Project Management Around the World – UK

The PM Flash Blog is back* but this time we are taking a trip around the globe in seven weeks – hearing from PM bloggers about project management in their neck of the woods. The Camel and Arras People are obviously based in the UK – and we’re providing the news from the recruitment and employment trenches. Each year we carry out the Project Management Benchmark Report which certainly gives the best insight into what is happening in the UK each year for project practitioners. So let’s get started:

  1. Right now it is a profession – or job – that a lot of people want to get into. Just last week we took calls from a lawyer, an accountant and a hairdresser – all looking to change careers and get into project management.
  2. There’s a lot of confusion about how to get into project management – taking a course and exam that over 500,000 have also took (PRINCE2) will not get you a job in project management.
  3. Lots of people (from the outside looking in) thinks project management is easy – after all it’s just a bunch of processes.
  4. For the people already working within it – they’re still not convinced that the recession is over and now is the time to shake off years of under-development, stagnant pay and low motivation.
  5. PMs are not as ambitious as you might think – just 55% of them have career aspirations to move onwards and upwards.
  6. In the UK right now – the private sector project practitioners are feeling much more confident with their lot than public sector PMs.
  7. PM practitioners are not as career minded as you might think – not many have carried out self-assessments; have a development plan or really know how to develop themselves effectively. Too many just rely on their organisations to do it for them rather than having a proactive interest in where they’re heading and how they’re going to get there.
  8. Pay and other remuneration has been stagnant for years – last year 70% of practitioners didn’t have a pay rise over the inflation level.
  9. Organisations that employ project practitioners are now concerned about the “revolving door” – how to keep their best project practitioners when the market recovers and competitors offer better remuneration and opportunity.
  10. The gender rate in the UK for project practitioners has typically hover at the 70:30 – a male dominant profession. Current gender rates for students wanting to work in project management is 47:53.


These are just some of the highlights from the report and observations from a recruitment desk. Right now, employment and opportunity in the UK is steadily increasing, but it’s still volatile. For many organisations, they believe that a project management practitioner must demonstrate the ability to work within a domain or particular sector. This has been the overriding observation throughout the recession and it still remains today. If practitioners really believe that project management skills and experience are transferable from one industry to another – they and the profession as a whole – still has a lot of work to do in convincing and demonstrating this.

So this is the UK for now – a few ups and downs, a bit of confusion and some apathy that needs shaking off.  Project management is also spreading through different sectors and organisations; with no clear rights and wrongs and that still makes it a nebulous career – full of change, full of unknowns and hopefully for many, full of adventure.

Interested in other #pmflashblogs from around the globe – just follow the Twitter feed


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*Last September, Shim Marom had coordinated what was the first ever PM FlashBlog and it was a great experience! Some 50+ project managers from around the world shared their thoughts on what Project Management meant to them. Here’s the Camel post – What does project management mean to me?

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  1. Hi Lindsay, it’s good to know that thing are better in UK and people is interested in becoming Project Managers. What it is very strange is that the people responsible for managing changes (the Project Managers) are not very concerned about their career development and new oportunities, and are only centered in internal assignments. Thank you for sharing it. All the best!

    1. Thanks Angel – I know tell me about it! They get concerned though when things are not going so well – by then of course it’s not necessarily too late, it’s just that you’re way behind the PMs that do bother! Such a strange profession sometimes eh?

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