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MCA Member Survey 2024


Our annual member survey identifies the key trends, challenges, and opportunities facing the consulting sector in the UK.


Every year starts with fresh ambitions and optimism, and the prospects for the consultancy sector in 2024 are no different in this regard.

Certainly, the next 12 months look like challenging ones across the UK and the globe as economies struggle to contain the effects of inflation, boost growth and productivity, and we face a multitude of elections across different borders with the potential to reshape major priorities and policies. The impact of climate change on our communities continues to rise in urgency and businesses and society will grapple with one of the biggest advancements in technology as we continue to test and integrate the safe deployment of AI.

Amidst all this fast-paced activity and ambiguity, the demand for trusted advisors with specialist expertise and the highest level of training and development will remain strong. In times of uncertainty, clients will look to our sector for that reassurance of cross sector expertise and experience, innovation and a commitment to ethical standards alongside the utmost standards of delivery.

This study of the views of consultants across the industry is the biggest ever conducted and has gathered the important opinions of both leaders and the newest recruits who have just joined our thriving profession. All our diversity of voices in the sector have helped to shape this report from large, medium and small firms.

Detailed data has been provided by MCA council leaders, ensuring we can provide the most accurate forecasts and sector predictions, and to provide insight into the challenges and opportunities ahead, providing an unrivalled assessment of the performance of the management consultancy industry.

Many members have written detailed reflections on important issues that impact our profession, from the recent challenges around the UK economy and workforce changes in the sector to diversity and inclusion topics, hybrid working and work life balance. We have read them diligently and we hope we have done them justice in this report.

There is much room for optimism and encouragement but also some important conclusions that require our attention. Our new ways of hybrid working have unleashed high levels of job satisfaction, and the results show our industry continues to be increasingly accessible. However, we must ensure our work on diversity and inclusion receives our steadfast support and renewed attention.

It is a sign of strength in our profession that we are transparent in the challenges we face, and open about the areas that require our attention, communication, and collaboration.

This survey is just the start of that conversation, and we hope you find it useful.


Chief Executive

Survey Overview



GROWTH IN 2024/25




"These results from the MCA are great news for our vibrant and growing UK consulting sector. It is excellent to see growing demand for expertise in areas such as AI and digital technology, helping to create thousands of new jobs and grow the economy."

Minister for Industry and Economic Security, Nusrat Ghani

Executive Summary

Our membership

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).

1246 consultants from MCA member firms responded to the member survey, representing management consultants from Analysts to Heads of Consulting.

2023: Year in review

2023 was a year marked by an unsettled economy in the UK as it diced with recession, inflation and, at times, glimmers of growth.

Through a wider lens there has been global turbulence, with the Middle East crisis and Russia’s continued illegal invasion of Ukraine causing disruption. This has continued to feed into widespread uncertainty around what 2024 will bring, underlined by a general nervousness about the state of the UK economy. The next year will also see a general election and a possible change in government power and direction for the country. The question remains whether this will inspire confidence or further disrupt the current economic climate. Growth in 2023 generally met the expectations of those within the industry, with just over half (54%)of industry leaders reporting that their firm’s growth was within the parameters they were expecting, and just under one in five (19%) suggesting that growth has exceeded their expectations. Last year was less positive than 2022, when 48% of leaders said growth had exceeded expectations. A third (27%) of consulting leaders in 2023 felt that their organisation did not meet expectations.

2024-25: Looking ahead

Looking ahead into 2024, estimates provided by MCA council representatives suggest that the consulting sector will grow by 9% in the next 12 months, and by 11% in 2025.
Despite the backdrop of economic uncertainty across the wider UK economy, the positive outlook for the consulting sector remains encouraging. It is without doubt, however, that the market is extremely competitive, and the nature of project pipelines has altered somewhat, with clients taking much longer in decision making and dividing up larger consulting projects.

Nearly three in four (72%) MCA council representatives anticipate that consulting activity will increase in the next 12 months, with 13% expecting client demand to increase significantly.

The future of the profession

The UK consulting sector is experiencing a recovery and growth phase following the pandemic, leading to significant shifts in working practices.

Consulting firms are likely to be influenced by continued trends in remote, hybrid and flexible working, with an increasing emphasis on AI, digital transformation, virtual collaboration and other necessary tools for these changes. According to responses from leaders, the management consultancy industry is expected to undergo notable transformations, including greater integration of technology and data analytics, as well as a focus on the interplay with sustainability. AI is a tool that has many capabilities but will be increasingly leveraged to address complex sustainability challenges. Machine learning models may be engineered to simplify processes with ESG data management, making efficiencies while ensuring accuracy in reporting and compliance.

The Young MCA

According to the findings of the MCA Member Survey, the consulting industry continues to become more inclusive for graduates from diverse backgrounds. The decreasing number of young consultants who attended a Russell Group university suggests a broader pool of talent and increased efforts by firms to enhance social mobility.

The percentage of young consultants who attended a Russell Group university has remained consistent with last year (35%), having declined from a peak of 73% in 2011. This point is further highlighted by only 5% reporting receiving their education at Oxbridge – compared to 7% saying they did not attend university at all.

For questions or queries regarding the 2024 MCA Member Survey please contact Caroline Florence.
Tel: 020 7645 7959

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