Revealed: The Impact Of Coronavirus (COVID – 19) On The Project Profession In The UK

  •  63% of project professionals say it has had a direct effect on their main project
  • The majority say they expect more disruption to come

19 March 2020 – The majority of project professionals in the UK, from across industry sectors1, have already seen their main projects affected as a result of the coronavirus outbreak, Association for Project Management (APM), the chartered body for the project profession, can reveal. 

The Impact Of Coronavirus On The Project Profession In The UK

A poll of more than 2002 project professionals, conducted for APM by research company Censuswide, found that 63 per cent of respondents have already seen an impact on their primary project – with the most common being the need to review the project’s goals (experienced by 21 per cent of respondents) and delays to the project (experienced by 21 per cent).  Other impacts cited include the need to review the quality criteria of the project (14 per cent) and deadlines being missed (13 per cent).  

When asked why their projects have been impacted in these ways, 44 per cent of respondents said restrictions on travel was an underlying cause; 39 per cent said colleagues and stakeholders being unavailable due to illness or self-isolation was a factor; 35 per cent said cancellation of public gatherings had affected their project; and 35 per cent said disruption to supply chain and/or resources being unavailable was a reason.  

coronavirus impact on project profession in the uk
When asked why their projects have been impacted in these ways, 44 per cent of respondents said restrictions on travel was an underlying cause.

In addition, the vast majority of the poll’s respondents (68 per cent) anticipate further impacts as the viral outbreak continues. 

APM’s chief executive Debbie Dore said:

“The unprecedented nature of the coronavirus outbreak has brought uncertainty for all sectors and professions. Project management is no exception.” 

Debbie Dore, APM’s chief executive

“By its nature, effective project management involves assessing and responding to risk. Now more than ever, businesses and communities will be dependent on talented project professionals who can adapt to new circumstances, in order to safeguard the benefits their projects are intended to deliver.  

This may involve changes to schedules, budgets or even goals. But making changes such as these are the essence of what it means to be a project manager. I would urge employers to invest in developing the skills and resources available within their project management offices, to help minimise disruption to essential projects and make sure that intended long-term benefits can still be delivered.”

APM is the leading source of knowledge and insights for the project profession. Information and guidance on risk and risk management for project professionals can be found in the APM Body of Knowledge 7th Edition, available at


1 The Censuswide poll surveyed project professionals across a wide range of industry sectors including construction, aerospace, transport, pharmaceuticals, manufacturing and technology.

2 Findings based on answers from 228 survey respondents. These answers form part of a wider survey of 1,000 project practitioners that will build up a comprehensive picture of the effects of COVID-19 on the profession. Full results are expected in April. 

Find more project management industry stats.

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