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Project management ‘contributes £156bn’ to UK economy

Apr 11
Tags: PwC, UK: London
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Project management contributes £156 billion to the UK’s economy, new figures from PwC UK and the Association for Project Management (APM) show.

The report - entitled The Golden Thread - revealed that project management generates approximately £156.5 billion of Gross Value Added (GVA). Furthermore, some 2.13 million full-time equivalent workers are currently employed in a project management role. 

An analysis of the figures revealed that 7.9 per cent of the UK’s workforce delivers close to nine per cent of the country’s total GVA. 

The study highlighted how the ‘project led’ approach is gaining popularity within businesses, noting that the budget and scale of such projects is set to continue rising. 

According to the results, as recognition of the importance of project management grows, so does business’ optimism surrounding its potential. Forty per cent businesses interviewed for the study predicted a growth in projects, while 34 per cent were anticipating growth of project budgets over the coming three years. 

Debbie Dore, chief executive of APM, said: “Project management has for too long been cast as a ‘Cinderella’ or ‘hidden’ profession, working hard behind the scenes to ensure other’s success. 

“But this new report recasts the profession into the role of a ‘golden thread’ - a seam that runs through UK plc, helping to develop new services, drive strategic change and sector-wide reform. In short, this report finds that the project profession is a thread truly woven into the fabric of UK societal and economic success.”

However, challenges surrounding project management remain. Over half of the organisations questioned expressed concern over uncertainties caused by government policy. In fact, over one third cited this as the single greatest challenge of the past three years. Fifty-six per cent still expect it to be an issue by 2021. 

Furthermore, the experts predicted that the rise in demand for project managers could exceed the available skills within the UK workforce. Having access to the right employees with the right project management capabilities and skills was a concern for 39 per cent of the 400 businesses interviewed. 

This eventuality could then prompt the rise of the ‘accidental project manager’, according to the APM - putting the success of projects in jeopardy. When people with the right skills are not available, it’s possible that people without vital project management training are placed in project management roles.

Ms Dore explained: “This could lead to demand for qualified and experienced project personnel starting to outstrip supply - ultimately leading to the failure of increasing numbers of projects. 

“That’s why this report highlights to business, government and the education sector, the importance of training, development and professional standards (such as chartership) as the best way to develop a talent pool that is to scale and fit for purpose in today and tomorrow’s world.”

While it was found that the type of project undertaken varied depending on the sector, overall, IT, digital transformations, and new product development projects were found to dominate the project management landscape. 

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