Future of project management: empowering Millennials and Gen Z

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  • Future of project management: empowering Millennials and Gen Z
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Alyaa Al Wahab


Alyaa Al Wahab


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We’ll need a staggering 25 million new project managers by 2030.

This isn’t just a bold prediction – it’s a call to action for businesses and industries worldwide. Research published by the Project Management Institute highlights that project management skills account for 3% of all jobs globally, equating to around 90 million positions. By 2030, this figure is expected to grow to 3.2%, or approximately 102 million jobs. However, considering the additional 13 million project managers retiring by then, we face a significant gap in the workforce. So, who will fill these roles?

The answer: Millennials and Gen Z.

These younger generations bring digital fluency, adaptability, and a global mindset – qualities essential for managing complex projects and solving intricate problems. As we look to the future, here’s how we can attract and retain top talent from this generational pool:

1. Align work experience with personal values

Millennials and Gen Z prioritise working environments that resonate with their personal values, seeking roles that allow them to contribute to something greater than themselves. To attract this talent, businesses must offer workplaces and activities that align with these values. This means emphasising sustainability, social responsibility, and ethical practices.

How we do this: fostering numerous CSR activities such as RLB’s annual Ramadan Box Appeal, environmental activities as well as sports initiatives that promote wellbeing.

2. Create meaningful contributions

Younger generations are motivated by the impact they can make. Projects that meaningfully contribute to the greater good are highly attractive. By showcasing how their work can lead to positive societal or environmental changes, organisations can engage these future leaders more effectively.

How we do this: building our sustainability and carbon services to help construction projects move towards a greener future.

3. Embrace digital fluency

Millennials and Gen Z are digital natives, comfortable with technology and innovation. Integrating advanced project management tools, fostering a culture of continuous learning, and promoting tech-savvy approaches will resonate with them. Encourage the use of collaborative software, data analytics, and other digital tools that streamline project management processes.

How we do this: by seeking to understand and embrace AI and BIM in our projects.

4. Foster a global mindset

These generations are accustomed to a connected world and bring a global perspective to their work. Encourage cross-cultural collaboration and provide opportunities for international projects. This not only leverages their global mindset but also enhances their ability to manage diverse teams and complex global projects.

How we do this: RLB’s GEEP Programme

5. Support adaptability and innovation

In an ever-changing work environment, adaptability is key. Millennials and Gen Z excel in dynamic settings that require innovative thinking. Cultivate an organisational culture that values flexibility, embraces change, and encourages creative problem-solving. Provide opportunities for professional development and continuous learning to help them grow and adapt.

How we do this: through our work on some of the world’s most exciting and innovative projects, such as the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi, Dubai’s Expo 2020 and Qatar’s Lusail City.

6. Provide mentorship and development

The 25 million future project managers are out there, and it’s our responsibility to find and mentor them. Establish robust mentorship programs that pair experienced project managers with younger talent. This not only facilitates knowledge transfer but also helps build a strong sense of community and support within the organisation.

How we do this: our long-running graduate and RICS mentorship programmes.

As we prepare for the future of project management, it’s crucial to recognise the potential of Millennials and Gen Z. Their digital fluency, adaptability, and global mindset make them ideal candidates for leading complex projects. If we understand their values and offer clear, structured support we can attract, retain, and develop the next generation of project management leaders. I think the future is bright, and the 25 million project managers of tomorrow are ready to take on the challenge – let’s empower them to succeed.

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