Management consultants are back in demand

THE UK management consultancy sector has grown at its fastest rate since 2007 according to new annual data the Management Consultancies Association (MCA) released today.

The MCA, whose membership represents over 60 per cent of the UK consulting industry, revealed that growth in the sector grew by eight per cent in 2013 to £4.8bn, with recruitment leaping up to 16 per cent to reach 35,000 consultants employed across MCA member firms.

Financial services continued to be the largest private sector income source for MCA consultancies, with a 35 per cent share, but the most rapidly growing sectors in 2013 were construction and transport, up 60 per cent, services, up 21 per cent, and the telecoms, high tech and media sector, up 18 per cent.

Meanwhile continuing growth in digital and technology services led to its market share rising by six per cent in 2013 to comprise a 25 per cent share of consulting revenues.

The sector saw a dramatic rise of 115 per cent in the number of digital management consultants, to reach 8,000.

Paul Connolly, director of the MCA think tank said the increase “highlights how the consulting industry is central to the emergence of digital as a major force in the UK economy”.

Growth has been more modest in consulting to the public sector, with some recovery from the acute retrenchments following the financial crisis at the end of the last decade. This was shown by growth of five per cent in 2012 being followed last year by just three per cent growth.

However, this still left public sector consulting well below pre-downturn levels, with public sector spending on consulting around half in real terms of previous heights in the last decade.

After a strong record of overall growth for the management consultancy sector in 2013, that outperformed the wider economy, the MCA believes gains are likely to continue with a forecast of double digit growth for the industry in 2014.