Investing in enhanced qualifications

Aug 22, 2021

What better way to show top talent that you care about their futures than to invest in those futures?

In today’s (almost) post-pandemic world, the meaning of being a “competitive company” when recruiting and retaining staff has undergone a massive makeover. Companies have to find ways to stand out to keep top talent and attract new talent more than casual work attire, non-existent commutes, and easy access to snacks.

Employees are now looking to their employers to prove why they should stay. During the past year, our world has changed and the line between work life and personal life has blurred even more. Because of the pandemic, people are realizing what really matters to them. Employees want to feel valued; they want to have the opportunity to stretch and learn through their assignments, and they want to be involved with projects and endeavors that matter. Allowing employees to pursue the Project Management Professional certification can successfully set them up for career advancement and the ability to be involved even more in projects that matter. Giving employees the opportunity to move up within the firm and enhance their careers provides opportunities to learn and grow – exactly what employees are looking for. What better way to show top talent that you care about their futures than to invest in those futures?

Within the AEC community, it is common to support advanced certifications and licenses. For staff, one certification that is becoming more of a necessity is the PMP. In fact, it’s showing up more and more as a requirement for government proposals. The PMP certification demonstrates to employers, clients, and colleagues that a project manager possesses project management knowledge, experience, and skills to bring projects to successful completion. When you encourage employees to earn the PMP, it shows your firm cares about their career advancement.

The PMP provides many benefits for the individual and for the companies they work for.

  • Save time and money. Learning project management separately from an engineering background helps to be a better project manager in all aspects of an employee’s career. Projects are more likely to finish on time and within budget. In a study conducted by IBM, employees were 12 times as likely to leave a job if the company was not helping them advance in their career. Talk about losing money! The cost of replacing an employee can reach double that of the employee’s annual salary. Cost savings isn’t just found in the projects being completed on time and on budget, but also in the avoidance of losing those motivated and high performing employees. Investing in certifications for employees can save money in the long run and contribute to your bottom line.
  • New emphasis on leadership skills. By earning the PMP, employees will have competencies and skills that are transferable to any project endeavor. The pandemic has shown that scope, schedule, and budget, although cornerstones of project management, are no longer the only drivers of successful projects. According to PMI’s 2020 Pulse of the Profession, organizations are placing an almost identical priority on leadership skills. People skills are now more important than ever and proficient project managers will be well equipped to handle these new challenges.
  • Decrease micromanagement. Whether someone is a planner, accountant, engineer, marketing professional, or another specialist in the AEC field, project management is an expertise all on its own. Project professionals are in every department of the business. Empowering employees and providing them with the knowledge and skills they need to thrive reduces micromanagement and increases productivity. When employees know what to do, they are able to take action instead of waiting around for direction.

It is more challenging to recruit and retain talent these days and employees at AEC firms appreciate having their career advancement considered an investment. Encouraging staff to enhance their qualifications with a PMP certification shows you want them to succeed.

As someone who has gone through the process and achieved the PMP certification, it was an investment in myself and my career, and I was happy to have the support of my firm in this achievement. Working for a company that invested in me keeps me investing right back into my company.

Carol Martsolf is a vice president and the chief learning officer at Urban Engineers. Contact her at

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About Zweig Group

Zweig Group, three times on the Inc. 500/5000 list, is the industry leader and premiere authority in AEC firm management and marketing, the go-to source for data and research, and the leading provider of customized learning and training. Zweig Group exists to help AEC firms succeed in a complicated and challenging marketplace through services that include: Mergers & Acquisitions, Strategic Planning, Valuation, Executive Search, Board of Director Services, Ownership Transition, Marketing & Branding, and Business Development Training. The firm has offices in Dallas and Fayetteville, Arkansas.