What Is Resource Management? Types, Importance, Stages, Careers

Written by Coursera • Updated on

Discover the important role resource management plays in projects and business. Learn about resource management careers to see if it's a good match for you.

[Featured image] A resource manager is pointing to information, as he conducts a meeting with two co-workers.

Resource management is the process of enhancing efficiency and guiding when and how resources, like employees, equipment, and tools, are used. Resources include everything needed to achieve goals. They may also include technology, square footage, and finances.

As a resource manager, you'll look at all the elements needed to create a successful event, like a fundraiser. You'll have to prioritize and effectively use resources like promotional materials, hired staff, and a location to ensure you schedule everything appropriately and within the budget. 

In this article, learn about resource management, the different types, and what potential employers look for in a resource manager, including education, experience, and relevant resource management skills. 

What exactly is resource management?

Resource management is a series of processes and techniques used to ensure you have all the necessary resources to complete a project or meet business objectives. It also focuses on making the most efficient use of those resources by eliminating waste for more profits and a high return on investment (ROI). Resource management puts you in control to avoid conflicts as much as possible.

Example of resource management

Think of it like this: Imagine you were going to bake cookies. To get it done quickly and on a budget. You also need to determine what ingredients you already have, the ingredients you need to buy, and the equipment you need to use for preparation and baking. Not to mention, you need to know the steps for making the recipe and the time required.

If you prepare, you can bake a beautiful batch in the time you allot for the project. Suppose you decide to skip reading the recipe ahead of time. You might be in the middle of making the dough when you realize you need to go to the grocery store to buy something. The cookie-making process could take significantly longer because you didn’t consider all the resources ahead of time. 

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Types of resource management 

Several techniques are available for resource management in projects, departments, and entire companies. Resource management methods include the following:

  • Allocation: Allocation lets you efficiently use resources you already have to get the most out of them. It effectively helps keep you on time and within budget.

  • Leveling: With this type of resource management, you'll take resources that aren't being used effectively and find ways to use them more efficiently. You may also use leveling if you have a project that demands more resources than you have and requires adjusting deadlines. 

  • Forecasting: Before you can forecast, you'll need to fully understand the project’s scope and the organization's goals. Then, you'll identify the resources available to use now and those required in the future and predict potential problems.

Why is resource management important?

Resource management provides business stability by helping you get the most out of your resources. To maximize efficiency and to keep things running smoothly, you'll have to track how resources are used to help avoid overuse and underuse. As a result, you’ll gain control, profitability, and efficiency, among the main benefits of effective resource management.

Benefits of resource management

Resource management is helpful for businesses of all types, including startups, small businesses, and large enterprises. It offers a variety of benefits to support business success, including:

  • Efficient use of staff, finances, technology,  and physical space

  • Increased ability to spot problems before they occur or avoid them altogether

  • Smoother relationships between teams and departments

  • Increased agility and a greater ability to pivot faster in case of unexpected changes

Costs of ineffective resource management

On the contrary, not having good resource management can be costly, which underscores why it’s such an essential element. Data from a Project Management Institute survey suggests that around 21 percent of projects fail because of limited or overtaxed resources [1]. 

The fallout isn’t limited only to individual projects. Without resource management, the stability of the organization suffers. Poor resource  management can be costly in a variety of ways:

  • Performance may suffer on a team, department, or company-wide level.

  • Teams may have heavier workloads and be required to work longer than normal hours to meet goals and objectives.

  • Teams, individuals, and the organization may experience complications and setbacks.

  • Interrupted workflow and financial strain may grow into major financial issues.

How to become a resource manager

The career path you take may vary slightly depending on the role you want to pursue. It should determine the degree you choose, the experience you gain, and the skills you need to become a good resource manager. 

