Recession Bites and Project Managers Feel the Pinch

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It's beginning to get tough. Recession has hit the market for project management professionals. Contractors are the hardest hit, but employees, historically more secure, are also beginning to feel the pinch. Confidence levels are falling across the board. The survey, of 1200 Project management Professionals, examines the market and the rewards and employment conditions available, and looks at the major issues affecting Project managers. This is the fourth annual survey carried out by Arras People.

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Arras People, the project management recruitment specialists, used independent research company Benchpoint's™ unique real time polling technology to question 1200 permanent and contract Programme and Project Management Professionals during January 2009.

The survey shows how the economic downturn is affecting project managers' earnings, aspirations and professional life.

Arras People estimate there are nearly 80,000 Project Managers in the UK. Why are they important? As one respondent put it "A good PM provides leadership, a professional approach and experience to ANY form of business."

Survey highlights:

  •     Recession has hit the project management market, with the majority of professionals fearing some redundancies and cuts
  •     Project managers are a resilient lot. Despite the widespread economic doom and gloom, only 8% of respondents described their personal situation as "gloomy". 63% described their situation as "steady", and 18% as "neutral".
  •     A massive 84% of Project Management professionals believe they have a significant role to play in helping the UK economy out of its current difficulties
  •     Over a third of all respondents said they were "worse off" last year and 22% of freelancers experienced decreased rates, with a significant number (11%) experiencing a cut of more than 10%.
  •     Employees fared better than contractors with salary expectations being met in 2008. However the number of employees who expect their salaries to remain unchanged or fall in 2009 increased significantly, from 35% to 60%.
  •     Twice as many contractors as employees saw their earnings go down by 10%.
  •     Public sector employees are better protected than private sector. Twice as many private sector employees and 5% more contractors expect rewards to fall in 2009.
  •     The gender gap on pay is not closing
  •     Initiatives like P30® may produce a false market (such as that surrounding Prince2®) where its use becomes a misplaced de-facto standard. (only 5% of respondents are using P30)

Commented John Thorpe, Managing Director of Arras People, "This is our fourth annual survey of the project management profession in the UK, and we are continuing to build an unparalleled repository of information which gives a valuable insight into what is happening in this market.

Whilst the current market is tough and people are anticipating a reduction in opportunities and even earnings, it is fascinating to see that the community remains upbeat about what they can contribute to the UK economy."

The full version of the report can be downloaded from the Arras People Website.

(PRINCE2® and P3O® is a Registered Trade Mark of the Office of Government Commerce in the United Kingdom and other countries.)

Notes to editors:

Full Report:

Survey methodology and demographics

  •     Arras People carried out a Benchpoint™ on-line survey in January 2009. 12000 emails were sent to eligible respondents and 1200 responses were received - a response rate of 10%.
  •     There is a confidence level of 95% and a error margin of +/- 3.1%. (We are 95% sure that any given answer is within plus or minus 3% of what the general population of project management professionals would answer).
  •     Survey demographics-

o    Employees 61%,Contractors 39%
o    Gender - 75% male, 25% female
o    Age 26% -16-34, 46% 35-49, 27% 50+
o    55% from London & south east, the rest evenly distributed between the regions
o    Sectors:- Private sector 66%, Public sector 30%, Charity/NFP sector 4 %

About Arras People:
Arras People is the Project Management Recruitment Division of Arras Services Ltd. Arras People provides programme and project management professionals and professional project office support personnel across all industry sectors, for either permanent, contract or interim positions.

Arras Services began trading in February 2002, and now provides its services to many of UK's leading blue chip organisations in the UK, as well as public sector (central and local government), IT, engineering, marketing and media organizations, not for profit and charities.


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