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Market Update: Consultancy and Strategy


Digital and analytics are now pervasive across all industries and business domains. Technology is a facilitator for greater operational efficiency, customer engagement and ultimately, profitability opportunities. The consulting market is extremely active because of this, but with mixed results. The dynamics of the market mean that strategy firms which lack the capabilities to bring digital or analytics strategies to life, are facing an accountability problem; whereas firms which are primarily focused on software implementations, for example, are often accused of lacking genuine strategic impact. The talent landscape is fast-developing, with an ever-diverse pool of skills, backgrounds and perspectives. However, on the whole, they are seeking greater flexibility.


The operations consulting talent market was extremely active in H1. With industry clients looking to transform the way they operated during this period, consultancies experienced a period of high demand. Coupled with talent themes such as ‘the great resignation,’ this has meant the talent market is extremely competitive.

Now, more than ever, we are seeing candidates place a greater weight on culture, rather than monetary factors, when deciding on potential new employers. As we head further into H2, we expect a continued period of growth, with those ready to be bold and active in their talent strategies coming out on top.


The first half of 2021 saw strategy consultancies experience a dramatic bounce back from some of the most troubled months in 2020. With their industry clients taking confidence from the relaxing of COVID rules, and an effort to return to normality, their strategy has flipped from cost cutting to investment for growth. This, coupled with a major cash injection into the market from PE spurring lots of M&A activity, has meant many leading consultancies have posted record breaking months. There is no sign of a market slowdown in H2 2021, so we would predict a continued desire to grow, diversify and invest in more talent.


H1 saw contrasting markets within the corporate strategy and pricing and revenue management space. Q1 saw candidates enter the job market due to the uncertainty surrounding their current role. Q2 then saw a positive bounce back within many industries and functions seeing record investment, opening the door for internal career growth and external hiring.

Through H1 companies had to adapt their products and services to a changing consumer market and this fuelled a need to hire consultants with experience driving, executing and delivering change. Despite some of the early uncertainty, one thing nearly all businesses seem to agree on is that we are in a better place proceeding into H2 and 2022, and this optimism has led to positive talent planning, suggesting a continuation of growth hires.