Professional associations can help youth overcome AI anxiety


From its Davos debut in 2023, ChatGPT took just seven days to hit the one million user mark. According to UBS, it took Facebook 10 months and Twitter 25 months for the same. Since then, the conversational artificial intelligence (AI) model has come to be referenced as the new bogeyman amid reports that it will likely replace humans in jobs. Students across various educational institutions have good reason to be anxious. According to the Institute of the Future, 85 percent of the jobs that will exist in 2030 haven’t been invented yet!

There is no denying that AI will profoundly impact the future of work. Generative AI holds the potential to take over segments of marketing, copywriting, design, legal work, etc. – just like innovations of the past decade did to cashiers or travel agents. However, it remains aware of its limitations and believes that “jobs that require a high degree of creativity or interpersonal skills are less likely to be replaced by AI”. These skills are innate to project managers.

Project Management Institute’s (PMI) Talent Gap predicts an increase in the number of jobs requiring project management-oriented skills because of higher demand due to economic growth and retirement rates. These trends will create a global need for 25 million new project professionals by 2030. If the roles are not filled, it could result in a possible loss of up to US$345.5billion in global GDP.

Regardless of which jobs AI swallows, it is prudent that the youth commit to life-long learning and up-skilling. Joining a professional association is strongly recommended for students and early career professionals. Staying informed about trends, access to learning resources, and being intentional about professional development will give the youth a head-start to prepare for the future of work.

‘Power’ and ‘Soft’ skills are among the most essential a membership can help you sharpen. Being a member of an association opens avenues to volunteer. One can step into multiple ‘official’ roles such as youth ambassador and student coordinator, which will help develop power skills. Having real-world experience using power skills to accomplish goals or overcome obstacles gives one a tremendous edge when job-hunting.

There are associations or organisations that cater to nearly every type of profession. For project management, it is the Project Management Institute – a for-purpose, not-for-profit organisation.

At PMI, student members enjoy the same valuable benefits afforded to practitioners. Student members receive digital downloads of the latest Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK) Guide, certification discounts and access to tools and resources such as PMI’s Career Navigator, which supports career progression by creating a personalised plan. Student members also gain access to networking opportunities through various events and activities, and instantly join a network of over 450,000 project professionals worldwide.

It is imperative for students to prepare for the future of work by building professional equity, networking and finding a mentor. Membership can do all that and give them the comfort of being part of a larger community with common interests.

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