From outpost to outback: project career paths in Australia
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With the growth in project management as a form of work organisation in many sectors of the economy has come the significant rise in the number of project managers and project team members. This change in work organisation brings issues in forging career paths and determining career support in work situations that are often dynamic, short lived and intense. In the relatively small but substantially robust Australian economy, a unique labour market and the tyranny of distance bring their own difficulties. Innovative and collaborative project structures and increasing prevalence of contract work provide both challenges and opportunities for new career pathways in many industries. A growing percentage of Australia's workforce is employed in project-based or project-oriented organisations, leading to the claim that Australia is a projectbased economy. This provided a context for our research into the career paths and the issues of career management for project managers working in a project based economy. Using in-depth interviews with project managers from three industry areas we found generational and gender differences in experiences of work, workplace support and mentoring for career development. For a continued strong performance in this economy, organisations that employ project personnel will need to consider how they will ensure the supply of high quality project professionals into the future.
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