Project Management Profession Contributes £186bn to UK Economy After £30bn Five-year Growth – APM Golden Thread Report 2024

LONDON--()--A new report by the Association for Project Management (APM), the chartered membership organisation for the project profession, has found that project management in the UK contributes £186.8 billion of annual gross value added (GVA) to the UK economy – a growth of over £30bn in the last five years.

In addition, the profession now employs an estimated 2.32 million full-time equivalent workers (FTEs). It means 8.5% of total UK FTEs are employed in project-related roles and the profession delivers over 9% of total UK GVA – a key measure of economic output and productivity.

The research, based on official employment data, market statistics and a survey of over 500 UK businesses, rubberstamps the significance of the fast-growing profession to the UK economy.

The Golden Thread Report 2024, commissioned by APM and conducted by PwC Research, shows that key drivers behind the growth include professional and business services – the largest contributor to project management GVA at £47.9bn, a rise of 22% from 2019. Traditional project management sectors have also grown. Construction GVA rose to £33bn (up from £27bn in 2019) and FTEs increased from 260,000 to nearly 300,000. Project management within the financial services sector contributes £13.1bn of GVA and in IT/Technology it provides £14.4bn, a rise of 92% (from 2019 report).

Other factors behind the growth highlighted by the report include an increasing recognition of the need for effective programme management and transformation across all sectors.

The research found the project profession’s current GVA has seen an increase of almost 20% from £156.5bn in 2019 – representing a £30.3bn increase. The profession’s role was further underscored with the finding that the overall £186.8bn UK GVA figure is worth more than the construction (£120.9bn) and transport and logistics (£63.4bn) sectors combined.

Professor Adam Boddison OBE, Chief Executive of APM, said: “We are excited to be launching our second Golden Thread Report at a pivotal time for project management with the UK economy recovering tentatively and net zero gathering pace.

“Our first groundbreaking report uncovered the scale and impact of the project profession to the UK economy and society that can go easily unnoticed. It emphasised its importance as a vital cross-sector competence no longer solely associated with construction and engineering.

“The Golden Thread 2024 deepens the view that our profession is the most vital ‘golden thread’ running through all sectors of the economy – driving quality, efficiency and strategic change. The economic value our profession adds has grown significantly by £30 billion since 2019 with around 200,000 additional professionals, supported by traditional industries such as professional services and non-traditional industries including IT and technology.

“Our research is a vital contribution to the debate of the project profession as we seek to overcome a variety of challenges and opportunities and continue with our growth trajectory.”

Meanwhile, 68% of businesses polled think more organisations are starting to realise the value of project management as a concept. But over half are facing challenges with the skills gap – compared to a third in 2019 – and a separate 56% raised concerns over recruitment.

Chris Anstead, a Director in the Global Programme Advisory Team at Turner & Townsend, a leading global programme management and construction consultancy, said: “Once upon a time projects were focused on digging holes and building things. But now projects and programmes are being used for all sorts of transformations with our clients applying our skillsets into much broader applications.

“We are starting to see greater application of programme management within organisations. In the past, they might have relied on operational departments to deliver individual projects. Now they are thinking more about driving step-change, improvements and ultimately transformation.”

To download the Golden Thread 2024 Report along with supporting case studies, visit https://www.apm.org.uk/resources/research/the-golden-thread/

Further key findings from the Golden Thread report:

  • Over 50% of businesses anticipate more projects over the next three years – a significant increase from 2019
  • 68% of businesses think more organisations and sectors realising the value of PM will act as a positive enabler of growth
  • Over half of organisations are facing challenges in finding the right PM skills
  • 56% of businesses believe that difficulty in attracting new talent will act as a barrier to the growth of the profession

Notes To Editors

About APM

  • APM (Association for Project Management) is a professional membership organisation that sets the standards for the project profession and raises its profile.
  • APM is the only chartered organisation representing the project profession in the world with over 40,000 individual members and more than 400 corporate partners based across 140 countries.

Contacts

Contact Hayley.mountstevens@apm.org.uk for further details.

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Contacts

Contact Hayley.mountstevens@apm.org.uk for further details.