Shifting Globalization Dynamics

Megatrends 2021: Shifting Globalization Dynamics

Emerging markets may have rocketed onto the global stage, but serious infrastructure and education investments are needed to help them move beyond middle-income status.

The global economic axis has been tilting toward promising emerging and developing markets for some time. But their early embrace of the services sector has led to a slowing of the rapid industrialization needed to achieve gains in standards of living. As a result, these countries may be condemned to permanent middle-income status and become less attractive to global multinationals.

To break through, these countries require investment in infrastructure and education, said Farhad Abdollahyan, head of the project management office, UN Office for Project Services (UNOPS), Niamey, Niger. To that end, the organization invests in a range of projects, from improving irrigation in drought-stricken countries to improving access to the internet. “Every project is different but they all follow the same logic: create sustainable opportunities in the community to generate revenue and reduce poverty.”

Demographic shifts in emerging economies are also cause for concern. In 2020, millennials and Gen Zers staked their claim as the majority of the global workforce, with more than one-third living in just two countries: India and China. Those two countries also represent more than 75 percent of the nearly 88 million individuals needed in project management-oriented roles by 2027.11 Yet while large, young populations in emerging markets may sound good, the reality is high unemployment and rising poverty levels, both worsened by the pandemic. There’s also often a disconnect between organizations and young talent in understanding needs, aspirations, and ways of working.

Project leaders can help bridge that gap. At Ericsson, new trainees spend three to six months in a CEO-led program where they move among different areas of the company to see how each team works. “The company believes that they will be the next generation that will rule the company,” said Nelson Rosamilha, PMI-ACP, PMP, regional head of project management, Ericsson, São Paulo, Brazil.12 “So we are forming a new generation of leaders.”


Read the previous megatrend: Civil, Civic, and Equality Movements

Read the next megatrend: Mainstream Artificial Intelligence



11. Project Management Job Growth and Talent Gap 2017–2027, PMI, 2017.

12. “The Youthquake Arrives,” PM Network, July/August 2020.

  • Megatrends 2021

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In 2020, Millenials and Gen Zers staked their claim as the majority of the global workforce, with more than one-third living in just two countries: India and China.

361 million
Number of youth in Central and Southern Asia in 2019—the world's largest cohort

Youth unemployment rate in South Asia in 2019