Professional Education


Our Professional education business is focused on publishing and other learning programmes for professionals in business and technology, and on testing and certifying adults to become professionals.

Over the past five years, we have increased sales in this division at a compound annual rate of 11% in constant currencies and operating profit from a loss of £5m in 2004 to a profit of £36m in 2008. Over that period, we significantly re-oriented our professional publishing businesses towards long-term growth markets and built professional testing into a profitable industry leader. We see good growth for these businesses, which will benefit from rising demand for work-related skills and qualifications in both developed and developing markets; and from close connections with professional content and customers in other parts of Pearson.

£ millions 2008 2007 CER growth Underlying growth
Sales 244 226 1% 1%
Adjusted operating profit 36 27 26% 26%

Professional testing and certification

Highlights in 2008 included:

Approximately six million secure online tests were delivered in more than 4,000 test centres worldwide in 2008, an increase of 2% over 2007.

Registration volumes for the Graduate Management Admissions Council test rose 12% worldwide in 2008, including a 22% increase outside the US.

New business included contracts to provide certification exams for the Health Authority AbuDhabi, end of course exams for Maryland University College, certification exams for the Institute of Supply Management, the development and administration of tests for the Colorado Office of Barber and Cosmetology Licensure and an exclusive contract with Adobe.

Renewals included contracts with the Georgia Insurance Licensing Board, the Virginia Board of Nursing, the Law National Admissions Consortium, Measurement Research Associates, Inc., and the Kentucky Real Estate Commission.

Pearson VUE introduced several security enhancements to its high-stakes testing, including implementation of palm vein recognition technology, a non-intrusive identification system, and of digital watermarking of exam data.

Pearson VUE announced the transition of The Institute of Internal Auditors certification exam, the Certified Internal Auditor, from paper-and-pencil to computer-based test delivery. The Certified Internal Auditor designation is the only globally accepted certification for internal auditors and will be delivered in English, Japanese, French, Spanish and Italian.

Pearson VUE agreed a partnership with NIIT Ltd. of India to expand Pearson VUE’s certification network in India, extending a range of tests for students throughout the country. In a first phase, Pearson VUE and NIIT will set up testing facilities in Bangalore, Chennai, New Delhi, Hyderabad and Pune.

Professional publishing

Highlights in 2008 included:

Scott Kelby, an author at our technology imprint Peachpit, was the top-selling author of computer books in the US for the fifth consecutive year with titles such as The iPhone Book, Mac OS X Leopard Book and The Adobe CS4 Book for Digital Photographers.

The iPhone Developer’s Cookbook by Erica Sadun, initially published online as a DRM-free ebook, became the #1 computer book for Amazon Kindle and the #1 book on Safari. When published in print form, it became the #1 Computers & Internet Book on Amazon.

We created nearly 200 video based educational lessons (230 hours of video) including Aarron Walter’s SEO And Beyond, and Deitel & Associates’ C# 2008 Fundamentals I and II and built new distribution channels for video via our websites and via Safari Books Online.

Pearson developed new iterative publishing programme called Rough Cuts which allows authors and customers to interact ahead of publication, building awareness and capturing customer contributions. Almost 25% of the print books published in 2008 entered the Rough Cuts programme, benefiting from comments prior to print publication.

Strong growth of eBooks, videos and other digital assets sold directly (via our websites and our joint-venture, Safari Books Online), and through other digital retail outlets (such as the Amazon Kindle and Sony eReader).

Sales of English and local language technology books saw good growth in international markets including the Middle East, South Africa, India and South America with best-sellers including CCNA Exam Certification Library by Wendell Odom, Presentation Zen by Garr Reynolds and Effective Java 2E by Josh Bloch.

Titles by Pearson’s business imprints, including FTPress and Wharton School Publishing, included Financial Shock by Mark Zandi, Chief Economist at Moody’s and an advisor to the White House, on the causes of the credit crunch with particular emphasis on the sub-prime mortgage market.