The global economy will need 25 million new project professionals to carry out infrastructure development initiatives by 2030. Joe Cahill, chief customer officer with the Project Management Institute, discusses solutions to the shortfall.
PMI’s latest Talent Gap Report identifies a pressing need for project professionals in the coming years, if critical new infrastructure projects are to go forward. Specifically, it finds, 2.3 million people will need to enter project-management roles each year between now and 2030 to meet the demand. And the need will grow even greater as new projects focusing on transportation, power grids and broadband are authorized.
The shortage of project professionals isn’t a new phenomenon, but it’s been growing for years, Cahill says. “It’s been a building pain point.” What’s new is a particularly strong need for talent to support projects in emerging and development countries, especially China and in South Asia, which together account for 80% of the demand. That requires the industry to adopt a global approach to the problem. “Geography doesn’t matter anymore for I.T. and professional roles,” Cahill says. “Project professionals are going to be moving more and more around the world.”
Reasons for the shortage are many. They extend all the way to the nation’s educational system, which hasn’t stressed project-management skills in curriculums. Cahill sees a need for PMI and industry players to expand their awareness and recruiting efforts to high schools and colleges. “We need to move earlier and earlier in people’s educational experience,” he says.
Private companies can do their part by focusing on reskilling and upskilling their workforces. “There’s a huge demand for new skills,” Cahill says, stressing the need for “changemakers,” even as technology advances to alter the profile of the typical project professional around the world.
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