MEMBER SURVEY 2021
Our new member survey identifies the key trends, challenges, and opportunities facing the consulting sector in the UK.
The MCA commissioned this member survey to identify the key trends, challenges and opportunities facing the consulting sector in the UK, and the impact of COVID-19 on clients and consultants.
Our research draws on data from individuals, senior leaders and CEOs employed at a wide variety of firms across the UK, and provides an unrivalled assessment of the performance of the consulting sector in the UK in 2020, and future predictions for growth.
The research explores the effects of the pandemic on key aspects of the consulting industry, the impact on clients, and attitudes to flexible working. Over 500 management consultants participated in the research work from firms of all sizes and specialisms and at all levels, from Managing Partners to Heads of Consulting and Junior Consultants, in the last few weeks of 2020.
Roughly three-quarters of respondents worked for larger and medium sized firms while one quarter of participants came from smaller firms. As ever, the importance of attracting and nurturing talent is a key focus for our industry and we have looked at how training and development has been negatively impacted by the switch to remote working.
As well as publishing 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.
GROWTH IN 2020
FORECAST GROWTH IN 2021 / 2022
TOP THREE ADVANTAGES TO CLIENTS OF WORKING REMOTELY
TOP THREE CHALLENGES WITH CLIENTS OF WORKING REMOTELY
YOUNG MCA CONSULTANTS ATTENDING OXBRIDGE
YOUNG MCA CONSULTANTS ATTENDING A RUSSELL GROUP UNIVERSITY
"Working from home was a new way of working and an easy starting point for many projects due to resources being freed up and new problems arising."
Senior Consultant, Larger firm
The MCA membership represents a wide range of firm sizes, service specialisms and sector expertise.
Just over two-thirds of the membership are classed as ‘large firms’ (>100 full-time consulting staff); a third of the membership is made up of SME firms (<100 full-time consulting staff).
507 consultants from MCA member firms responded to the 2020-21 member survey, representing management consultants from new joiners and Analysts, to Heads of Consulting and practice Managing Directors.
2020: Year in review
The MCA estimates that consulting activity grew by 2.5% in 2020. Growth was less than previously anticipated but still stable reflecting the resilience of the consulting sector and the huge efforts made by firms to react quickly to events and cater to new client demands. A third of firms stated that consulting activity exceeded expectations in 2020 (32%) whilst a third did not meet their expectations (34%) and the final third felt they generally met expectations.
2020-21: Looking ahead
MCA leaders estimate that consulting activity will grow by around 9% in the next 12-24 months and consultants are optimistic with 95% expecting consulting activity to increase in the next two years. This growth is expected to be fuelled in part by growth in both the Digital Consulting and Government and Public Sector service lines.
In a year of unforeseen change to ways of working, three quarters (73%) of MCA members name the increasing requirement for flexible / remote working as one of the top three areas that will have a significant impact on consulting firms over the next two years.
Over half (56%) of respondents state the impact of Brexit as one of the top three significant issues they expect to affect firms over the coming 12-24 months, while two in five (42%) say the same of growing societal demand for more diversity representation at all levels in all firms.
The future of the profession
Training and development remain an important priority for the industry. Nonetheless it is one that has been significantly disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic: over a third (36%) of consultants believe that they have not received as much training as usual during the pandemic or that the quality of training has declined.
The Young MCA
When looking at experiences of training and development on young consultants during COVID-19, only half (53%) of Young MCA members have received at least the same amount of training when compared to before the pandemic.
Young MCA members are also more likely to say they have received training, but not to the usual standards compared to those with more than 5 years of experience (7% vs. 13%).