Women still hold significantly fewer jobs than their male counterparts, despite efforts to bridge the gap.
This gender gap in employment is even starker in project management, where male project managers outnumber female project managers by 3:1, according to recent research from Project Management Institute (PMI).
The PMI’s 2022 Talent Gap report shows that in a sector marked by a talent shortage, the statistics point to underutilisation of skills women bring to the Project Economy and the loss of diversity in a male-dominated environment.
While women have advanced in the sector over the past few decades, the PMI Managing Director for sub-Saharan Africa George Asamani, says healthcare is the only industry where the gap is less than 20 percent.
“While there is a glaring disparity which has immediate negative implications for project teams, 88 percent of project professionals say having diverse project teams’ increases value,” says Asamani.
The global snapshot shows that male project managers outnumber their female counterparts worldwide and, in every sector, but the gaps differ significantly by region and industry.
In industries like telecom, information technology, construction, transportation/logistics, energy, aerospace, manufacturing, automotive, and consulting, male project managers outnumber females by more than 50 percent.
The report also found that women earn less than men and are slightly less likely to have a project management certification or degree.
While there are fewer women in the project workforce, they are slightly less likely than men to have a leadership role.
According to the United Nations, women earn about 20 percent less than men for work of equal value.
The president, PMI Kenya Chapter, Jeanne Mathenge, notes that for female project managers, the pay gap in most countries is below the global average but significant.
“In the salary survey, female project managers earn less than male project managers in every country surveyed,” added Mathenge.
On a positive note, despite the gaps in earnings and certification, data shows the disparity in leadership roles is relatively tiny.
An estimated 21 percent of women report some level of management role, compared to 23 percent of men.
Leadership positions include PMO director, portfolio manager, product manager, functional manager, and development manager.
While the total number of female managers is still significantly lower than that of male managers due to the overall gender disparity in the profession, this data shows that women are being provided opportunities to advance their careers and contribute at more strategic levels within organisations.
“This opportunity to move into leadership is a selling point hiring managers should emphasise when seeking to recruit more women into project management roles,” added Asamani.
According to the International Labour Organisation, the global labour force participation rate for women is just under 47 percent, compared with 72 percent for men.
The PMI’s Talent Gap report predicts that the number of jobs requiring project management-oriented skills, from economic growth to retirement rates, will create a global need for 25 million new project professionals by 2030.