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It’s a year ago since I last wrote about the inexorable rise of PRINCE2. Back then, I wrote that 2012 has seen the greatest number of PRINCE2 exams ever taken – with more than 144,000 exams being sat. In fact it was around September of that year when the one million mark was passed.

So what’s happened since? Did PRINCE2 prove to be as popular during 2013 as previously, or did its bubble finally burst and come crashing down to earth?

Record number taking PRINCE2 exams
Well, it might surprise many of you to learn that during 2013 the number of people sitting PRINCE2 exams continued even higher into the stratosphere. In fact, with more than 158,000 exams being taken last year, the year proved to be the one when even more records were broken - as can be seen in the graph below.

An average of more than 3,000 every week took a PRINCE2 exam somewhere in the world. I think that’s quite an astonishing figure and it’s hard to think of any other professional qualification which has such popularity. If anyone knows of one, then I’d certainly like to hear from you.

UK still remains the largest PRINCE2 market
Being a project management method with its roots in the UK government, it would be natural to expect that most of the people taking so many PRINCE2 exams would be in the UK. It’s true that the UK still remains the largest market for PRINCE2 with 43% of all exams being sat there – that’s more than 67,000 exams being taken. However, the market for PRINCE2 in the UK and other established markets remains static whilst it is growing in almost all other regions.

Growing interest in PRINCE2 around the world
It’s noticeable from the figures (supplied by the APM Group) that during 2005, the established markets which includes the UK, Western Europe (particularly the Netherlands) and Australia accounted for 90% of the PRINCE2 market. In 2013 they only accounted for 70%. Asia, Africa, Scandinavia and Eastern Europe grew from 5% to 28% in the same period.

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Conclusion
With a bit of reflection about these numbers, what conclusions can we draw form them?

Well, firstly I think it shows that globally, there is increasing demand for methods which will enable organizations manage their projects more effectively. This might reflect the perception that generally speaking, projects are simply not being well managed at the moment, and investing in best practice training products such as PRINCE2 will help deliver better outcomes from projects.

Secondly I also think it reflects the fact that projects are not a thing of the past, but are, with globalization, an increasing part of every organization’s life. Without projects, those organizations will die. Continuing to adapt in a competitive world is the only way to survive the competitive pressures.

Thirdly, I think the figures also suggest that professional project management qualifications such as PRINCE2 are increasingly demanded by employers when hiring both project managers and other managers. With PRINCE2 being solely an exam based qualification, candidates can achieve certification without the need to prove previous experience, and as such, is increasingly seen as a vital stepping stone into a potentially lucrative career.

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Simon Buehring

Simon Buehring is the Founder and Managing Director of Knowledge Train.

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