The UK and Beyond - A look at the Education Industry

Boon Edam Limited Blog | November 2019

The education industry is big business - not just in the UK, but all over the world. With billions being spent on construction projects across all areas of education, project managers need to ensure the money being utilised is a worthwhile investment. 

Understanding the industry as a whole can be difficult, due it’s complexity. But a general overview can be beneficial for those currently investing, or looking to invest in the education industry in the future.

An Overview of the Education Industry

To gain an understanding of how the UK compares to other countries in this regard, it can first be helpful to get an overview of how much money is being invested in this sector. The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), a group of 34 countries with market economies that aim to promote economic growth and development between one another, publishes various stats around market performances, including those centred around education.

The most recent figures from 2016, highlighting the total expenditure on educational institutions per full-time student, are particularly interesting. Topping the list with the highest expenditure is Luxemburg, which, despite its size, spent a total of $69,000 per student, with the vast majority ($49,000) spent on Higher Education (Tertiary) as opposed to primary and secondary school education. At the other end of the spectrum, spending was the smallest in Columbia, with a total of only $10,000 per student. What’s more, unlike the vast majority of countries, where higher education spending far exceeds that of primary and secondary education, Columbia spends roughly the same in both educational areas. The biggest exception to this trend is in Korea, where this funding instead exceeds that of higher education. 

An Analysis of the UK

So, where does the UK find itself in all of this? Compared to the other 35 countries that make up the OECD, the UK finds itself above the OECD average, sitting in 4th place in relation to its expenditure on educational institutions per full-time student. 

Expenditure per full-time student doesn’t necessarily tell the whole story though, as it’s important to factor in the money spent relative to the UK’s wealth. Looking at higher education spending, in particular, spending represents more than 50% of per capita GDP for each student in the UK. While many factors play into this, a key factor for the UK is its focus on research and development. Expenditure on R&D accounts for a quarter of total expenditure per student. While concerns have been raised around how research funds may be impacted as a result of Brexit, overall university investment is only set to increase over the next five years.

UK Education Construction Projects

Investment in higher education facilities has been a growth area for the UK education sector in recent years, with universities competing to enrol their share of both domestic and overseas students. 

As a result, higher education spending has greatly increased. In the 12 months to August 2018, 12 UK universities were among the industry’s top 100 clients, with an aggregated committed spending of £1.6 billion. A large portion of this spending has been driven by the Russell Group, a group of 24 public research universities within the UK. 49% of all spending on university construction projects was driven by the Russell Group during the past 5 years, highlighting that higher education projects are forecasted to remain an important source of sector activity. While a large part of these construction projects is in addition to preexisting university campuses, several UK universities have plans for entirely new campuses all together. While many are still in the early stages of development, they are an indication that higher education spending will continue to make up a large part of construction spend in the longer term.

A Security Focus

Whether you are currently invested in an educational construction project or looking to invest in one, make sure security is the best it can be with Boon Edam. Contact us today to find out more on how we're helping to secure the safest universities in the country. 

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