Project Management: Your Country Needs You!

Aspiring Project Managers: Your country needs you!

At least that is the message from Dr. Ian Clarkson who presented at Project Challenge last month in London. It is his stated belief that there’s a ‘perfect storm brewing’ in the project profession and used research showing there’s a global shortage of project management professionals, the pace of change is increasing, demand for project managers is high and it is going to remain high for quite some time. You can see his full session from Project Challenge at the bottom of the page.

In fact the report by McKinsey – The future of work: Rethinking skills to tackle the UK’s looming talent shortage projects that there will be 5.5m underskilled workers in project management by 2030! (see figure below)

So there is a big gap to be filled. But according to stats from KPMG and Rec Report on Jobs project practitioners are already in short supply (not all sectors).

So how are we going to fill that gap?

We need to be looking to the next generation of Project Manager to do so, data from our most recent Project Management Benchmark Report (2020) shows an aging profession. With only 13% of respondents being in the age bracket of 34 and under. We need to capture this age group’s attention so that projects can continue to work with the best talent out there.

Examples of this are the IPMA’s Young Crew and initiatives such as their 2021 Global PM Days online, the next of which occurs later this month on November 27/28th with the topic of Self-Management & Self-Reflection.

Project Management needs a new look

Ian goes on to argue that we need a revolution of the Project Management domain. Demand is high, supply is low and the traditional way of working isn’t going to attract the next batch of project managers. They are going to want to work in a different way:

The new workforce wants their work to have deep mission and purpose. They don’t want old-style command and control bosses. They want coaches who inspire them, communicate with them, and develop their strengths.” – It’s the Manager, Jim Clifton & Jim Harter, Gallup

These are the sort of changes that may be needed to be made across the industry as a whole (not just the individual) in order to keep Project Management relevant in the years to come.

So what does the next generation PM look like?

The next generation coming through want and expect different things from their careers and workplaces compared to the majority of the current workforce. It’s not all about money! (although you won’t be able to get away with a low paycheck in exchange for cultural needs. A balance will need to be made.)

Jim Clifton & Jim Harter (as seen above) have illustrated what they believe is the project manager of the past and the future (see below)

They highlight practices and expectations that are very traditional and that have been around for a long time that need to change. In particular: annual reviews to ongoing conversations, my boss to my coach, and the one that really sticks out is my job – my life.

It’s about making sure we future-proof the Project Management profession. Building the right project/workforce culture will help us bridge that generational gap and keep Project Management as an attractive career choice for years to come.

You can see Dr Ian Clarksons full presentation at Project Challenge below:

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