The Golden Thread - APM research highlights a ‘hidden profession’ and reveals that project management contributes £156bn to the UK economy & employs almost 1 in 12 workers
As the leading authority on the project profession, APM seeks to listen, act and advocate on behalf of our members. That’s why for the last year we have been working in partnership with PwC UK’s research division to conduct a new ground-breaking study entitled: “The Golden Thread: The contribution of projects and project management to the UK economy”.
Launched on April 10, at a high-profile event in London, The Golden Thread seeks to explore and highlight how deeply the contribution of the project profession is woven into the fabric of society.
Importantly, this new research tells the story of the value of a profession that far out-weighs other established business services such as marketing and law. In people terms the project profession employs 1 in 12, or 8% of the UK FTE, and makes a financial contribution of £156.5 billion of annual Gross Value Added (GVA) to the UK Economy each year. By comparison marketing employs 1.5% of UK FTE and contributes £36.5 billion respectively.
The APM research involved a three-phased approach, taking data and insights from a range of key sources including the 2017 ONS Labour Force Survey, the BEIS Small Business Survey, the APM Annual Salary Survey and other published market statistics.
This available data was then supplemented by interviews with 438 UK businesses (including APM corporate partners including Network Rail and Gleeds). To further test the validity of the emergent results, in depth discussions were held with a small group of experienced project management professionals from across the UK.
Debbie Dore, chief executive of APM welcomed the report stating:
“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 the fabric of UK plc, helping to develop new services, drive strategic change and sector-wide reform”.
The report also expresses a compelling and positive story about a future anticipated growing demand for the profession flagging the possibility of a corresponding future skills gap. This last point makes clear that professional standards (such as those provided by APM) are essential - because as ‘The Golden Thread’ highlights, relying on amateurs or ‘accidental project managers’ in times of scarcity of supply of experienced project professionals is a grave mistake, and can greatly jeopardise project success.