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MCA Member Survey

The MCA commissioned this member survey to identify the key trends, challenges and opportunities facing the consulting sector in the UK.

Our aim, as the voice of the consulting industry, is to enhance understanding about the benefits that leading management consultancies in the UK deliver to both public and private sector organisations. Over 328 management consultants participated in the research work from firms of all sizes and specialisms and at all levels from Heads of Consulting to Junior Consultants in January 2019. Roughly two thirds of respondents worked for larger and medium sized firms whilst one third of participants came from SMEs.

Despite the political turbulence in the UK the outlook for the sector is optimistic for 2019 after a broadly positive performance in 2018. As well as forecasts and predictions the survey also highlights some of the key internal and external challenges facing our member firms and we hope this report will provide some interesting insights into trends in the sector.

Tamzen Isacsson, Chief Executive of the Management Consultancies Association said

“Consultants are highly valued by clients across the UK for bringing in the smartest and best digital talent and helping to transform businesses, deliver tangible results and get better outcomes for firms. Developing top talent is not the privilege of one educational institution and this survey shows entrance to leading management consultancy firms is becoming more accessible than ever. The outlook for the consulting sector is positive this year with firms expecting an uplift in due to Brexit related activity and the constant demand for digital and tech advisory.”

Key Findings

1. Management Consultancies are recruiting significantly less graduates from Oxbridge and Russell Group universities. In the survey, only 4% of young consultants were educated at Oxbridge whilst 54% came from Russell Group universities as leading firms seek to diversify their talent pool and compete with tech giants for the best skilled young people. Over the past 8 years the number of young consultants attending Russell Group universities has dropped by a fifth and the number attending Oxbridge has dropped 9 percentage points.


2. Three quarters of respondents believed the consulting industry is better than most sectors at attracting high quality talent, but young consultants said firms needed to offer sociable hours of work and better work life balance, continued professional development as well as competitive salaries to attract the best talent


3. In terms of future trends, AI, automation and cyber security were likely to have the most profound impact with the increasing use of these technologies growing across the sector