Mission Possible: Hiring PMs in Bulgaria - Questers

Mission Possible: Hiring PMs in Bulgaria

Last week, we celebrated the International Project Management Day. In recent years, this profession has gained popularity not only in Bulgaria, but also globally. Surprisingly or not, locally, there's a wide range of perspectives on what it means to be a project manager.

In this article, we provide a simple and clear overview of the market’s expectations towards the hiring process.

Talent pool size

Bulgaria is a rapidly emerging IT hub in Eastern Europe, with a growing demand for skilled project management professionals. There are an estimated 10,000 IT project management professionals in Bulgaria and this number is expected to grow by 2025. PMI (Project Management Institute)’s 2020 report shows that more than 1,570,000 new project management positions are created globally each year.

The demand for project management professionals is driven by the growth of the IT sector as well as the increasing complexity of projects. In addition, the Bulgarian government is promoting the country as an IT outsourcing destination, which is also creating demand for project management professionals.

The majority of PMs in Bulgaria are located in the capital city - Sofia. However, there are also a growing number of project managers in other major cities such as Plovdiv, Varna, and Burgas.

The salaries for project management professionals in Bulgaria are relatively low compared to Western Europe. However, they are still higher than the average salary in Bulgaria.

There are many job roles in the field of project management, which we will explore below:

  • Project Manager

Project managers are the leaders who plan, execute, monitor, control and present (to the stakeholders) projects. They are responsible for the entire planning, including team configuration, resources, budget and success or failure of the project. To be successful, project managers must be able to coordinate resources, manage budgets, track progress and communicate with team members and stakeholders. They also assess risks and resolve any issues that arise throughout the project's life cycle, often making difficult decisions about complex and competing priorities to achieve the desired project outcomes.

  • Program Manager

The Program Manager is a key strategic expert in project management whose role is to supervise and organise the various projects, products and strategic activities within an organisation. The program manager is responsible for taking an overall perspective of the entire program and offering strategic guidance to project managers, ensuring that their collective efforts are effectively aligned with the overall program’s objective.

  • Scrum Master

A Scrum Master is an Agile development team facilitator. They are in charge of coordinating the exchange of information between team members. Scrum is a project management framework that allows a team to communicate and self-organize in order to make rapid changes in accordance with Agile principles. They collect and share information about specific tasks and assignments, serving as a link between team members and managers.

Professional experience, university degrees & certifications

Tech Project managers in Bulgaria usually have a professional experience in management, engineering, business administration, computer science or a related field. They may have worked in various industries including IT, health, manufacturing and finance. They should have a good knowledge of management methodologies such as Scrum and PRINCE2. The majority of PMs in Bulgaria have a bachelor's degree in business administration.

Sofia University offers a Bachelor's degree in Project Management. The program aims to provide students with the knowledge and skills they need to plan, execute and monitor projects. Students learn about project management methodologies, such as Scrum and PRINCE2, as well as tools and techniques used in project management.

The University of National and World Economy (UNWE) offers a Master's degree in International Projects Management. The program is designed to give students advanced knowledge and skills needed to manage complex international projects. Students learn about international project management methodologies, such as GLOBE and PRINCE2 International, as well as cultural and organizational factors that affect international projects.

Both programs - at Sofia University and UNWE, are accredited by the Project Management Institute (PMI). This means that they meet the PMI's high standards for quality.

Furthermore, there are various project management (PM) programs and online accreditation courses available in Bulgaria. Among them are The PMP (Project Management Professional) and PRINCE2. They are among the most widely recognized and popular in-demand professional certifications Bulgaria.

The main skills required are excellent communication, budget and time management skills and ability to work with specific tools. Among the most commonly used instruments are:

  • G Suite
  • MS Office
  • MS Teams
  • Miro
  • Jira
  • Monday
  • Confluence
  • Trello
  • Basecamp

Expectations about the recruitment process

Project managers in Bulgaria prefer a quick and efficient recruitment process with two to three steps. They value companies that respect their time and avoid complicated or difficult procedures. They also appreciate open and transparent communication during the entire process, which includes establishing clear expectations for each step and providing early feedback even if a candidate is not selected.

PMs also admire companies that invest in assessing both technical skills and cultural fit within the company. PMs may be willing to participate in psychological assessments to evaluate their personality traits, adaptability, and stress management skills in some cases.

Common motivational factors

When selecting a career opportunity at a specific company, project managers are motivated by a number of criteria. Some are driven primarily by salary and perks, while others are more interested in the type of projects they will work on, prospects for growth and company culture. They seek opportunities to lead complex projects, work with talented teams and experience cutting-edge technology.

The nature of the projects on which a project manager will work can have a significant impact on the decision to join a company. Some people prefer long-term projects that allow them to build relationships while also completing their work. Others prefer projects that are shorter in duration and provide more variety and opportunities to learn new skills.

The nature of the projects a project manager will work on can have a significant impact on the decision to join a company. Some people prefer long-term projects that allow them to build relationships with the team. Other - prefer shorter-term projects that offer more variety and opportunities to gain new skills.

Project managers, like most professionals, are motivated by competitive salaries and benefit packages. When looking for a job, they consider things like bonuses, health insurance, retirement plans, wellness programs and flexible work environments. These perks demonstrate to project managers that the company cares about their well-being and is invested in their professional development.

Other specifics

In Bulgaria, we observe that the labour market continues to be dynamic and to provide a significant number of different vacant positions that require employers to extend the notice period to their employees. In many cases, this period is still set at one month, but in the last years there has been a trend to extend it to two or even three months.

One of the key skills that is often underestimated during interviews is the ability of managers to actively listen to people in their team and, by asking questions, to be able to guide them to make the right decision themselves. This process is particularly useful in preventing conflict situations in the team as well as preventing the build-up of negative emotions.