New Report Highlights Project Management Talent Gap

Written by
Rebecca Smith

Jun 24, 2021

Jun 24, 2021 • by Rebecca Smith

The Project Management Institute, a leading non-profit organization and association for project management professionals, recently released a report that revealed a strong disparity between the demand for talented project management professionals and their availability. The report, titled “Talent Gap: Ten-Year Employment Trends, Costs, and Global Implications,” analyzes a ten-year outlook on employment in the project management sector. 

Skill gaps exist when the skills necessary to perform a job differ from the skill set the candidate possesses. For instance, a potential candidate with experience managing internal projects at a consulting company might not understand how to use advanced project management software or work in an agile culture. 

The report suggests a global need for 25 million new project professionals by 2030, influenced largely by the rise in the number of jobs that require project management skills, rising retirement rates, and economic growth. To stay on track with this projection, 2.3 million project management professionals would need to fill project management roles each year. 

The report goes on to assess why the project management gap exists, the impact it will have on economic growth, and how organizations can work towards closing the gap. 

“Projects and the changemakers behind those projects play a vital role in the global economy and society as a whole,” said Joe Cahill, Chief Customer Officer of PMI. “And while project managers are the quintessential changemaker, any individual who possesses project management skills can help steer change. Upskilling the workforce and empowering a new generation of talent with project management skills will be critical in narrowing the talent gap and creating positive impact.”

Several companies have already begun the process of upskilling their workforce. Technology training startup WithYouWithMe partnered with Accenture to help re-skill military vets in the tech field. Veterans were not required to have any background in a specific technology, but the premise was to help guide veterans with strong, disciplined skill sets into collateral positions. For instance, an Army veteran with engineering experience could be re-skilled to adopt more IT-specific skills. 

Upskilling, on the other hand, is when organizations focus on helping talented individuals broaden their skillset. IT consulting company Infosys launched its online Reskill & Restart program to educate participants in different sectors of technology, including project management, cloud security and architecture, and DevOps. 

“The platform also offers guided training in technology and other career-based programs designed to get people, including those without Bachelor’s Degrees, into the workforce while also gaining simultaneous job experience,” says Infosys’ website. 

Another report from the Project Management Institute found that companies lost $120,000 for every million they spent when projects were mismanaged. At a high level overview, the Global GDP could be facing a $345.5 billion loss if the gap continues to exist. Regions with lower GDPs will need to rely on project management positions to improve productivity and produce positive long-term results. 

The high demand for and shortage of project management-related talent makes the financial benefits more lucrative for qualified prospects. Project management positions pay, on average, 78% more than positions unrelated to project management. Project management positions paid $111,399 compared to other industries with project management requirements, which paid an average of $62,572.

The successful management of projects plays a crucial role in the success of a business and its economic contribution. The fastest growing sector of project management lies within the software development and civil engineering industry. Project management is also one of the highest paying engineering careers in North America. With a rise in healthcare technology, blockchain, cryptocurrency, mobile applications, and an increased need for effective IT solutions, project management is necessary to ensure smooth and cost-effective transitions from start to finish. 

Another reason contributing to a lower number of qualified candidates is the evolution of the project management role. Much like software development, modern project managers need to adapt to changes to technology and methodologies. 

The antiquated project management approach was highly siloed. By nature, a siloed management structure keeps managers, stakeholders, staff, and other leaders separate. For example, graphic design teams might not always know what’s happening on the IT side of projects, or sales teams might be disconnected from what’s happening in marketing. In siloed environments, upper management is responsible for acting as the liaison between these teams and often holds high-value information closely. 

This siloed approach and upper management constriction can quickly create a culture of micromanagement and subjugation. With underlying tones of micromanagement in the workplace, employees will often second guess their ability to think critically on their own or problem solve without approval. And often, this creates a bottleneck in project scope. 

Today’s project managers need to be well-versed in cloud-based project management software, best telecommuting practices, DevOps, agile methodologies, and industry-specific tools. They need to embody the continuous delivery, continuous integration philosophy. Moving forward, more companies will focus their efforts on upskilling and re-skilling their workforce.