Demographic Shifts

Demographic Shifts

PMI’s 2021 Talent Gap report, a forecast of employment trends for the next decade, predicts that the global economy needs 25 million new project professionals by 2030. With declining fertility rates and an increasing percentage of workers aging out of the workforce, organizations will need to find new ways to alleviate worker shortages and close the talent gap.

Companies have been quick to recognize the opportunities that exist to meet the needs of aging populations, particularly through technology. IBM, for example, has developed smart-home environments that leverage the IoT and cognitive computing to monitor daily health and activities. MyndVR offers immersive solutions to combat social isolation among seniors, and Austria-based traffic technology group SWARCO offers a smart traffic light app that adapts to changing mobility patterns.

Many developed economies are experiencing a rise in effective retirement age, which has implications for redesigning workspaces to accommodate older employees, recruitment, physical and mental well-being, and performance management.

Working more years, however, won't offset the overall decline in working-age populations. The need for skilled project managers and other changemakers is only going to increase as industries become more projectized. This talent gap is being exacerbated by COVID-related travel restrictions and the Great Resignation, the wave of resignations that began during the pandemic.

Global Megatrends 2022

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1. 2. 3 . 4 . 5 . Preserve knowledge from departing workers.Less than one-half of organizations have a formal knowledge transfer process.

As people rethink work/life balance, and despite some older generations remaining in the workforce, organizations will seek to attract younger employees. Project managers will have to develop the necessary leadership skills and work closely with human resource managers to implement equitable and inclusive policies to support age-diverse personnel.

Educational technology is critical to both young people and society.

Technology strategist, NTT DATA Corp. and vice president of the PMI Japan Chapter

Developing the Next-Gen Workforce: Interview With Takeshi Hayama, Ph.D., PMP

Takeshi Hayama is a technology strategist at NTT DATA Corp. and vice president of the PMI Japan Chapter.

Japan is home to the world’s oldest population, and although it's highly prepared to meet the challenges this brings, many issues remain. We spoke with Takeshi Hayama, technology strategist at NTT DATA Corp. in Tokyo, to get his views on this important topic.

Although many older people are working past retirement age, industries that require a high degree of specialization are facing a talent crunch as they seek the next generation of workers. Hayama explains that AI and robots are being used to alleviate the shortage of skilled workers. "Especially in the area of maintenance of public infrastructure, technologies such as IoT, AI and drones are used for early detection of defects and reduction of repair costs."

Hayama says that globalization and IT development have polarized the Japanese labor market into occupations that require high skills and creativity and ones with low wages. "Young people can no longer rely on Japan's traditional lifetime employment system or on retraining programs provided by companies. As a result, they must improve their capabilities independently. Professional associations, like PMI, and industrial organizations are playing a part in supporting their development."

To support the development of young project managers, Hayama believes there is a need for education that enhances practical skills. “In Japan,” Hayama says, "Project management is often a component of a job rather than a profession, so it is assumed that the project manager has advanced knowledge of the business domain and sufficient soft skills. Educational technology is critical to both young people and society for efficient and autonomous learning to adapt to change."

For Japan, we have no choice except to select globalization. We need to collaborate with the United States. We need to keep in touch with a wide range of countries to mitigate the risks of depending on a few specific countries.

Technology strategist, NTT DATA Corp. and vice president of the PMI Japan Chapter

Responding to demographic shifts

Takeshi Hayama, Ph.D., PMP, technology strategist, NTT Data Corporation, Japan, discusses how project management can help Japan meet the needs of an aging population.
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  1. OECD. (2019). OECD employment outlook 2019: The future of work.
  2. Project Management Institute (PMI). (2021, June). Talent gap: Ten-year employment trends, costs, and globa