MEMBER SURVEY 2020
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.
Over 500 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 the last few weeks of 2019. Roughly
two-thirds of respondents worked for larger and medium-sized firms while
one-third of participants came from SMEs. Despite a year of political and
economic uncertainty, the outlook for the sector is optimistic for 2020
and growth last year far outpaced the rate of growth of the rest of the UK
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. This year we have surveyed the growing importance of sustainability and the environment for clients and analysed the key services required by consultants over the coming years.
2019: The Year In Review
2020/21: Looking Ahead
Environmental / Sustainability Trends
"High demand in business transformation and change management services."
Head of Consulting, Large 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 2019-20 member survey, representing management consultants from new joiners and Analysts, to Heads of Consulting and practice Managing Directors.
2019: Year in review
MCA council representatives estimate that consulting activity grew by 8% in 2019.
2019 marked another positive year for the consulting industry. While the year was often defined by uncertainty and unpredictability, the vast majority of firms witnessed positive growth – a third of firms stated that consulting activity exceeded expectations (34%).
2020: Looking ahead
MCA council representatives estimate that consulting activity will grow by around 6% in the next 12-24 months.
Consultants are optimistic about the next 12-24 months; over three-quarters expect consulting activity to increase in the next two years. Whilst the number of those believing consulting activity may stagnate or decline has increased, the broader picture remains positive when comparing results year-on-year.
Sustainability is top of mind for the industry – a quarter of all respondents highlighted sustainable business models and customer sustainability expectations as the number one trend for the next two years.
While uncertainty around the UK’s future in Europe has somewhat abated, concerns surrounding the UK economy remain strong. Over half of consultants believe a slowdown of the UK economy and reduced spend on consulting due to economic pressure will have an impact on the industry in 2020/2021.
The future of the profession
Compared to competing industries, the consulting industry remains strong at attracting some of the best talent.
Competitive salaries, sociable hours of work, training and development, and flexible working are key benefits firms should promote in order to attract and retain talent.
The Young MCA
The number of consultants attending Russell Group universities has decreased, signalling a further diversification of the consulting talent pool. However, there has been an increase in the number representing Oxbridge.