Research by Association for Project Management (APM) has found over three quarters of project professionals still have concerns about Brexit's impact on projects, with increased costs, disruptions and shortages among the main sources of worry.
A national survey of 1,000 project managers found that 78 per cent have current concerns about Brexit, most notably: increased project costs (38 per cent), disruption to collaboration with EU partners (37 per cent) and materials and equipment shortages (37 per cent).
The same survey showed participants' worries are mostly consistent with the challenges they anticipated before Brexit happened, pre-January 2020. Increased project costs and disruption to collaboration were the most commonly cited concerns at that time. Key shortages ranked fifth in their predictions (36 per cent), however, behind complications due to legislation and legal issues (37 per cent) and reduced access to skills and knowledge (36 per cent).
Among project managers who still have concerns over Brexit, those working in construction say disruption collaborating with EU partners is their biggest Brexit-related worry. In manufacturing, shortages of materials or equipment is the main concern. Those working in healthcare point to project delays as the main anxiety.
An optimistic outlook
Despite current Brexit-related concerns, a similar survey commissioned by APM in July 2021 revealed the effects of Britain leaving the European Union as the second biggest opportunity for the project management profession, after new ways of working.
The recent survey found the most anticipated opportunities from Brexit, pre-January 2020, to be improved access to materials and equipment (37 per cent), reduced complications with legislation and legal issues (36 per cent), revamped supply chain management (36 per cent) and quicker project delivery (36 per cent).
Adam Boddison, APM's chief executive, said:
Through years of expertise, collated in APM's latest study, Dynamic Conditions for Project Success, we know the ingredients for a job well done, and they're what have helped and continue to help the profession navigate the impact of Brexit, among the many other challenges added into the mix since January 2020.
Challenges are more manageable with strong leadership, clear communication, a diverse team, a sustainable mindset and agility. Therein lies part of the lesser recognised opportunities from Brexit: a chance to overcome adversity and be better at what we do as a result.