Record numbers of opportunities for school leavers, apprentices, and graduates from across the UK are expected for those wanting to join the management consulting sector as firms experience a significant increase in demand from clients. Figures collected by the Management Consultancies Association (MCA) show that nearly 10,000 new jobs have recently been announced by firms as they invest in boosting their talent pipeline over the next few years until 2026. It comes as firms of all sizes have confirmed ambitious recruitment plans during one of the busiest periods ever for the consulting industry as clients turn to consultants for critical support during periods of significant change and digital transformation.
Large, medium, and small firms have all increased the number of roles in their firms in 2022. Small and medium sized MCA member firms have hired approximately 1,200 more people this year and this number is expected to increase both in 2023 and 2024 by 1,300 and 3,000, respectively. Of the roles created, over a third will be outside London with many more open to people regardless of where they are based. Over 400 of these roles in small and medium firms will be for school leavers, apprentices and graduates who are interested in pursuing a career in consulting working with a variety of clients in the public and private sector.
Large firms have also seen substantial growth plans which will see headcount increase. This includes EY who plan to increase the number of consultants from 5,100 to around 10,200 people by 2026. More than half of the new roles will be based outside of London. Deloitte created 1,200 new consulting roles in 2021/22, with the practice forecasting around 1,500 new roles for the current financial year (1 June 2022 to 31 May 2023).
Overall, KPMG saw 2,767 more new hires in 2021 compared to 1,857 in 2020 and 1,085 graduate and apprentice joiners compared to 909 in 2020 while PwC brought 5,856 new joiners into the business across the UK, with 1,418 joining through their graduates, school, and college leaver routes while Grant Thornton recruited a record 450 trainees and increased its total number of staff by 12% to more than 5,100 last year.
The recent announcements follow record recruitment growth last year in the sector when there was a 14% increase in headcount for consultancies in 2021, with an estimated overall total of 88,000 management consultants across the UK. The MCA Annual Industry Report showed that small and large firms saw the largest headcount increases of 17% while medium sized firms saw an increase of 10%. This robust growth in employment can be directly attributed to the step change in demand for consultancy services from clients in recent times with further recruitment expected in the next 12-24 months to help meet demand.
In addition, there has been a 51% increase in the number of graduates employed from 2020 with more school leavers also joining the sector. In total there were nearly 1,700 apprentices in programmes for firms represented by the MCA with large firms employing the majority of apprentices. Medium sized firms have the highest proportion of new graduates and apprentices outside London and this trend is expected to continue due to hybrid working, the reduction in travel and less time required on client site. It has also opened the talent pool to those who were previously unable or reluctant to work in the sector. There was also an increase in the number of regional offices for consultancy firms with Manchester, Leeds, Birmingham, and Edinburgh all seeing more opportunities for local talent.
These strong numbers reflect the demand for talent with growth in the sector of 18% in 2021 and further growth expected in the next 12-24 months and reflects the positive impact consulting firms are having in wider society. Highlights of these projects were announced recently at the MCA Awards and includes helping to deal with the backlog of women delayed in waiting for breast screening due to the pandemic (CF), to critical digital upgrades required for Network Rail’s safety management (EY) and the London Ambulance Service (Mason Advisory). Other leading projects selected by the judges include Atkins’ work with the Ministry of Defence (MoD) on materially reducing cyber risk by creating a cyber aware workforce and culture.
Tamzen Isacsson, MCA Chief Executive, said: “The UK has one of the leading management consultancy centres in the world and the strong demand globally and in the UK for our services from clients means firms are recruiting intensively to meet demand. This is positive news for our sector and provides huge opportunities for talented individuals from across the UK regardless of their background or location.”
For more information, please go to www.mca.org.uk
The Management Consultancies Association (MCA)
The MCA is the representative body for the UK’s leading management consulting firms. For over 65 years, the MCA has been the voice of the consulting industry, promoting the value of consulting to business, the public sector, media commentators and the general public. The MCA’s mission is to promote the value of management consultancy for the economy and society as a whole. The MCA’s member companies comprise over 50% of the UK consulting industry work with the vast majority of the top FTSE 100 companies and almost all parts of the public sector. The UK consulting industry is amongst the best in the world and a vital part of the business landscape. Click to see the full list of current MCA members see link.
Compliance with the MCA’s tough entry criteria and adherence to the principles of Consulting Excellence means that MCA member companies are widely acknowledged to provide high quality services to their clients. Many of their achievements are recognised in the annual MCA Awards.