Australian business leaders are still not prioritising skill development

Ben Breen, Managing Director for Asia Pacific and Global Head of Construction at PMI

Project Management Institute (PMI), the world’s leading professional organisation for the project management profession, recently published the 14th edition of its annual highly anticipated Pulse of the Profession® report. This premier annual global survey of project professionals seeks to understand all the major trends in the project management profession, with this year’s report examining the correlation between power skills and project success.

What does the PMI Pulse of the Profession report say?

Across the professionals surveyed, regardless of region, industry, experience, leadership level, or Project Management Professional certification status, there was consensus around the most critical power skills: communication, problem-solving, collaborative leadership, and strategic thinking. As noted in the PMI Talent Triangle, power skills are critical for project professionals to navigate the changing world of work and embrace smarter ways of working.

The report says that organisations that are sufficiently tapping into power skills, in addition to technical skills and business acumen, can expect to be much better at handling complex project challenges, market changes, technological adoptions, and socioeconomic pressures.

The survey found that Australian organisations that are placing a high priority on key power skills tend to perform better against multiple key drivers of success. Seventy percent of their projects successfully met business goals, only 35 percent of their projects experienced scope creep, and they experienced less budget loss (22 percent) when a project failed.

How are these key power skills improving management?

Additionally, about 40% of Australian organisations report high benefit realisation of management maturity. Around the world, organisations prioritising key power skills are approximately three times more likely to report high benefit realisation management maturity, which is the number one key driver of success for projects identified in the research report.

Furthermore, these organisations are two times more likely to state high project management maturity, and approximately three times more likely to report high organisational agility. And while nine out of ten project professionals across the globe agree that power skills help them work smarter, organisations face challenges in prioritising the development of power skills.

In fact, the report cites cost as the number one barrier to developing power skills, followed by a lack of perceived value. Futhermore, project professionals said they spend 46 percent of professional development hours on technical skills and only 29 percent on power skills.

“In a time where power skills shortages are plaguing many industries around the country, stifling progress, the benefits of upskilling employees is crystal clear. Heading into a new year, now is the time for Australian business leaders to reset and focus on equipping employees with skills that are going to build individual capabilities and further achieve project goals,” said Ben Breen, Managing Director for Asia Pacific and Global Head of Construction at PMI.

“While technical skills and business acumen will always be important in project management and generally, research shows leaders must prioritise the development of power skills to drive successful outcomes, better work environments and well-rounded teams primed for success.”

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