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UK Consulting at three year high - MCA

London: The latest half year report from the UK's Management Consultancies Association, MCA, shows double digit growth in the UK consulting industry for the first time in three years, despite cuts in public service consulting.

The report published this month, shows11 per cent growth, a significant improvement on the same period last year (6 per cent growth), and the same period in 2009 — when the MCA data showed that that the industry contracted by 2 per cent.

The MCA Report is based on survey of MCA member firms, which represent almost three quarters of the UK consulting market in fee income. In the first half of 2011, the report found that just under two thirds of firms experienced growth, despite an increase in the proportion of consulting firms that experienced a drop in income.

Sectors and services

Financial services and manufacturing are the strongest markets for the industry with 71% and 63% of consulting firms reporting an increase in work respectively. 2011 has also seen a large rise in the number of firms seeing growth in primary industries such as mining and utilities. MCA members are more optimistic about the public sector than they were a year ago. Change management was by far the strongest performing service area, with almost two thirds (60 per cent) of firms reporting growth.

Operational issues

The report also found that over half of MCA member firms are running at capacity — the highest figure since 2007 when the MCA started gathering this data. The report, also, suggests evidence of increased use of fixed prices and payment by results contracts, particularly in the public sector.

Commenting on the findings of the report Alan Leaman, CEO of the MCA, said: "2011 has started well for the industry, but member firms are cautious about the rest of the year. Growth in management consulting will help to deliver growth elsewhere. It is encouraging that so many clients are implementing the change they need to compete effectively in a tough economic climate. The professional services sector is a key one for the UK economy, particularly at a time when we need to boost exports."

The full report is available from the MCA here

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