An annual release from the Management Consultancies Association (MCA) showed that the U.K. consulting market has experienced activity growth of 25% through 2022, resulting in Britain’s consulting sector bringing in around £18 billion in revenue for the year. The MCA regularly surveys its members, using their reported performance to gauge the size and health of the country’s management consulting industry. With the U.K. economy facing major uncertainty due to the impacts of the pandemic, Brexit, supply chain disruptions, and nearby geopolitical instability, the new data has become an important measure of the health of the market.
While the greater U.K. economy continues to edge toward recession amid ongoing strikes, a collapse in consumer confidence, and record inflation, the consulting market has continued to thrive, with figures released by MCA in the summer of 2022 showing the country’s consulting sector growing by 18% in 2021, reaching revenues of £14.4 billion.
Commenting on the findings, Nusrat Ghani, Minister for Industry and Investment Security, said, “This encouraging survey from the MCA highlights the continued strength and growth of the vibrant U.K. consulting sector. Growing demand in areas such as digital transformation and sustainability advice is already creating thousands of new jobs across the U.K.”
Looking forward, MCA’s members have expressed a sense of cautious optimism, predicting high rates of growth for consulting work in the energy and resources, health and life sciences, and digital and technology segments. Over a third of respondents named a general economic slowdown as the biggest challenge they faced, with another third citing reduced spending as a potential cause of reduced future growth.
Hiring and retaining top talent also remains a substantial challenge for many firms, with consultancies experiencing an ongoing shortage of candidates who possess the kind of digital skills needed to succeed in a rapidly changing technological world. Over half of respondents indicated that a competitive salary was their best incentive on offer to attract the right talent, with over a third citing a better work life balance as a key attractor. Hybrid and remote work also serves as an important incentive, with 60% of respondents stating they were more satisfied with their jobs as a result of the arrangements.
In spite of widespread global uncertainty roiling markets and causing companies to tighten their spending, it is clear that the specialized knowledge and capabilities of the consulting industry remain in high demand. Whether this continues through the new year remains to be seen, but the U.K. consulting industry appears ready to make the best use of new opportunities to innovate.