By Alison Huntington
At the end of last year we published our market attractiveness index for 2015, in which we revealed which consulting markets represented the best bets for the year ahead. The UK came top. Scoring well in respect of talent (how easy it is to find and retain the people you need), growth prospects, and average revenue per consultant, where the UK really stood out from the crowd was in clients’ propensity to buy consulting, as measured by the size of the consulting market relative to the size of the UK economy: as we put it then, you’re more likely to find yourself sitting next to a consultant in the UK then you are anywhere else in the world.
Since then we’ve carried out a huge amount of research in preparation for the publication of our UK consulting market report for 2015. So, do we still hold to our view about the UK?
The picture is indeed still rosy, for two of the four metrics in particular. Consultants in the UK find themselves in a sweet spot – the consulting market grew by more than 6% in 2014 and the forecast looks very positive – and a full 60% of clients expect their spending on consulting to increase over the next 18 months. So that’s two of the four metrics – growth and propensity to buy consulting – still looking very strong.
Where change may be afoot is in the other two: talent and revenue per consultant. Although a perennial problem for many consultants across the globe, the ‘war for talent’ is particularly fierce for senior, experienced resources in the UK. People with the right experience are in short supply, but it doesn’t end with finding them – hanging onto the talent you have it proving hard too. As ambitious consultants seek to move up the food chain, some find it’s easier to switch firms than carve out their path to the partnership where they are.
And although the economy has picked up, clients haven’t forgotten what it’s like to be up against it. Prolonged recession has altered expectations about how much should be spent on consulting, and anyone who thought economic recovery would be a chance to raise fee rates needs to think again. Add to that a growing trend of waiving fees for preliminary pieces of work to secure larger projects, and intensifying competition as the traditional division of labour in the consulting markets are swept away, and you can see that it’s an issue that’s set to stay.
So the picture isn’t perfect. But it’s still a whole lot better than it is in many other markets, and although we’re expecting to see a really positive picture emerge from our research into the US market (our report’s due for publication towards the end of May), it seems fairly safe to say that the UK is about as good a place to be a consultant right now as you’ll find anywhere.
Source:: Source for Consultants