Monday 2 March 2020 10:31 am

UK’s consulting market slows its growth in 2019

Growth in the UK consulting market almost halved in the three years between the 2016 EU referendum and 2019, a new report has shown.

Britain’s consultancy growth slowed from 7.5 per cent in 2016 to four per cent in 2019, according to a study by Source Global Research.

Similar growth rates are expected in 2020 as the industry will benefit from some Brexit changes, but this is likely to come into full effect in 2021, once the UK and the EU have settled a deal.

The largest markets — public sector and financial services — both endured challenging years, with the latter’s growth of seven per cent per cent in 2017 falling to 4.1 per cent last year.

“Regulatory-driven work in the UK’s financial services sector — for so long a foundation of the UK’s consulting market — is on the wane, as clients try to use internal resources to do the work,” the report said.

The volume of public sector consulting work grew by only one per cent in 2019, down from 4.5 per cent in 2018, as uncertainty caused by the Brexit vote caused upheaval and delays to decision making around policies.

However, clarity brought about by Boris Johnson’s Brexit stance could foster an environment for investment, allowing the consulting industry to recover, according to Zoe Stumpf from Source Global Research.

“At face value, the UK consulting market looks set to bounce back from the paralysis that affected some parts of the market in 2019. Hoping that the country will now ‘Get Brexit Done’, there’s a willingness to invest… especially in areas where digital technology can transform productivity.”

UK consulting received a boost in the last year from clients’ growing interest in sustainability, as
businesses increasingly consider sustainability a key principle of how they operate.