Top 50 mid-market players of Derbyshire enjoying strong growth

16 August 2017

Derbyshire’s top 50 mid-market players have enjoyed steady and sustained growth over the past three years, benefitting from increased demand for manufactured goods and professional service needs. A new study of the region’s economy has revealed growing revenues has seen a boost to jobs, with both professional services and manufacturing jobs adding to regional employment.

SMEs are one of the main drivers of the UK economy, with small and medium enterprises generating around 60% of the country’s private sector economic activity, and employing around 15.7 million of the national workforce, and according to recent figures the segment continues to perform well relative to its five largest counterparts across the EU, in spite of increasing uncertainty surrounding Brexit.

The regional economy of Derbyshire is no exception to this, and has seen steady growth in terms of the total revenue of the top 50 small to mid-sized businesses over the past three years. Revenue increased from £2.3 billion in 2014 to £3.9 billion last year. The increase of nearly 70% over the three year period is, according to a BDO study, a result of the highly diversified middle-market economy containing everything from agriculture to high-tech firms.

Total revenue growth and sector distribution

At 32% of the middle market, retail businesses make up the largest segment of the top 50, followed by manufacturing and precision engineering, with a share of around 26% each. Professional services follow on 18%, while social and day care comes third equal with transport and logistics and real estate and construction, all on 6%.

According to the study, professional services has been the star performer in terms of revenue growth over the past three years – with total revenues rising by 107% in the period. Manufacturing and precession engineering follow at a 100% increase. Technology and media and real estate and construction saw more modest increases of 68% and 63% respectively. Not-for-profit, social and day care and utilities saw the smallest increases in the region.

Fastest growing sector by turnover

The number of jobs added by the 50 biggest mid-market players in the region over the past three years meanwhile saw technology and media top the list. The segments saw employment grow by 92%, followed by professional services, whose headcount was up by 88%. Researchers noted meanwhile that the base of the segments differs considerably, with the large increase in technology and media representing an increase to 530 people by the last year of the research.

All segments under consideration saw growth, although some segments, including not-for-profit and social care and day care saw contraction in the second year – both saw growth overall however, at 24% and 6% respectively.

Top 20 mid-market growers

In terms of the top 20 biggest movers, the Mortgage Advice Bureau was out ahead by almost a country mile, with growth over the past three years at a staggering 534%. Manufacturer Dellner took second spot, with growth hitting 443% over the period, while revenues grew to 13 million. Retailers M.Markovitz and Equip Outdoor Technologies too saw significant growth, with revenues up 335% and 274% respectively to total revenues of around £35 million. Manufacturer Eurocell rounds off the top five, with growth of around 219% bringing to revenues of around £175 million.

Four additional professional services firms make the top 20, with Aspire Acheice Advance Group at number seven, Evolution Funding at nine, Orbital Holdings at thirteen and Babington Business at number nineteen. Manufacturing in the mid-market segment remains strong, with a total of eight companies making the top 20 for growth over the past three years – highlighting the continued strength of the segment.

Top 20 fastest growing mid-market players.

Commenting on the result, BDO Partner Gareth Singleton, commented, “Mid-sized, high-growth businesses are an essential and dynamic part of the county – yet these businesses are frequently overlooked and undervalued. We wanted to give a voice to these businesses and recognise these fast growing businesses.”



Project management industry adds £156 billion of value to UK economy

15 April 2019

Project management has grown into one of UK’s largest areas of business over the past decade, amid the increasing ‘projectification’ of work. With the gross value added to the UK economy by project management estimated to be £156 billion, this trend is likely to continue in the coming era.

Despite the huge success of project management in recent years, until now there has been relatively little data available on the size of project activity. As a result, there has been a great deal of debate on things like the number of people involved in the sector, the number of projects, and how it contributes to economic output. Due to this need for clarity, APM, the UK’s professional body for project management (the largest organisation of its kind in Europe, with 28,000 individual members) commissioned economists from PwC to shed light on the industry's economic impact.

