Over the past decades, the global consulting market has grown to become a multi-billion industry. The industry has not only grown in size, stature and international reach, it has also navigated its way through several cycles of professionalisation, today making it one of the more developed segments within the professional services industry.
Despite the relatively mature state of the market, the large variety of services (industries, functional areas, market/region focus) that span the consulting industry imply that there is no clear-cut consensus on how the market should be defined. Representative bodies (e.g. the MCA in the UK) and analyst firms (e.g. ALM Intelligence, Gartner, etc) all use different market definitions, and as a result the estimates for the size of the consulting market differ substantially, ranging from just over $100 billion up to $280 billion.
ALM Intelligence, a US-based analyst firm that has been tracking the consulting market since the '70s, for instance finds that the global management consulting market is worth around $240 billion, while FEACO – the European Federation of Management Consultancies Associations (founded in 1960) – estimates the market value at nearly $280 billion. Source Global Research, a UK-based analyst firm, provides the most conservative estimate, at $120 billion, in part due to the fact that the firm focuses on the top segment of management consultancy. Gartner believes that total consulting fee income hovers around $131 billion.
The 'gap' between the estimates follows from, among others, different scoping of markets, varying definitions applied for consulting services, differences in regions/markets considered and the nature of calculation models used.
To ensure data consistency throughout the 'Consulting Industry' chapter, unless otherwise specified, Consultancy.uk follows the methodology of ALM Intelligence, globally the most cited source. See the page 'Market Segments' for details.