The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) has received significant attention for its potential to stimulate the economy. New job opportunities are—and will—arise to execute projects to repair or update roads, bridges, and airports, improve broadband access, modernize power grids, and so on. In fact, the current U.S. administration estimates the $1.2 trillion-dollar investment will result in the creation of 1.5 million new U.S. jobs each year, and funding has already been distributed to 6,900 projects in all 50 states and U.S. territories. However, a recent report from the Brookings Institute highlighted challenges that may arise from this increased demand, including the potential to intensify the labor shortage. 

Infrastructure-adjacent industries struggle with recruitment and hiring, implementing effective on-the-job training, and lack of employee retention. These industries are also facing a “silver tsunami,” with nearly 50% of workers above the age of 45, and about 25% older than 55. To no surprise, the National Center for Construction Education and Research predicts that 41% of current U.S. construction workers will retire by 2031. So, the industry will face a hefty loss of experienced workers, increasing the need to address the existing cracks in the workforce. Otherwise, the impact of the investment in U.S. infrastructure could be at risk.

Project Management Institute (PMI) released a Talent Gap report which highlights a growing demand for project professionals in the global economy. Approximately 25 million new project professionals will be required by 2023 to meet this demand, and to fill that talent gap, 2.3 million people will need to join the project management profession every year. Effective project management plays a vital role in getting almost anything done, but certified project managers at the helm of a project are even more crucial to ensure they’re executed in a safe, sustainable, and cost-effective way.

Here are three ways to help secure and develop project management talent to lead these important projects: 


Eighty-eight percent of construction contractors report moderate-to-high levels of difficulty in finding skilled workers. The infrastructure workforce, however, skews older, male, and white. Women make up only 18.5% of infrastructure workers and Black, Latino or Hispanic and Asian-American workers are similarly underrepresented. Women and groups currently underrepresented in the workforce are a source of previously untapped talent. Consider creative recruitment approaches by partnering with educational institutions, trade and labor groups, and community organizations in your area or nationally. Local colleges and professional organizations like Women of Project Management, which supports women and women of color in the project management industry, can help create a new pipeline of potential recruits. 


Upskilling and reskilling are essential in the infrastructure field. Not only do they contribute to greater efficiency and improved outcomes, but they also serve as powerful motivators for project professionals. PMI research indicates that upskilling opportunities are more important than higher salaries in motivating senior level employees. 

So, what kind of skills are most valuable? Technical skills, particularly in scoping, scheduling, and budgeting are important. But so are interpersonal skills, such as communication, collaborative leadership, and empathy. Research by PMI and PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) suggests that a mix of technical and interpersonal, or what we at PMI call “power skills,” will be most desirable in project managers of the future.

PMI research also shows that organizations that place a high priority on interpersonal skills are more likely to meet business goals (72% vs 65%), experience less scope creep (28% vs 40%) and suffer less budget loss (17% vs 25%) than organizations that do not prioritize these skills. 


While there’s not much organizations can do to stop the rising tide of industry retirements, companies can do more to enhance their attractiveness as employers. The key is investing in employees. Ninety-four percent of employees in LinkedIn’s Workplace Learning Report said they are more likely to stay with a company that invests in their career.

Salary, benefits, and training are all part of this equation. But some companies are going further—taking a more holistic approach to professional development programs that include industry certifications and memberships in professional service organizations. For example, PMI now offers a certification created specifically for project managers in the construction industry, Construction Professional in Built Environment Projects (PMI-CP)™. Professional certifications can be enhanced by creating a community around them. A professional membership—like the PMI® membership—creates a community across industries to help project professionals evolve their skills, broaden their perspectives, and find community, support, and encouragement. 


The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act creates a sizable opportunity for the infrastructure industry to create new job opportunities. Still, the success of the investment hinges on the availability of a skilled and capable workforce, especially in project management. By implementing creative new recruitment practices, investing in upskilling and reskilling, and enhancing retention efforts, organizations can bridge the talent gap and build a more sustainable and thriving industry, benefiting the workforce and communities across the United States.  

About the Author:

Raphael Ani is global business development lead, construction, at Project Management Institute (PMI). Ani is responsible for growing PMI’s global impact through the organization’s first vertical offering: Construction Professional in Built Environment Projects (PMI-CP)™. Through organizational relationships, education, and sales centered on PMI-CP, Ani supports and enables project managers across the world to gain the skills and knowledge needed to transform the construction industry. For more, visit

Modern Contractor Solutions, May 2023
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