Project Management

Opportunity Amid Recovery: A Look Across the World

28 Apr 2022
Michael DePrisco
Despite ongoing shocks, the global economy continues to rebound from the COVID-19 pandemic, creating new opportunities for project professionals in all parts of the world. Michael DePrisco delves into PMI’s latest Jobs Report to highlight those opportunities by industry and region.

Person on a balcony looking over a city skyline at nightImage by Dmitry Berdnyk on Unsplash

According to PMI’s 2021 Talent Gap report, the world will need 25 million new project management employees by 2030. That translates into 2.3 million employees per year that will be needed to keep up with growing investments in infrastructure, healthcare, mobility, digital transformation and renewable energy projects.  

All this is good news for project professionals, of course. But what will demand look like in your region and industry? PMI’s new 2022 Jobs Report offers some answers. The report provides a region-by-region look at the hot sectors and emerging trends driving employment demand across the profession. 

As with any forecast, of course, the ultimate reality may differ from our projections. The global economy continues to struggle with inflation, supply chain disruptions and talent shortages. Despite these concerns, however, we at PMI expect demand for project management talent to remain strong in 2022. Even if specific regional or industry growth numbers should change, the overall contour of demand should remain largely intact. Here then is a round-the-world look at the prospects for project management employment in 2022: 

Asia Pacific 

All 40 Asia Pacific countries surveyed in our study expressed optimism about demand for project management professionals. Positive hiring sentiments were particularly strong in banking, finance, IT and telecoms, while construction, healthcare, government and social work face possible contractions. Fintech is expected to grow 16 percent annually through 2026. One potential challenge: Workers between the ages of 15 and 24 make up roughly 20 percent of the 700 million employees in the region but nearly half of its jobless population. To meet growing demand, employers will need to invest in targeted hiring and training initiatives.  

China 

Steady economic growth—albeit at somewhat slower pace than in years past—and a commitment to new job creation will drive ongoing demand for project professionals. The manufacturing and retail sectors are proving particularly resilient, and pharmaceuticals, green energy, technology and telecom are also expected to grow. Indeed, China is preparing a major buildout of 5G infrastructure over the next few years and is investing billions in wind farms, solar power stations and biomass power generators. What’s more, the country has committed to creating 55 million new urban jobs by 2025—which is certain to buoy demand for project professionals.  

Europe 

Before the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Europe’s economy was rebounding. The impact of the conflict, however, is now being felt throughout the region and, indeed, around the world, as global growth slows and inflation surges. Digitization is driving demand for IT project professionals, and labor shortages coupled with supply-chain disruptions are creating demand in such industries as transportation and construction. Also benefiting the employment outlook, several countries are taking measures to stimulate economic growth. The UK, for example, passed a large tax break, while France is investing €30 billion in several business sectors. Meanwhile, European tech funding hit an all-time high in 2021, with US$121 billion in investments, and the European Green Deal, launched in December 2019, aims to make the European Union the first climate-neutral bloc by 2050. All promising growth sectors for project professionals. 

Latin America 

Demand for project professionals is spiking throughout Latin America, especially for project professionals who are up to date on novel technologies like AI and who are adept at navigating the pandemic. Opportunities exist across industries, but particularly in technology and manufacturing. Indeed, a study released recently by Brazil’s Softex found that 400,000 IT jobs may go unfilled in 2022, which may have knock-on effects in such sectors as healthcare, retail, education and financial services. Project professional demand in the construction sector is being driven by several large megaprojects, including the US$12.4 billion Dos Bocas oil refinery in Mexico and the US$2 billion project to build a circular highway connecting 11 districts of Lima, Peru. 

Middle East and North Africa 

Project activity in MENA is picking up, as many of the region’s key industries show signs of recovery. Project professionals will find opportunities in traditional areas like energy, construction and tourism, as well as emerging sectors such as sports, IT and e-commerce. Tourism, for example, grew 27 percent in 2021, and events like Expo 2020 Dubai and the FIFA World Cup in Qatar should boost those numbers this year. In the construction sector, spending in the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council is expected to exceed US$110 billion for a second straight year. And in the energy sector, oil production is trending upward, and several renewable energy projects are underway, including the Al Dhafra Solar Photovoltaic Plant in the UAE and renewable energy and green hydrogen projects in Oman.  

North America 

Continued economic growth is expected in the U.S. and Canada, but companies will continue to be hindered by talent shortages, ongoing supply chain disruptions and inflation. These issues, however, will push organizations toward further automation and digitization, driving greater demand for project talent. In the U.S., professional and business services, transportation, construction, manufacturing and healthcare are expected to experience the biggest hiring gains, while in Canada, demand for talent in agriculture, mining, manufacturing and energy could increase as exports recover in 2022, following a decline in foreign investments in the first half of 2021.  

South Asia 

Global demand for manufactured goods from South Asia continues to increase. IT remains a strong sector for project professionals, as does telecom, where hiring activity grew 91 percent between November 2020 and November 2021. India’s significant role in the electronics supply chain is expected to fuel continued growth in that country with three major cities—Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Pune—showing the biggest hiring increases. Across the region, project professionals with eight to 12 years of experience are likely to be most in demand. 

Sub-Saharan Africa 

Global trade and rising commodity prices are the primary drivers of growth in Sub-Saharan Africa. Nearly a third of global aid—roughly US$32 billion—is spent in Africa, and that’s fueling new development jobs across the region, up to 45 percent of which will need project management talent. Many of these jobs will be for much-needed infrastructure improvements such as updated water supply systems, roads and housing. Because this region is particularly vulnerable to the impact of climate change—despite accounting for less than 5 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions—job training for solar and renewable energy projects will be essential for continued growth. Fintech is also a growing opportunity for project professionals. Overall funding for fintech startups is surging, with 60 percent of Q3 2021 venture funds, or roughly US$906 million, invested in the sector, according to Digest Africa. 

For more information, you can download the full 2022 PMI Jobs Report above.

Michael DePrisco Michael DePrisco

As PMI's Interim President & CEO and Chief Operating Officer, Michael (Mike) DePrisco provides executive leadership to the Global Operations Group, supporting more than 1.2M active certification holders, 650,000 members and 300 chapters from over 200 countries. He is responsible for the Product Portfolio, Lean Portfolio & Product Integration, Customer Care, and Digital Groups. His team's focus is on digital product delivery and management, and the successful execution of all major initiatives.