Skip to main content

The Golden Thread

11 Apr 2019

The Golden Thread - APM research highlights a ‘hidden profession’ and reveals that project management contributes £156bn to the UK economy (8.9% of UK GVA) and employs almost 1 in 12 workers (2.13 million FTE workers).

APM has 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 research concluded that the profession makes a significant contribution to the UK economy, with  2.13 million   full-time equivalent workers (FTEs) employed in the UK project management sector and the profession generating £156.5bn   of annual GVA. This represents 7.9 6 per cent of UK employment and 8.9 per cent of UK GVA.

This compares favourably with the construction industry, with a GVA of £113bn, and the financial services sector at £115bn.

As the recognition of the importance of good project management grows, so too does the level of optimism among organisations in all sectors about the future of project management. Forty per cent predict a growth in project size, and 34 per cent expect project budgets to grow over the next three years. However, this will not happen in the absence of challenges and more than half of organisations expressed concern over the perceived impact of political uncertainty in the UK. Skills and capability shortages were also cited as a potential barrier by a third of organisations.

This research has, for the first time, provided robust data on the contribution of the project profession to the UK economy. It has highlighted the significant impact of the profession across many sectors and revealed some of the challenges that are just around the corner. The aim is to generate debate and discussion among project professionals around how to take the profession out of the shadows to embark on the next stage of its evolution.