Traditional models are increasingly challenged by the “gig” economy, agile start-ups and clients who do lots of work previously carried out by consultants themselves. In such a dispersed, dynamic context, how can consulting firms attract and retain highly qualified employees?
As part of a knowledge and talent-based industry, professional service organisations are increasingly looking globally to attract the best candidates. However, the “trend of internal SWAT teams of experts assembled so that these companies do not need external consultants”, is making this more challenging. As well as being advantageous for the company, these internal teams also leverage top talent. Likewise, competition from a multitude of start-ups offering stimulating working conditions is forcing consultancy firms to rethink their employer promise.
Some larger professional service organisations are also using mergers and acquisitions to nourish their talent pool. In 2019, Dentsu Aegis launched a new UK marketing agency after merging four of its existing brands. “By bringing together such diverse and dynamic talent we can tackle any challenge for our clients, devising more creative solutions to solve these in an effort to grow their brands and businesses faster”, explains Dentsu X CEO Patrick Affleck.
In the UK, 20% of the annual management consulting spend goes to independent consultants and project-based professional service work is now worth a massive £40 billion a year.
The rise of independent consultants means that talents can now choose a more flexible, and often more lucrative, way of working that enables them to pick and choose their contracts. In the UK, one-fifth of the £ 10 million annual management consulting spend is snapped up by independents. With the help of evermore sophisticated match-making sites, companies can choose from a growing pool of highly-skilled consultants, who are more often flexible and cost-effective, without worrying about long-term contracts.
“For consulting firms to be able to guide their clients effectively, they need to attract the right talent. Beyond financial incentives, this means creating the right culture and interacting with the wider ecosystem in community-based activities. We need to take the time to get to know our people and become a more active, caring employer. Development and nurturing of our employees is at the heart of what we do”, explains Michelle Maden.
 LexisNexis Trend Report 2019 Patty Wood, Senior Editor of the InfoDesk Consulting Industry Blog, LexisNexis Trend Report 2019
 UK: Dentsu Aegis launches new marketing agency after mega-merger, blog by Competition Policy International https://www.competitionpolicyinternational.com/uk-dentsu-aegislaunches-new-marketing-agency-after-mega-merger/
 One fifth of UK management consulting work goes to independent consultants - Consultancy.uk https://www.consultancy.uk/news/16722/one-fifth-of-ukmanagement-consulting-work-goes-to-independent-consultants