Project management

Should project managers be part of a professional association?

Psoda blog author avatar
26 June 2018

I made two interesting discoveries recently while working with the Project Management Institute of New Zealand in the run up to its annual conference in September. First, I was surprised to learn there are approximately 36,000 project managers in New Zealand!
Second, and perhaps more surprising, only a fraction of this number are members of a professional association such as the PMI, which has just over 2200 PMI members in New Zealand.
In the interest of full disclosure, I must confess I only just joined the PMI myself. Although I’ve been involved with the PMI conference as both an exhibitor and sponsor for a few years, I didn’t become a member earlier as I haven’t been a project manager for a few years.  This made me wonder: As a project professional, is being a member of a professional association worth your while?
In my research before joining the institute, I found there are several benefits to being a member of a professional association, particularly an international organisation, such as the PMI. One of the big benefits for me is the networking opportunities with my peers and being able to get help from people who have been there. Here are some reasons for project managers to join an industry body:

Membership perks

Joining a professional association can be a big commitment, but there are loads of benefits which are only available to members. This includes discounts to events, training, and conferences. You also get access to a huge amount of otherwise unavailable information, such as standards, guides, training videos, webinars and other relevant content. It also gives you access to local networking meetings where you can meet other project professionals.


All the professional associations I looked at offer multiple professional certifications. They range in level from junior to very senior and cover pretty much every aspect of project management that you can think of.
By passing exams from somewhere like the PMI or Association for Project Management it gives employers, customers and colleagues confidence  that you know what you are doing and can actually manage projects.

Recruiting preference

I’ve certainly noticed an upswing in employers asking for professional certifications. At one time, it didn’t matter if you had PMP, PRINCE2 or no project management qualification at all, if you could demonstrate practical experience. Now, you’re likely to not even get a call back, never mind an interview, if you don’t have one.

Salary benefits

According to the 2017 PMI Project Management Salary Survey, people with the PMI’s Project Management Professional (PMP) certification have, on average, 23% higher salaries than those that don’t.
This finding is based on a survey of over 33,000 project managers in 37 countries around the world.
While this might read like an advert for the PMI, it’s not! It just so happens that the PMI is the only project management professional association represented in New Zealand. There are others around the world like the Association for Project Management, which all offer similar benefits to those listed above.
If you’re thinking of joining an industry association, it’s easy to get a feel for what’s on offer. Just go along to a meeting or event, listen to what’s being shared and chat to the other attendees – if you learn something new or meet someone interesting, that’s a good sign.

Psoda plug

As smart as our cloud-based project, portfolio and programme management tools are, they are not likely to organise a project management conference anytime soon. However, they do make running your projects easier, so you’ll have more time to take advantage of the courses and events run by a professional association. Also, our tools are designed with all major project management approaches in mind, so you can apply what you’ve learned while using Psoda. Try it for yourself with a 30-day free trial. Sign up by clicking the big red button at the top right hand corner of the page.

Rhona Aylward avatar
Written by Rhona Aylward
Rhona is Deputy Everything Officer at Psoda, where she does everything except code. After starting life as a microbiologist she moved into PMO leadership roles around the world before settling in New Zealand with her family.

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