Public Sector PM Practitioners Fear Cuts in 2014

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Lindsay Scott
Director of Arras People, the programme and project management recruitment specialists. Also blogging at How to Manage a Camel. Lindsay has also launched The PMO Conference

Arras People, the project management recruitment specialists release the latest annual report on the UK’s Programme and Project Management Professionals. The report polled 2,298 permanent and contract Programme and Project Management Professionals during December 2013 and January 2014.

The Project Management Benchmark Report (PMBR) 2014 shows how the UK’s economic turbulence is affecting project management practitioners’ earnings, aspirations and professional life.

Having entered 2013 with the threat of a triple dip recession and serious amounts of gloom and doom; the UK figures now report that we avoided the dreaded triple dip, and some revisionary figures even question if we even had a double dip. Whatever the situation we now have a new phrase which sums up the tough time of the last 6 years, ‘the great recession’!

Twelve months on, we enter 2014 with a contrasting set of indicators; the Office for National Statistics (ONS) reports that the UK economy grew by 1.9% in 2013, its strongest rate since 2007. The number of people out of work fell by 167,000 to 2.32 million in the three months to November 2013 and the Bank of England report that inflation, measured by the Consumer Prices Index, has fallen to 2% for the first time in four years. At the same time we are hearing ongoing concerns about job losses; the cost of living crisis; low wage inflation; regional disparity; a lack of business investment; weak exports and a shortage in workers’ skills.

Against this backdrop, Arras People have once again taken the opportunity to take the temperature of the Project Management domain in the ninth annual Benchmark Report.

Some of the highlights of the PMBR include;

  • Is ‘gut feel’ a good enough way to manage a professional career? 54% of PPM Practitioners surveyed rank their professional capability in comparison to their peers on mere ‘gut feel’. 2% admitted to ‘guessing’.
  • Overall confidence levels of PPM Practitioners surveyed has seen an increase but this hides a significant swing when analysed by sector. Of those working within the Public sector 43% have real concerns about hard times ahead this compares to 4% of those in the Private sector.
  • 70% of PPM Practitioners saw less than inflation increases in their remuneration during 2013. Heading into 2014 22% of contractors and 28% of employees are anticipating above inflation increases, assuming the CPI rate of inflation remains at 2%.
  • With ongoing concerns about the Public sector’s ability to manage and deliver projects, the survey uncovers data which would suggest a ‘revolving door’ is occurring for some senior PPM Practitioners. There are also concerns about increasing project resource costs due to a ‘closed shop’ with regards to attainment of UK security clearance.
  • MBAs show their value in increasing remuneration for PPM Practitioners whilst the data surrounding the Masters Degrees in Project Management is questionable. The rise in Modern Apprenticeships for PPM may add further pressure to how the Masters Degrees in Project Management is positioned to future students.
  • We continue to see an aging of the PPM community as a result of the lack of new entry-level opportunities during the recession. This demographic time bomb could have long-term implications for UK PLC as recovery takes hold. A new demographic emerging in respondents aged under 35, is an increased level of female PPM Practitioners.

John Thorpe, Managing Director of Arras People commented:

“Once again we have had great support from the UK Project Management community which has enabled us to create our ninth annual report on the UK project management profession. The latest survey data adds to the repository of information which we can share with our clients and candidates in order to provide unique insights into what is really happening in the market”

“The current report underlines the fact that programme and project management in the UK still has major strides to make if it wants to be recognised as a profession rather than an occupation. The lack of a return on investment from the millions of pounds spent on training those associated with the delivery of programmes and projects is a continuing issue; the report highlights that many organisations have failed to realise that ‘sheep dipping’ practitioners does not create the project culture which is necessary to create the step change in performance that is required. With a potential PPM skills ‘time bomb’ on the horizon, now is the time for organisations and individual practitioners to better understand what ‘good looks like’ and start planning how to get there.”

> To get your copy of the report – visit the Project Management Benchmark Report


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