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What does the future hold for management consulting?

The world of management consulting has changed drastically over the past 5 years, and even more so in the last 2 years during the pandemic. We take a look at the future of management consulting, in a range of areas such as what the future holds for hiring management consultants, as well as future trends for management consulting in general. 

What does the future hold for the hiring process of management consultants?

The market for hiring consultants is extremely competitive at the moment, certainly the most in my 8 years of experience. Businesses are looking to consultants more than ever in the post-pandemic world, to help them take their company to the next level. However, although it is now more competitive, it has also become a much easier process to hire management consultants, primarily due to the ease of video interviews. Given that a lot of people are returning to the office and visiting clients you may be thinking: ‘should we go back to face-to-face interviews?’ I think the simple answer is no! Conducting virtual interviews can benefit all parties, and is definitely the most efficient way. 

However, as well as the obvious efficiency it brings, virtual interviews can enable a more positive candidate experience. In a survey, over 65% of candidates said that they preferred virtual interviews, with factors such as lack of stress regarding travel time and dress code, as well as more informal setting meant that they relaxed more, and therefore performed better. The working world has changed as a result of the pandemic, and given that remote working is here to stay, it seems only natural that video interviews play a major part in the hiring of consultants. 

Furthermore, it's not just the Big 4 that have come out well on the other side of COVID, as smaller, boutique agencies and freelancing have also seen an increase in popularity. The flexibility and independence offered by smaller boutiques are attracting more management consulting candidates, as does the opportunity for quicker progression. 

What is the future of the management consulting sector?

Management consulting is still one of the largest and most lucrative industries in the world, with McKinsey estimated to be worth over a staggering $10billion. Management consultants will be even more in demand following the COVID-19 pandemic, as businesses seek to employ the industry knowledge and experience of a professional to take their business to the next step. So, how can managing consultants ensure they stay ahead of the curve? 

Utilize new technology 

The world of machine learning and AI has greatly disrupted the management consulting sphere, and it is imperative that management consultants work with, rather than against innovations in technology to ensure they can give the best service to their clients.  As stated in Consultancy UK, ‘consultants bring in a lot of supplementing skills, and services such as AI to pave the way for a real automated decision making. If consultancies cannot adapt to the data expectations of their clients on these terms, they will find life increasingly difficult.’

Focus on your niche

Although more general managing consultants will still of course be in-demand, there will be a real trend towards consultants with in-depth industry know-how, whether it be in procurementfinancial services or engineering. Just as technology keeps evolving, as do the industries themselves, and it is therefore crucial to find a consultant who really knows their stuff in a particular sector. This means while generalists have historically thrived in consulting, advisory work needs to be more industry specific than ever before (Consultancy UK). It can be really beneficial to hone your skills in a specific area, perhaps in a smaller, boutique consultancy to really delve deeper into a sector. 

Adjust to your client's needs

The world of management consulting has always been one of the most client-lead industries out there, but it will be more important than ever to offer completely tailor-made advice and strategies to the client. What may have worked for one client in the past might not fit the bill for another, and managing consultants need to constantly adapt their approach to fit the client’s needs, as well as keep abreast of what can be an ever-changing industry. As stated by Thomas Reisenweber, CEO of Consulting and Management at umlaut, ‘a one-size-fits-all is a diminishing business model,” and offering personalised knowledge will add more value to clients.

We hope we have given you a flavour of what to expect from the future of management consulting, from the process of hiring future management consultants, to future trends in the management consulting industry as a whole. 

Hopefully this blog will help you prepare yourself and your industry for the inevitable changes in the future of management consulting. For more advice from Ascent Professional Services, visit Career Advice. You can also submit your CV or contact us directly for support and guidance in finding your next management consulting role.

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