EY supports US government with diversity initiative

13 November 2014 Consultancy.uk

Professional services firm EY has closed a partnership with the US Department of State (DoS) to support the Women’s Entrepreneurship in the Americas (WEAmericas) initiative, set up by President Obama to encourage women participation in the economy of the Americas. EY and DoS will, in cooperation with local partners, set up technology workshops in four countries that will help women to make better use of technologies to grow their companies, and hence accelerate economic growth.

Improving diversity and women inclusion are becoming more and more important key topics for companies within their HR policies. Employing women can provide added value and a competitive advantage to a company as women generally tend to emphasise other values than men as key elements for success, values that may complement the existing ones. In addition, hiring female employees will give a company a better understanding of its female customers.

Research shows that employed women not only can improve the outcomes of a single company, but also the economy as a whole.  As women worldwide are responsible for nearly two-thirds consumer spending, increasing the number of employed women will accelerate economic growth. In addition, women spend more of their earned salary on health and education, which provides a significant social impact and bolsters future gains in productivity. As a result, investing in women, especially in women-owned small and medium enterprises (SMEs), is seen as one of the best ways to simultaneously achieve economic and social impact.

Working women can boost the development of a country

WEAmericas
In 2012 US President Obama launched Women’s Entrepreneurship in the Americas (WEAmericas), an initiative that encourages inclusive economic growth in the Western Hemisphere by reducing barriers and increasing opportunities for women entrepreneurs to start SMEs. WEAmericas does this through public-private partnerships that help improve access to markets and capital, provide skills and capacity building, and create leadership opportunities. The initiative has set up several activities for women such as an annual International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) exchange to the United States, during which women will be able to explore a variety of mentorship, job shadowing, education, and skills development programs.

US Department of State

EY supports ‘TechCamps’
As part of the WEAmericas initiative, EY recently announced a partnership with the Bureau of Information Resource Management’s Office of eDiplomacy (IRM) of the US Department of State (DoS). The partnership will set up four interactive technology workshops called ‘TechCamps’ in the coming six months in Colombia, El Salvador, Bolivia and Argentina. Commenting on EY’s involvement, Eric Nelson, Director of State Department's Office of eDiplomacy, says: “Through this new relationship, EY will contribute to the long-term impact of this series of TechCamps which for the first time will specifically target women entrepreneurs, as part of the WEAmericas initiative.” As part of the initiative EY and the DoS will work closely with US Embassies and local partners in the four countries. The workshops will consist of a two-day program during which women entrepreneurs are able to receive training and information from both local and international technology experts, to allow them to make better use of needed technologies to grow their businesses. Local EY-affiliated firms will provide business advice and mentorship to selected entrepreneurs.

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

15 April 2019 Consultancy.uk

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.

Outlook

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.”