The research concluded that the profession makes a more significant contribution to the UK economy than the financial services sector. 2.13 million full-time equivalent workers (FTEs) were employed in the UK project management sector, generating £156.5 billion of annual gross value added (GVA). In comparison, the financial services sector contributes £115 billion, and the construction industry adds £113 billion.

Gross value added to UK economy

Commenting on the discovery, Debbie Dore, Chief Executive of APM said, “Project management runs as a ‘golden thread’ through businesses, helping to develop new services, driving strategic change and sector-wide reform.”

Who is a ‘project manager’?

To reach these estimates, PwC’s researchers used detailed models to map out the value of project management activity. They ultimately defined relevant ‘projects’ as “temporary, non-routine endeavours or rolling programmes of change designed to produce a distinct product, service or end result… [with] a defined beginning and end, a specific scope, a ring-fenced budget, [and] an identified and potentially dedicated team with a project manager in charge.”

Building on this, they then went on to define what the act of project management actually is. The job consists of applying “processes, methods, knowledge, skills and experience” so that clients can meet their objectives and bring about planned outputs or outcomes. The analysts added that this includes “initiating the project, planning, executing, controlling, quality assuring and closing the work of an identified and dedicated team according to a specified budget and timeframe.”

Importantly, it should be noted that the profession is not exclusive to only roles explicitly labelled as ‘project manager’, but to any role where specialist project management skills are used. This means that across sectors these roles can have very different titles, from the self-explanatory contract managers of procurement, or the campaign managers of advertising, to the likes of festival co-ordinators in the events sector, and many more. The roles in question also span all strategic levels of the profession, from strategic to tactical and operational positions.

Gross value added of project management profession

From a sector perspective, the financial and professional services, construction and healthcare industries make up almost two-thirds of the total project management GVA. At the same time, understandably, the UK Government has a huge project portfolio, which further drives the size of the GVA the sector contributes, thanks to megaprojects like HS2 and Crossrail.

Commenting on this to the report’s authors, Oliver Dowden, Minister for Implementation remarked, “Project delivery is at the heart of all Government activity, whether it’s building roads and rail, strengthening our armed forces, modernising IT or transforming the way government provides public services to citizens. Getting these projects right is essential if we are to ensure that we build a country that works for everyone.”

Throughout 2019, 26 major government projects were delivered, representing a fifth of the overall Government Major Projects Portfolio (GMPP) of 133 projects. According to the IPA annual report 2017-18, these represented a whole life cost of £423 billion. In addition to this were a plethora of smaller scale projects, and those in early development.

Elsewhere, with the increasing digitalisation of the economy impacting entities of all shapes and sizes, IT and digital transformations tended to dominate the projects of the UK scene alongside new product development projects, with a respective 55% and 46% of organisations in the research sample having undertaken these types of project in the past year. At the same time, this varied across sectors, and unsurprisingly, in the construction and local government sectors, fixed capital projects were the main project type undertaken.


Looking to the future, 40% of business leaders expect project management will grow in the coming years due to the increased use of projects – or the ‘projectification’ of the UK. In a trend that has been witnessed elsewhere, organisations have to rapidly and continuously change in the digital age of business, driving the need for project management.

Outlook for project management services

An increased focus on value over cost – especially in the construction sector – and a forecast increase in the number of international projects are predicted to be key drivers of growth, according to the expert contributors. However, this will not happen in the absence of challenges; more than half of organisations expressed concern over the perceived impact of political uncertainty in the UK. Skills and capability shortages were also cited as a potential barrier by a third of organisations.

With regard to budgets, meanwhile, a third of those surveyed by PwC said they expect the size of project budgets will increase in the coming three years, while 40% anticipate a growth in project size. As the profession continues to mature, and as the recognition of the importance of good project management grows, it is expected that a greater proportion of project work will gain more distinct attribution to the profession itself, giving more recognition and appreciation to the role of the project manager.

Speaking on the findings of the study, Sandie Grimshaw, a Partner at PwC, concluded, “The project management profession is relatively new compared to some other professions, such as lawyers, teachers and doctors. However, as project management is a core competence vital to organisations in the UK, the profession is critical and will continue to grow in stature.”