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UK consulting market ranks top of 2015 global "attractiveness" index

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The UK's consulting market has ranked top of the 2015 Global Market Attractiveness Index.

The Index, which is published in a report by leading global consulting market analysts Source Information Services (Source), ranks regions by their attractiveness over the next twelve months. The Index placed the DACH region second, Australia and the GCC joint third, and the US fifth.

The report says that the UK is a clear leader as in relative terms its consulting market is massive, and it has pulled forward mainly due to the propensity to buy consulting. Source analysts also found that whilst the DACH region really stands out (ranked top) for its average revenue per consultant, there are few other places in the world where the average consultant delivers as much revenue to their employer as they do in the UK.

Edward Haigh, Director of Source Information Services said: "As a proportion of GDP, the UK's consulting market stands head and shoulders over every other market in the world, and right now that, combined with the other factors we look at, ought to put it at the front of the queue for investment from consulting firms."

The Index ranks each country/region by the following:

  • Talent: How easy it is to attract and retain the talent.
  • Growth: The market's prospects for growth in 2015.
  • Average revenue per consultant: Based on data from Source's state-of-the-art market models.
  • Propensity to buy: Based on the size of consulting markets relative to the GDP of the geographies within which they sit (International Monetary Fund 2013 figures)

Emerging markets — often a small market a long way from home

The Source report says that when you take away high growth from emerging markets, what you're often left with is a small market a long way from home -- one in which clients haven't yet bought into the idea that consultants can deliver value, decent talent is very difficult, if not impossible to find, and it's hard to get paid much, if you can get paid at all. As a result, most of the emerging markets prop up the bottom of the Attractiveness Index.

The exception is the GCC which has been such a reliable source of growth over the last few years, and where the average revenue per consultant is bettered only by DACH (and specifically Germany).

The US and China

Source says that if the most important measure of attractiveness is size, then the $40bn US consulting market would be top. But, although the US market is in pretty good shape, it is experiencing a slowing rate of growth and while it has more consultants than any other market, it could, in certain areas, run out of consultants. Source says that if firms extend their planning horizon forward and buy into the idea that digital transformation is the next big thing in the global consulting market, then the US is the place to be.

China ranked 13th in the Index largely because consulting is viewed — at least among domestic clients — as anything but the norm. Source says that it's hard to be particularly positive about the prospects for consulting firms when reports abound that most are about to be banned from working in China's enormous State Owned Enterprise sector because they're suspected of spying for the American government.

Edward Haigh from Source says: "While big questions remain about the long-term future of the UK market, not least because the very clients who are most likely to turn to consultants for help are the same ones who are uncomfortable with their predilection for doing so, there's little wrong with the UK's consulting market at the moment. Indeed, we suspect there's no safer bet for 2015."

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