Top 10 hardest consulting jobs to fill for consultancy recruiters

13 November 2017 5 min. read
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Consulting functions are becoming increasingly difficult to fill, thanks to increases in competition, skills shortages and uncertainty surrounding the UK’s fiscal future, following Brexit. As a result of the attractive labour market for consultants, many consultancy recruiters of agencies are struggling with finding the right candidates for outstanding positions. Technology and digital roles are the most demanding.

The UK’s £9 billion consulting sector is finding the recruitment of key talent increasingly difficult. Firms are constantly reworking their old hiring techniques in order to better court new talent, with a growing number of smaller competitors making competition for intake increasingly fierce.

According to data sourced by from global jobs board Indeed, 16.5% of consulting vacancies in the UK listed on the employment site are difficult to fill, remaining unoccupied for 60 days or more. Indeed's percentages are based on thousands of open consultant vacancies on the vacancy website, with the current tally standing at over 88,000. These range from jobs in the top segment of the market – strategy consulting and management consulting – to operational roles such as database consultant and SEO consultant. The vacancy review also includes internal consulting roles available within other organisations outside the consulting industry.


Analysis of Indeed’s figures shows that the following consultancy functions are the most difficult to recruit for, usually due to their high entry criteria. Predictably, the most qualified position of senior associate consultant is the one which is most often unfilled after 60 days, with 53.7% remaining open on Indeed after two months. The role is followed closely by senior technology consultant, with 52% of the listings for the specialist role remaining open beyond the 60 day mark. 

The 10 hardest consulting jobs to fill for consultancy recruiters

Technology is the most represented specialism on the list. In light of growing digitisation, the subject also relates to a majority of the roles in some capacity – particularly operations consultant, which is increasingly focused on the technological and digital overhaul of clients businesses – it is also present in the list twice. 37% of technology consultant positions were found to still be open after 60 days of posting. This is most likely because of the high level of specified qualification required for the role.

Specialism will have been a key factor behind a number of jobs being difficult to fill. With talent scarcity becoming an increasingly dominant problem on the human capital agenda, firms must compete with a growing number of rivals for a limited pool of skills. Human capital management consultants themselves are presently the subject of this gap, with 33% of roles going unfilled. 32% of education consultant roles meanwhile remained unoccupied following two months of searching, while the data also found that the same portion of senior energy consultant recruitment exercises were unsuccessful over the same period.

Consultancy in the UK

On top of the rise in competition making recruitment a slower process, the industry is currently bracing itself for the repercussions of Brexit. Although the impending split from the European Union is forecast to increase work for consultants in the short term, the industry is presently reliant on a large number of EU nationals to bolster its workforce. Should a dreaded ‘Hard Brexit’ lead to the tightening of borders, impacting on the free movement of top talent to Britain, the sector may be left vulnerable as it attempts to meet new demand without a ready supply of European professionals. Such is the concern among the industry that the Management Consulting Association joined twelve of its continental sister organisations in the signing of a letter, calling for the UK and EU to maintain market freedoms to prevent Britain’s professional services sector from losing business.

According to a recent report by Source Global Research, the uncertainty surrounding the UK consulting industry’s labour supply had led to it lagging behind the DACH region (Germany, Austria and Switzerland), as well as Australia and the United States, in terms of market attractiveness. “Such is London’s reliance on a flow of talent across its borders – one leader of a global strategy firm recently told us that ‘100%’ of internal applications for positions came from outside the UK – that any interruption to that flow is likely to have a significant impact,” says Source Global Research director Edward Haigh. presently lists over 300 vacancies along with a number of graduate schemes and internships, featuring jobs from the major consulting firms currently operating in Britain.

Related: Number of open business consulting jobs in the UK rises.