A site manager and a project manager have a lot of similarities as well as differences. In this article O’Neill & Brennan talk you through what each job entails, and the relevant qualifications needed to secure a role.
A site manager is a popular position for those interested in construction. The flexibility offered makes this role particularly appealing. A site manager is responsible for day-to-day operations on-site, in a single location. They are present every day and make sure all employees complete tasks. They are very much on-hand leaders who carry out labour with their team.
A project manager oversees multiple projects across different locations. Their responsibilities include developing project plans, assigning resources and tracking progress to ensure deadlines are met. They spend the majority of their time working in an office but can travel frequently to visit sites in order to provide feedback.
Differences and Similarities in Skillsets
There are several similarities in the skills used by site managers and project managers. Both roles require excellent communication skills, as they need to be able to effectively communicate with a variety of team members. They also both need to have strong organisational skills to keep track of deadlines, budget control and progress on the project.
However, there are some differences in the skills needed for both these roles. Site managers need to have a stronger understanding of construction methods and safety protocols, as they are responsible for overseeing the construction process. Project managers may not need to have as much knowledge about construction, but they should be experts in project management software and tools, as they will be responsible for creating schedules and tracking progress.
Site Manager Qualifications
There are routes into a career as a site manager for both university graduates and school leavers. Graduates will need an undergraduate or postgraduate degree in a construction-related subject, such as construction and project management or civil engineering.
An apprenticeship with a construction firm is a good way into the industry. Your time will be split between on-the-job experience and a college or training provider which allows you to earn money while you learn. You can then work your way up to site manager over time.
You may be able to apply using transferable skills from roles such as an estimator or site supervisor.
If you have management experience in a related industry you may also be able to apply.
Project Manager Qualifications
To secure a project manager position you will typically require a master's degree in civil engineering to better understand drafting and design, in construction science to understand every aspect of the construction process or in business management to understand large-scale teamwork. It is worth noting every organisation is different. Some may only require a bachelor's degree in one of the related fields. Smaller companies may accept a foundation degree in a related field along with specialised training specific to that company and work experience in construction.
Becoming a project manager without a degree isn’t impossible however it could limit your projects as certain clients may ask for degree holders only. It will also take you longer to acquire this position without a degree. Having said that it is highly unlikely a construction company will hire you without prior experience whether you have a degree or not.