Clients say ‘yes’ to more flexible working from their management consultants

Flexible working has often been a challenge in management consultancy, where hours are driven by client demands, but an MCA report published today (13 December 2012) finds that this is changing – as the majority of consulting clients (82% [1]) say having flexible working as part of a management consultancy proposal would not have a negative impact on their buying decision.

The report, Consultants Working Flexibly, is based on research carried out by Research Now. It found that almost two thirds (65%) of consultancy clients had already engaged a consulting team on a flexible basis, with only 2% finding it a negative experience. Overwhelmingly, 85% of clients felt that having the best consulting firm for the job was more important than their working hours.

Three quarters (76%) also stated they would expect management consultancies to promote flexible working, as they change their own internal working practices, since they judge consultancies on the results of their work, rather than hours worked.

Alan Leaman, Chief Executive of the MCA said;

“Our research has found that consulting clients are willing to embrace more flexible working practices from their consultants – focusing on the results they achieve rather than the hours that they work. This comes at a good time, as firms across the industry are offering their consultants more job flexibility to provide a better work-life balance and to encourage the recruitment and retention of top talent.”     

A career in management consulting continues to be a very popular choice for graduates with many consulting firms ranked in Universum’s annual list of the 50 most desired employers[2]. MCA research in 2011 found high levels of job satisfaction and commitment amongst younger management consultants. However, the same MCA research also found that poor work-life balance was the main reason cited by those who were considering leaving the industry in the next five years.

The biggest challenges…

Consulting clients said that the biggest challenge of consultants working flexibly as managing them and their availability. However, those who had previously worked part time or reduced hours themselves said they thought communication rather than availability would be a challenge.  

Alan Leaman continued:

“To help clients feel more confident about engaging consulting teams who work more flexibly, firms need to demonstrate their experience of managing flexible arrangements, and how they have overcome the perceived problems of communication and availability.”

“As an industry which prides itself on the ability to refine, evolve, analyse and aid clients to implement new ideas, it has recognised the need to offer its talent the same benefits of flexible working as their peers on alternative career paths.”

To view a copy of the MCA report, Consultants Working Flexibly, visit the MCA website at


For more information, please contact:

David Pippett
DWP Public Relations
Tel: 01225 335675/Mobile: 07899 798197

About Research Now

Research Now, the leading digital data collection provider, powers market research insights. They enable companies to listen to and interact with the world’s consumers and business professionals through online panels and mobile, digital and social media technologies. Their team operates in 24 offices globally and is recognised as the market research industry’s leader in client satisfaction. They foster a socially responsible culture by empowering their employees to give back. The find out more, visit

About the Management Consultancies Association

The Management Consultancies Association (MCA) is the representative body for management consultancy firms in the UK. Our 45 member companies comprise around 60% of the UK consulting industry, estimated to be worth £9bn in 2008, employ more than 30,000 consultants and work with over 90 of the top FTSE 100 companies and almost all parts of the public sector.

The MCA’s tough entry criteria and rigorous Code of Practice mean that MCA member companies are widely acknowledged to provide high quality services to their clients. Many of their achievements are recognised in the annual MCA Management Awards and the Consultant of the Year Awards.

The MCA informs and influences public debate on topical issues, and provides authoritative data on the industry. It commissions research and policy analysis and represents the industry in discussions with Government and other stakeholders. The MCA also facilitates networking and the sharing of best practice within the industry through events, publications and initiatives such as the Young MCA.

[1] The MCA commissioned Research Now to interview 100 senior people who are engaged in buying consultancy services. The sample comprised both the buyers and end users of consultancy services.

[2] Universum’s annual list is based on the opinion of 144,000 business students from the world’s 12 largest economies.