coast of Wales. Those kinds of projects will need project and program management talent at every level.
  • “The smaller, 5-10 kilowatt projects often don’t have trained project managers assigned to them; that work is often done by an experienced technical person,” says Peter Beadle, CEO of, Fairfield, California, USA. “The real demand for project management skills is on the larger projects where there is no substitute for trained, experienced project managers.”
  • Even for project managers without sector experience, it’s a good time to get a foot in the door, he says. “Renewable projects, especially wind and solar, are essentially big civil construction projects, so if you have construction expertise, companies may well be interested.”

Our book, Green Project Management, we must say, provides a good working vocabulary and fundamental base for anyone who wants to transition to a sustainability-oriented PM career focus.  You may just want to give that a read (as a New Year Resolution?).

So.  Go out there.  And get a job.  Or enhance your job possibilities.  It’s all good.

Sustainability as a PM career-builder

Back in 1843, when we founded EarthPM (okay it was a bit more recent than that, but it seems so…long…ago), we based it on 5 Assertions, which we have updated slightly:

1. Doing the right thing helps the project team do things right.
2. Adding sustainability thinking in PM helps better equip you and your team respond to project risks.
3. Sustainability thinking added to PM helps the project and the product of the project.
4. An environmental lens is a necessary part of a PM’s toolbox.
5. Greenality, like quality, must be planned in, not bolted on.
We also had a list of Five Things You Can Do Right Now with respect to Sustainability

Thing 1

Accept the idea that you are a change agent.

Thing 2

Connect your organization’s Environmental Management Plan to your project’s objectives.

Thing 3

Dare to think beyond the delivery of your project’s product to the sponsor.  In fact, dare to think beyond that sponsor.

Thing 4

Understand the concept of Greenality.

Thing 5

Build your own credibility in sustainability thinking.

As we’ve spread the word about sustainability thinking in PM, via our book, webinars, seminars, in our LinkedIn Group, and of course here on our blog, we have had pushback and criticism – and that’s a good thing.  We can take it, and we want to learn from it.  But turnabout is fair play, and that’s the purpose of this post.
Recently we’ve had people tell us that as a PM, we shouldn’t push sustainability issues because it may make you as a PM come off as an extremist.  We’re here to tell you – even better, to *show* you that that could be a *good* thing.  We’ll focus on Things 1, 2, and 5 above, and we’ll use an article from today’s news (see this news story) to help make our point.
In the story, which is about Ford Motor Company’s focus (excuse the pun) on electric vehicles, there are some striking statistics:
  • Ford, debuting five battery-powered models this year, is spending $135 million to design electric-drive parts and double battery testing capacity.  We read that as “blah blah blah, blah, projects, more projects, and project managers, blah, blah, blah”
  • Ford is moving more battery research in-house and has hired 60 engineers in the last year, bringing its electric-vehicle engineering staff to more than 1,000, according to a statement today. The moves help reduce the cost of hybrid systems by 30 percent and speed development by 25 percent, Ford said.
  • Ford has said hybrids, plug-in hybrids, and all-electric cars will account for as much as 25 percent of its new vehicle sales by 2020, from less than 3 percent last year. That’s a 20+% increase and the trigger for the launching of hundreds of projects and the need for many project managers.   The second-largest U.S. automaker is competing in the nascent market for electrified vehicles with Toyota, General Motors, Nissan and startups such as Tesla and closely held Fisker Automotive, who are also loaded with portfolios of programs and projects and who need project managers focused on sustainability
  • Ford said it plans to hire “dozens” of additional engineers (and of course this will also mean project managers as well) for electric-vehicle development projects. It’s also renaming its 285,000-square-foot advanced engineering center in Dearborn, Mich., the “Ford Advanced Electrification Center.”
  • Electrified vehicles accounted for 3.4 percent of the U.S. market in this year’s first half, up from 2.2 percent a year earlier, according to researcher LMC Automotive.
  • Chief Executive Officer Alan Mulally has made fuel- efficiency central to his turnaround plan for Ford. He said in April that Ford wouldn’t back off its ambitious sales goals for electric-powered vehicles just because they get off to a slow start.  “We believe that the electrification of vehicles is going to continue as the battery cost comes down, as we move to generate electricity cleanly,” Mulally told reporters in Laguna Niguel, Calif., that month. “We see this as continually growing. This is a long-term journey.

So that is the reality and the news.  Let’s step back now and look at ‘extremism’ and ‘credibility’, both of which, according to our detractors, are problems for sustainability-minded PMs; the former a liability and the latter in danger.

Here is a snapshot of Ford’s corporate home page, taken today.  Have a look at it.  If you can’t read it here, or, if you think we’re making this up, just go to

Notice any…theme?

After reading the messaging and theme of this site, can you truly assert that as a sustainability-minded PM you would be somehow an extremist?  Do you think that a sustainability-minded PM or engineer would have a credibility problem at this firm?


We would assert that (as in our “5 Things”, which we stand by even more firmly than originally) there is indeed a theme and it is sustainability.  We would assert that as a sustainability-minded PM your ‘extremism’ would be anything but a detriment, but rather a career-builder.  And we can say now with certainty that your knowledge of sustainability and recognition of that aspect of your career was anything but a credibility buster.  Having a command of a sustainability vocabulary and a skillset built around holistic, life cycle thinking would be a credibility boost.

Do you agree?  If so, stick with us, folks.  We will be helping you become an ‘extremist’.  And you – and your employer – and your project teams – will thank us.

Lighting up solar projects in the USA


Our US Department of the Interior announced yesterday (16-December-2010) that it has drafted a new environmental policy to expedite large-scale solar power projects in six western states.

The policy, known as the Draft Solar Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS), designates 24 sites on public lands in Arizona, California, Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada and Utah for renewable energy projects.

We’re not talking about small potatoes here.  This is about over 100 active solar applications covering 1 million acres that developers estimate could generate 60,000 megawatts of electricity.

Why should you care?

Well, if for no other reason: job security. Does this effort trigger projects (and therefore the need for project managers)?  Well, perhaps this will help answer that question.  The 32 page Introduction section of the PEIS document contains the word project of program over 150 times.

Presentation on the document structure:

Click here for a short video on how to use the document.

Link to full PEIS document:

Click here for the full document.

Click here for a set of Questions and Answers on the program.

As we have continued to assert – climate change cynic, or earthy enthusiastic environmentalist, as a project manager, you are best off – and importantly, best suited – to ride the green wave.  Start riding.