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Project Management Trumps Financial Services

04 Dec 2019
Project Management Trumps Financial Services

The project profession employes 1 in 12, or 8% of the UK FTE

Project management has grown into one of the UK’s largest areas of business over the past decade, amid the increasing projectification of work.

Despite the diffusion of project management across all sectors of business and society, there has been a distinct lack of data available on the size of project activity and how it contributes to economic output.

In order to better understand this void, the IPMA’s member association in the UK – APM – commissioned economists from PwC to shed light on the industry's economic impact – specifically to:

  • Provide an estimate of the market size in terms of total Gross Value Added (GVA)1 and total employment attributable to project management in the UK.
  • Provide initial estimates of project activity by sector.

Stunningly, the researchers concluded that the profession2 makes a greater contribution to the UK economy than the Financial Services sector.

The Gross Value Added (GVA) to the UK economy

  • Project Management is estimated to be £156 billion.
  • Financial Services sector contributes £115 billion
  • Construction Industry adds £113 billion
  • 2.13 million full-time equivalent workers (FTEs)3 were employed in the UK project management sector.
  • This represents 7.9 per cent of UK employment (FTEs) and 8.9 per cent of UK GVA

Sectoral comparison

The financial and professional services, construction and healthcare sectors make up almost two-thirds of the total project management GVA. The size of the GVA in these sectors is driven by the size of these sectors and the size of projects in these sectors. However, the project management profession (as defined in this study) is relevant to all sectors, as the report includes smaller projects such as charity fundraising events, development of learning and development programmes and livestock monitoring.

Commenting on the findings, Debbie Dore, Chief Executive of APM said, “Project management runs as a ‘golden thread’ through businesses, helping to develop new services, driving strategic change and sector-wide reform.”

gross value added of project management profession



Looking to the future, 40% of business leaders expect project management will grow in the coming years due to the increased projectification of the UK. Studies in other western economies - Germany, Norway and Iceland - show projectification4 at 38%, 33% and 27% respectively.

As the profession continues to mature, and as the recognition of the importance of good project management grows, it is expected that a greater proportion of project work will gain more distinct attribution to the profession itself, giving more recognition and appreciation to the role of the project manager. As project management becomes more and more identified as a core competence vital to national competitiveness, the profession will be recognised as critical and will continue to grow in stature.”


1 GVA (Gross Value Added) is a measure of total output and income of a sector, region or activity (in this case project and programme and portfolio management or PPM) in the economy. It is the total value of services produced and is estimated by calculating the total wages and salaries bill for all employees who work in PPM (full-time and part-time).

2 It is important to note that where this report refers to ‘project management and the project profession’ it includes project, programme and portfolio management in this definition.

3An FTE is the hours worked by one employee on a full-time basis. The concept is used to convert the hours worked by several part-time employees into the hours worked by full-time employees. 

Projectification measured as "the share of project work on total work".

Source: The Golden Thread, an IPMA UK (APM) and PwC study of the contribution of project management and projects to the UK’s economy and society.