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The Business Magazine July 2024
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South West's project managers eyeing rise over next three years - survey

Professor Adam Boddison OBE, Chief Executive of APM - picture contributed
Professor Adam Boddison OBE, Chief Executive of APM - picture contributed
Professor Adam Boddison OBE, Chief Executive of APM - picture contributed

New data shows eight out of ten project managers at SMEs in the south west believe there will be an increase in the number of appointed projects over the next three years.

It comes via a survey by the association for project management (APM), the chartered membership organisation, which polled over 500 professionals.

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The South West is predicting the third largest growth (83%) out of all 13 regions polled, behind only Yorkshire and the Humber (90%) and the South East (87%).

But the same survey revealed that 77% of the same SME respondents from the South West identified skills shortages in project management at their employer.

When asked about the biggest challenges facing future project growth, the top-ranked answer was 'accessing enough people with the right project skills' (selected by 50%) followed by ‘technology infrastructure inadequate to meet end user’ (39%) and ‘economic and political uncertainty’ (36%).

Professor Adam Boddison OBE, chief executive of APM, said: "It’s very encouraging to see project professionals working across the UK’s SME sector predict such a bumper rise in project growth over the coming years, despite the current challenging economic landscape.

"Project professionals play an important role in driving economic growth and our latest survey shows that the project management profession has a great deal of optimism within the built environment for the next few years," he added.

"However, there are challenges that stand in the way of this expected growth becoming a reality.

"Smaller companies are less likely to employ dedicated project managers, so in many SMEs, projects will often be managed by people for whom project management is not their main skill. It is therefore important that they are provided with project management approaches that are quick to learn and simple to use but provide effective management of projects."

Boddison said employers must first ensure that they are investing in their workforce. The successful future of projects rests heavily on those delivering them."

A fifth (19%) of SME projects professionals polled in the South West said the average size project they are working on was between £100 to £299,999, 25% were working on projects of over £300,000, and 8% were working on projects over £1million.

The survey follows APM’s recent Golden Thread Report 2024, conducted by PwC Research, which found 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.


Giles Gwinnett is a writer at The Business Magazine. He has been a journalist for more than 20 years and covered a vast array of topics at a range of media settings - in print and online. After his NCTJ newspaper training, he became a reporter in Hampshire before moving to a news agency in Gloucestershire. In recent years, he has been covering the financial markets along with company news for an investor-focused web portal. His many interests include politics, energy and the environment. He lives in Dorset.

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