Education and experience

Most employers look for professionals with at least a bachelor’s degree to become resource managers. According to Zippia, 64 percent of resource managers hold a bachelor’s degree, and 16 percent have an associate degree [2]. You may choose to earn a business degree or a degree in communications, computer science, or finance, for example. Helpful courses include macroeconomics, business analytics, operations management, and project management.

Additionally, you’ll likely need some experience in project management or the industry you want to work in. For example, suppose you want to work as a health care resource manager. In that case, employers may look for a few years of experience as a staff nurse or administrator. 

Required skills

To be effective, you'll need to cultivate many different skills. Some essential skills include adaptability and communication because you'll work with many different people, teams, and departments. During your education and professional experience, work on gaining workplace and technical skills to enhance your resume. 

Workplace

  • Customer service

  • Ability to prioritize

  • Interpersonal skills

  • Ability to work as part of a team

  • Leadership capabilities

  • Strategic thinking

Technical

  • Project management

  • Resource management

  • Analyzing data and reading reports

  • Ability to consider multiple potential outcomes

  • Familiarity with resource management software and tools

  • Knowledge of labor and business laws and ethics

  • Ability to use technology, including analytics and customer relationship management software (CRM)

Certifications aren’t strictly required. Earning a credential can demonstrate your expertise to potential employers to help you gain a competitive edge. It’s also an opportunity to develop advanced skills to help make you a more effective resource manager. A few to consider include the Resource Management Institute's Resource Management Certified Professional and Project Management Institute's Project Management Professional (PMP).

Read more: 10 PMI Certifications to Level Up Your Project Management Career

Resource managers typically manage and allocate non-human resources throughout an organization. However, if you choose to pursue human resources management, you would recruit, hire, train, and manage employees and staff, which is a variation of resource managers.

Although you may find jobs specifically for resource managers, the role often has other job titles. Some common positions in resource management include:

*All salary data is sourced from Glassdoor as of August 2022

  • Office administrator: You’ll manage office supply resources and allocate them accordingly. The average annual US salary is $72,033.

  • Resource manager: In this role, you'll manage resources and allocate them across the company. The average annual US salary is $88,393.

  • Human resource manager: You'll manage human talent by allocating staff to appropriate teams and departments, as well as hiring, training, and supporting employees. The average annual US salary is $96,579.

  • Project manager: This role often overlaps with resource managers. You'll manage resources specific to individual projects and allocate them accordingly. The average annual US salary is $93,031.

Senior-level careers in resource management

Many C-suite roles require resource management, among other responsibilities. For some jobs, that will mean working with specific resources. For example, you'll work with capital and other financial assets as a chief finance officer. However, as chief executive officer, you would take a high-level approach across the entire company. Some senior-level resource management roles  include:

  • Chief executive officer: In this role, you’ll be responsible for everything, including allocating capital and talent to each team and department in the company. The average annual salary is $255,509.

  • Chief finance officer: You will allocate and manage the organization's financial resources in this role. The average annual salary is $223,455

  • Chief technology officer: Among other tasks, allocating technological assets and resources to the appropriate people, teams, and departments will be an important part of your work. The average annual salary is $207,2211.

  • Chief human resources officer: In this role, you'll oversee HR managers and ensure that HR strategies and procedures allocate talent throughout the organization to meet its goals best. The average annual salary is $154,404.

Start a career in resource management

Resource management plays an essential role in projects and business. Pursuing a Professional Certificate on Coursera can help you build the necessary skills to become an effective resource manager. With the Google Project Management Professional Certificate, gain hands-on experience with industry tools to help develop your skill set as a resource manager.

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Related articles

Article sources

1. Project Management Institute. “Pulse of the Profession 2018: Success in Disruptive Times, https://www.pmi.org/-/media/pmi/documents/public/pdf/learning/thought-leadership/pulse/pulse-of-the-profession-2018.pdf.” Accessed July 24, 2022.

2. Zippia. “Resource Manager Education Requirements, https://www.zippia.com/resource-manager-jobs/education/” Accessed August 22, 2022.

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