Diversity in project management

by Elise Stevens | Futureproof Your Career Podcast

Why don’t more business leaders see women in the prime of their lives as an opportunity?

That’s the question asked by project management influencer Emily Luijbregts.

Emily believes a lack of diversity is one of the primary reasons major projects fail – but she says not enough people are talking about it.

In this chat with Elise Stevens, Emily points out women are still being asked about family planning in job interviews and are often not given the support they need to stay in the workforce into their 30s and 40s.

When she’s working with a project team, she sees a lack of diversity as an immediate red flag, but she notes many project leaders don’t even consider the gender and ethnic balance in their project teams.

As Elise Stevens points out, too many project management teams are overwhelmingly pale and male, with a lack of gender, race and cultural diversity.

In this podcast, Elise and Emily discuss why diversity is so important in project management and how women can support each other to career success.

Points raised in this podcast:

  • Diversity is crucial to making projects a success.
  • Only about 30% of project managers are women. This is partly because women are not always supported to stay in the workforce when they start families.
  • An APM study Where are the women in major projects leadership? found that a lack of flexible work, lack of role models, and unconscious bias were some of the factors preventing women from delivering major projects.
  • Trying to employ a project team in one geographical location may mean missing out on people with valuable skill sets.
  • Technology has made it possible to manage virtual teams all over the globe.
  • As influencers, it’s important to support women, and people from different ethnic backgrounds, in their careers.
  • Women often aren’t very good at self-promotion. A simple exercise that can help is taking 30 minutes to think about our unique skill set; what we’re good at and what we enjoy doing. Women who know their unique skill set are often more confident.
  • Women can help each other by sharing knowledge and supporting each other’s career successes.

About Emily Luijbregts:

Emily Luijbregts has been working in project management for more than 12 years. She is currently a project manager for Siemens PLM Software. Based in the UK, Emily is passionate about diversity in project management and has experience with virtual, global teams. Emily is also an avid coach and trainer, helping to develop the next generation of project professionals. She is a regular “Ask the Expert” and Knowledge SME at PMI Global Conferences.

You can check out Emily’s blog here or connect with her on LinkedIn.