87% of UK transport and logistics SMEs face ‘concerning’ project management skills gaps, says APM survey

Posted: 21 June 2024 | | No comments yet

A recent APM survey found that nearly 90% of UK transport and logistics SMEs face significant project management skills gaps, with major challenges including accessing skilled professionals and inadequate technology infrastructure.

87% of UK transport and logistics SMEs face 'concerning' project management skills gaps, says APM survey

Credit: Association for Project Management

A recent survey by the Association for Project Management (APM) found that nearly 90% of small-to-medium enterprises (SMEs) in the UK transport and logistics sector face significant project management skills shortages. The survey, involving over 500 project professionals, revealed that 87% believe their employers need to enhance project skills across their workforce.

The primary challenge, cited by 57% of respondents, is accessing enough people with the right project-related skills. Other notable issues include inadequate technology infrastructure (39%), a lack of understanding among employers about future skills needs (30%) and insufficient investment in training and professional development (30%).

To address these gaps, 50% of respondents favoured on-the-job training and greater awareness of project management as a profession. Apprenticeships were also a popular solution, supported by 45%.

Despite these challenges, there is optimism. An overwhelming 91% of respondents stated that their employers have adequate time and resources for training and development. Additionally, 96% affirmed that their SMEs value the training, development and upskilling of project professionals.

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The survey highlighted the most important skills for project delivery: communication and interpersonal skills (30%), followed by team management, risk management, planning, data literacy and AI-related skills (all 22%). Conflict resolution and budgeting were deemed less critical (both 0%).

Professor Adam Boddison OBE, Chief Executive of APM, said: “As the chartered body for the profession, APM is committed to helping SMEs within the UK transport and logistics sector to overcome any barriers they may face to bridge the skills gap with support and resources designed to empower their workforce with the necessary project skills.”

This survey follows APM’s Golden Thread Report 2024, conducted by PwC Research, which highlighted the economic impact of project management in the UK. The report found that project management contributes £186.8 billion of annual gross value added (GVA) to the UK economy, with the transport and logistics sector seeing a 33% increase in GVA from £3.56 billion to £4.73 billion. The profession now employs an estimated 2.32 million full-time equivalent workers (FTEs), representing 8.5% of the UK’s total FTEs and delivering over 9% of the total UK GVA.

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