• MCA leaders estimate industry will grow 13% in 2022, highlighting the crucial role that firms play in supporting tens of thousands of clients across the UK in difficult and transformational times, according to latest independent survey
  • Six-fold increase in growth in 2021 up from 2.5% in 2020 to 16% in 2021 due to work with new private sector clients, pent up demand and urgent digital transformation required because of the pandemic
  • Solving sustainability challenges for clients and improving environmental impact of businesses expected to grow significantly this year and exports increase significantly
  • No “great resignation” in consulting and over half of consultants (57%) believe work/life balance has improved since March 2020 with more remote working as sector continues to support tens of thousands of young consultants with new jobs

Double digit growth is expected for management consulting industry in 2022 as clients turn to the sector to help with post pandemic recovery and digital challenges, according to the latest survey of consultants from the Management Consultancies Association (MCA). The Member Survey 2022 reveals that growth of 13% is forecast with digital technology continuing to be the largest service line delivered by the sector (92% think it will increase in 2022). The research was independently conducted by Savanta and estimates that double the number of consultants believe clients are turning to them to solve sustainability challenges like restructuring supply chains and responding to new green regulations and changing consumer demand. Large, medium and small firms all participated in the research with data submitted by leaders as well as young consultants.

Growth in 2021 far exceeded expectations of those working in the sector up 16%, a six-fold increase from the rate of 2.5% in the previous year. Contributory factors include an increased number of clients, pent up demand from existing clients and urgent digital transformation as well as increased demand to make supply chains more resilient and more exports of services overseas.

Tamzen Isacsson, Chief Executive of the Management Consultancies Association (MCA), said:

Thousands of British and global clients have turned to the UK’s leading consultancy sector to transform their businesses digitally and pull through from the pandemic, using trusted advisors to accelerate growth plans and provide greater resilience to supply chain operations. Consulting sector growth has been driven by work in the private sector with an uplift in exports overseas and this is forecast to continue at a high rate for the rest of this year.” 

Despite this optimism, there are a number of issues facing the sector with 67% citing the requirement for flexible/remote working as the most significant challenge as clients shift their requirements with less work on site. Due to this rapid growth the recruitment of new top talent is also a key test for firms and the retention of existing staff with the right expertise remains a priority for firms of all sizes. However, contrary to the fear of a ‘great resignation’, the majority of respondents (82%) were not seeking a new role either in consulting or a different industry, an increase from 77% last year.  

Overall, 71% of consultants felt their current work/life balance is better or unchanged compared to pre-pandemic. Training and development continues to be a high priority for consultants of all levels and many firms have had to invest in digital training during recent months. Half of consultants felt that they received at least as much training as before Covid-19 (59%) but 27% believed that they had not as much training or that the quality had dropped, an improvement on the figure reported last year.  

Tamzen Isacsson, Chief Executive of the Management Consultancies Association (MCA), said: 

Thanks to high job satisfaction and the challenge of working with new and varied clients there is no “great resignation” in the consulting sector and the majority of consultants believe their work life balance has improved with less commuting and more remote work. As client demand continues to drive double digit growth the industry remains an attractive career option for the brightest talent in our country, but firms must ensure that training and development continues to be world class and that the generation that joined in the pandemic is able to benefit from learning in both digital and face to face settings. Young Consultants continue to see world class training as a key feature of a career in consulting and see the professionalisation of the industry as important in the future and the new Chartered Management Consultant Award will assist firms in this endeavour. 

Data from young consultants with 0-5 years’ experience also show that the consulting industry continues to be more accessible to young talent from a diverse range of backgrounds and in the last decade the proportion of young consultants who attended a Russell Group university has fallen from 73% to 36% with firms looking for bright new entrants from more diverse talent pools.  

Oliver Worsfold, Director at Savanta, added: 

“Given the ongoing difficult market conditions and uncertainty facing UK PLC, it is positive to see the consulting industry showing both strong growth figures for 2021 and optimism for the year ahead. This shows the sector’s fundamental role in supporting clients through difficult times. Whilst we as a country emerge from the pandemic, clients continue to require consultancy support to navigate its impact and a variety of other challenges including supply chain disruption, demands for them become more sustainable and the need to improve diversity” 

Independent market research agency Savanta partnered with the MCA to collect and analyse member data for the 2022 report. Further information can be found at