Female Project Managers Reveal Their Wish List For The Profession Ahead Of International Women’s Day

Findings discovered in new survey from Association for Project Management

  • Increased levels of learning and development and greater emphasis on equality are the main changes women in the project profession want to see over the next 12 months.
  • Female project managers see the impacts of Brexit being the biggest challenge to the profession, whereas artificial intelligence and automation are seen as its biggest opportunity.

4 March 2021 – A new survey by Association for Project Management (APM), the chartered body for the project profession, reveals how women want to see the profession change in the near future, as well as the main challenges and opportunities they anticipate. 

The survey of 1,000 project professionals, undertaken for APM by research company Censuswide, included responses from 362 women (including trans women) and found some significant differences between the opinions of female project practitioners and their male counterparts.

The findings have been shared ahead of International Women’s Day (8 March 2021), a global celebration of the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women.

The survey findings show the main ways that female project managers feel the profession needs to change in the next 12 months are:

  • Increased levels of learning and development through professional life (cited by 34 per cent of female respondents)
  • Greater emphasis on equality and diversity (cited by 34 per cent of female respondents)
  • Become more adaptive (cited by 31 per cent of female respondents)

By contrast, male respondents most commonly cited ‘building partnerships to deliver project training to other professionals’ (37 per cent); making projects more central to an organisation’s strategic plan’ (37 per cent); and ‘increased levels of learning and development through professional’ (36 per cent).

When asked about the main challenges facing the project profession in the next five years, female project managers pointed primarily towards the impacts of Britain leaving the European Union (cited by 28 per cent of female respondents).

However, many indicated that they see potential positives associated with Brexit, with 25 percent of female respondents saying that they see it as the main opportunity for the project profession. This placed it narrowly behind artificial intelligence, automation, and big data, which 26 percent of female respondents felt is the main opportunity for the project profession.

Previous research by APM has found that project practitioners view report generation and document management as areas ripe for automation.

Vicki Griffiths, chair of APM’s Women in Project Management Specific Interest Group (WiPM SIG), suggested the survey findings could indicate that women anticipate such project-related tasks could become automated in future, freeing up time for more value-adding work.

She said: “It’s exciting to know that female project managers have played and will continue to play a key role in delivering this emerging technological revolution. Whether it’s implementing digital transformation programmes in business, digitising key government services, or building technology-enabled infrastructure, women working in project management are at the forefront of making change happen.

“As the chartered body for the project profession, APM actively supports the continuous learning and development of project practitioners through qualifications, online learning resources, mentoring and the Chartered Project Professional standard. APM is also leading the conversation on equality on diversity through the findings of its research programme. This means that project managers – regardless of gender – are properly represented and supported.”

Visit the APM page for the Women in Project Management special interest group for more information about APM’s WiPM SIG.

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