Straight Talk on Project Management

IT project talent gap

Share this post


RSS feed

An IT Project talent gap 5 years ahead of its time needs a solution that’s a decade ahead of its.

Image of ‘Mind the Gap’ painted floor sign *  IT Project Managers and Business Analysts are in demand. More so than ever, it feels.

*  This has been on the cards for some time, but the last 12 months has really accelerated the problem.
*  IT Project teams that are not responding and adapting to these new talent supply challenges may be heading for serious problems.

Old Problem – New Urgency

A calendar note popped up on my phone today reminding me that I should start planning a blog that I wanted to write, for publication in May 2022! I know right! How organised am I?!

The blog was to be about a Project Management talent gap that was being forecast to exist by May 2022 and how to make sure your organisation doesn’t lose out (** Spoiler alert ** – it’s Stoneseed’s Project Management as a Service (PMaaS). More on that later).

This last year, I think events have gone into fast forward. The time for this blog is now. 

Why Originally May 2022?

Next May (2022) marks the halfway mark of the decade covered by Project Management Job Growth and Talent Gap 2017–2027, published by PMI in May 2017.

The PMI predicted demand for project manager over the next 10 years would grow faster than demand for workers in other occupations, in fact the project management “labour force” was expected to grow by a third (33%) across 11 countries (including the UK).

According to the PMI’s analysis, nearly 22 million project management jobs would be created during the next decade – and by 2027, employers would need nearly 88 million individuals working in project management-oriented roles. Within the UK alone, the project management profession was expected to have 168,196 new job openings between 2017 and 2027.

So, halfway through was a good time to test the temperature.

I had planned to spend this next year asking colleagues and clients to share their experience, crunch Stoneseed’s own data on Project Manager and Business Analyst demand and Stoneseed’s brilliant Head of Marketing Helen was to devise ways to canvass a wider audience via Stoneseed’s social media channels. It was going to be epic!

Then the pandemic happened. The world changed. Our IT Project world had already been changed by Brexit and IR35 – but this was a new level!

IT Projects became more reactive, business needs changed, organisations were struggling to recruit the right talent. There was almost no need to ask about demand – the talent gap, suddenly, was there for all to see!   

Back to May 2021 -A Talent Gap Ahead Of Its Time?

It’s not just the evidence of all of our eyes either.

As mentioned in a recent blog (“Pitch Perfect IT Project Resource Planning. You and Stoneseed UNITED To Deliver Your Business Goals”), Business Analyst and IT Project Managers are very much in demand.    

IT Business Analysts even make it onto the Shortage Occupation List (SOL), a Home Office published official list of the professions for which there are not enough candidates within the UK. According to Glassdoor, there are currently around 10,000 vacancies for Business Analyst roles across the UK and over 6,000 specifically for IT Business Analysts.

Glassdoor say that there are just shy of 23,000 Project Manager vacancies – best guesses from industry experts suggest that this could be closer to 30,000 when “hidden” vacancies are factored in, for instance, positions that will not be placed with recruitment firms or filled internally, etc.

Project managers are not on the SOL, but they are mentioned several times on the Skilled Worker visa eligible occupation list in different sectors, including, IT project managers, Business and financial project management professionals.

In addition, there other IT project related jobs that are also in high demand, project coordinators and project administrators, for example. Basically, if you have PRINCE II or APM PMQ qualifications, you will be in high demand in the UK which is great news if you’re a PM or a BA, but not so much if you need to hire one.

All on all, it means that we all need to double down on how we plan and resource projects.

Writing for Business Reporter in 2017, Mark A. Langley, the then president and CEO at the Project Management Institute said, “As organisations in the UK compete for the finite pool of critical talent, it is essential that they implement leading practices for finding, retaining and developing qualified project personnel.”

Mark Langley added, “While the talent gap will pose challenges to organisations worldwide, the global shortage of project talent will present exceptional opportunities for qualified professionals to begin and advance their careers in the project management industry.”

With our glass half full head on though, a global shortage of project talent does give us all the opportunity to become smarter with how we hire and how we resource our projects. Better capacity planning, more intelligent use of Project Management as a Service (PMaaS) resources and greater awareness of transparency around shortcomings will be key.

Working closely with companies and organisations accessing Stoneseed’s Project Management Assessment and helping teams resource their projects through Stoneseed’s Project Management as a Service, we have been given a unique insight into the challenges and how to grasp this once in a lifetime opportunity.

The thing is, even when there are talent gaps and shortages, the exact right person for your next project is out there – increased demand just means that they will have more choice. Lots of choice. More choice than ever!

Your business has just one choice – either attract these exact right people and resource your projects with your A-choice talent or don’t. It’s an easy choice, isn’t it? You want the right talent working on your project.

An IT Project Talent Gap 5 Years Ahead Of Its Time Needs A Solution That’s A Decade Ahead Of Its.

At Stoneseed our passion is to turn this choice into a reality.

Ask us about Project Management as a Service (Stoneseed’s team of Project Management and Technical Professionals, delivering services through a flexible, on-demand resourcing) and Remote Project Services (helping support your IT Project Delivery in these uncertain times and cover staffing shortfalls).

Stoneseed’s expertise is available on demand remotely, offering rapid response resources. You can align resources as and when you need it, on a cost effective, full-time or part-time basis.

This talent gap may be a year, perhaps even five years, ahead of its time. Fortunately, at Stoneseed, we’ve been preparing for this since the day we launched the business.

Our solutions are transparently costed, flexible, scalable, and underpinned by Stoneseed’s PMO, methodology and toolset – and they are ready to help you now. 


10 Most In-Demand Jobs in the UK 2021 | Glassdoor Blog
Business Reporter
Shortage Occupation List (SOL)
Project Management Job Growth and Talent Gap 2017–2027