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Grace Najjar

PMI highlights skills gap in Mena

DUBAI, August 4, 2021

Project Management Institute (PMI), the world's leading association for project professionals and changemakers, has identified a gap between the demand for project management skills and the availability of talent. 
 
According to research conducted by PMI — Talent Gap: Ten-Year Employment Trends, Costs, and Global Implications 2021 — this persistent gap opens a host of new job opportunities in project management-oriented employment (PMOE) across the Middle East and North Africa (Mena), owing to the region’s economic growth.
 
The report highlights that the global economy needs 25 million new project professionals by 2030. To close the talent gap, 2.3 million people will need to enter PMOE every year just to keep up with demand — this includes project managers and all changemakers. The gap between talent and demand is accentuated in the Mena region, due to high youth unemployment and two-thirds of the population being under the age of 35. In total, this gap could cost the region up to $3 billion in GDP by 2030.
 
As outlined in the study, upskilling Mena workforce and equipping a new generation of talent with the necessary project management skills will be critical to narrowing and eventually bridging the PMOE talent gap. In spite of the challenges to addressing the shortage of qualified project management professionals in the Middle East and North Africa, PMI’s findings sound an optimistic note. While the region’s annual demand for PMOE is expected to rise to 2.6 million in 2030, the projected rate of PMOE growth — 37% — is promising.
 
Notably, Saudi Arabia has seen a surge of talent entering the project management sector in recent years. Today, the project management profession is ranked among the five most popular occupations by expatriates working in Saudi Arabia. 
 
This surge and growing popularity can be attributed to local leadership’s efforts to bolster the national economy. The kingdom's Vision 2030 programme has been launched to address environmental issues and implement sustainable solutions. These include the establishment of a new National Project Management Organisation (NPMO) to enhance the quality of project execution in public entities.
 
Also known as "Mashroat," the NPMO will help Saudi government bodies create their own project management offices to reduce inefficiencies and better manage large-scale infrastructure projects —including many tied to the country's Vision 2030 plan to diversify the economy away from the oil industry. 
 
The UAE has also taken strides to advance the region’s economy by investing in its project management capabilities. The country has launched an array of initiatives in line with its Vision 2021 National Agenda to develop a knowledge-based economy built on innovation. 
 
This transition from oil and gas towards more sustainable sectors is expected to lead to project growth in manufacturing, information automation, tourism and transportation, creating — as underlined in PMI’s latest report — even more PMOE opportunities. 
 
As in the case of Saudi Arabia, the UAE is well-positioned to build on the growth of its project management space, following the launch of a government programme to train and certify 500 government employees working on projects linked to UAE Vision 2021 and the National Agenda.
 
PMI has also committed to supplying the federal government with skilled, qualified project management employees.
 
Qatar, as with Saudi Arabia and the UAE, has launched a range of national initiatives and programmes to boost its economy, and these projects are expected bolster the country’s project management sector and capabilities.  Qatar National Vision 2030 (QNV 2030) was established to transform the kingdom into an  advanced society capable of sustaining its development and providing a high standard of living for its people. 
 
Prioritising environmental development, QNV 2030 aims to create a sustainable future, and – accordingly -   a range of future-focused programmes have been set up to reduce carbon dioxide emissions and air pollution, and help the nation transition to a reliance on renewable energy. Qatar is also set to host the first carbon-neutral football FIFA World Cup in 2022 by using solar-powered stadiums and groundbreaking cooling and lighting technology.
 
The establishment of these wide-ranging projects and policies is expected to transform Qatar’s project management space, spurring its continued growth. 
 
Grace Najjar, Managing Director of PMI Mena, said: “PMI’s latest report provides revealing insight into the region’s project management sector; highlighting pressing challenges, while also spotlighting opportunities for us to grow. Across the GCC, we have seen a new generation of project management come to the fore, thanks to the direction and guidance of local leadership. It is important that we continue to empower more people to fulfil their potential and take up influential Project Management and Delivery roles. This will help closing the talent gap and meeting the strategy of the region to lay the foundations for a brighter and better future for people, work, and communities across the GCC and Mena as a whole.”-- TradeArabia News Service
 



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