Vince Cable, the Cabinet Minister responsible for business policy, used this year’s MCA Annual Lecture to launch a new government strategy for the professional services sector.
Growth is our Business is part of the Business Department’s broader industrial policy. It praises the UK’s professional services as a ‘global success story’, drawing attention to an outstanding export record and the sector’s ability to compete effectively throughout the world.
With many of the country’s leading management consultants in the audience, Mr Cable said that he hoped that professional services would achieve a higher profile in future, since it is now clearly a key part of the UK economy – more significant in the UK than both financial services and manufacturing – with four million employees and the largest trade surplus of any sector.
Cable also encouraged firms to grow the apprenticeship route into consulting and praised the recent work of MCA member firm PwC. He also urged consulting firms to take advantage of opportunities to grow in the emerging markets and pledged greater support from UKTI, the government’s organisation that promotes exports and inward investment.
In her introduction, MCA President Aimie Chapple praised Cable for recognising ‘that a vibrant professional services sector will be an important ingredient in Britain’s future success.’
‘As management consultancies, and part of the wider professional services sector, we are a major employer of talent and creator of new jobs,’ she said. ‘We recruit thousands of young graduates every year and are also creating opportunities for school leavers through apprenticeships and other routes. And our services are in demand all around the world, so we are increasingly an important export industry for the UK as well.’