Consultants share their predictions for 2022

30 December 2021 7 min. read
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As a new year brings an end to some long-running issues, many more uncertainties remain, and businesses must still reckon with challenges regarding digitalisation, changing workplace relations and the resurgent pandemic. To help clients prepare for the future, consultants from a range of different specialisms have offered their views on what the key trends for the coming 12 months may be.

Despite optimism having risen earlier in 2021 following the roll out of Covid-19 vaccines around the world, new variants and lingering issues from the first outbreak means a great deal of uncertainty surrounds the future of the UK and the global economy in the coming year. British companies are still battling to overcome a productivity crisis, while supply-chain disruption and labour shortages mean the coming year will see many of them turn to external expertise for help.

Amid these challenges, there will be more opportunities for consultants capable of meeting these demands. However, according to Halil Aksu – CEP & Co-Founder of Digitopia – consultants cannot afford to rest on their laurels when it comes to making the most of these openings.

Consultants share their predictions for 2022

Aksu explained, “Consulting must become much more actionable. Shelf-ware reports are no longer acceptable. Customers and executives expect pragmatic, real-life recommendations, even support with the execution. Let’s get our hands dirty.”

In particular, consultants have been beneficiaries of the drive for digitalisation resulting from the lockdown months. With home working becoming more common in the last two years, the interest, investments, and efforts have dramatically increased in digital. However, Aksu warned that companies now realise that they need consultants need to demonstrate value for money, as the focus of their investments in technology is on quick return and real-life benefits.

“The focus must be on impact. We must not forget that transformation is a means to an end. The goal is business success. Reaching the goal is a journey. Consultants must become companions. The whole industry must show more empathy. In this context, less is more. Let’s focus on the most important. You manage what you measure.”


Businesses will need to pivot their offerings to cater to staff, as well as customers in the year ahead. With the ‘Great Resignation’ still in full swing, employees are ready and willing to look elsewhere if their needs are not being met, or if they do not find their workplace stimulating.

Atif Sheikh, CEO and Founder of consultancy businessfourzero, predicted that next year, most businesses will re-evaluate their strategy in light of the societal challenges, cost pressures and revenue losses that Covid-19 has brought – however, if they cannot engage their people, those improvements will be inhibited.

“Change or reinvigorated performance will only happen if people feel the need to change and care about it. Businesses who fail to harness emotional commitment won’t get performance uplift they need or worse, will drain their talent – as is becoming clear with The Great Resignation.”

This will manifest in a particularly interesting way with regards to agile working. Having for some time been talked about as an important method of engaging workers with an organisation’s change campaigns, Sheikh anticipates that many businesses may actually move away from the methodology over the next 12 months, having realised “that agile methodology is unhelpful in many instances.”

He went on, “Businesses will come to the realisation that agile works best where you must have a cross functional team, and where you are creating something genuinely new. Most other people will be able to leave behind the methodology soup and complex language - and instead just talk as human beings about how to work together and tackle the project they need to deliver.” 

Talent issues

David Bernard, founder of behavioural assessment firm AssessFirst, similarly suggested that employers need to look not just at what benefits they offer, but how they work, to bring in new talent.

Bernard explained, “Increased incentives appear to be a fundamental misunderstanding of the issue. This is not about the conditions of work, so much as the nature of the work. Hoping to attract applicants from a disinterested pool, one that has likely decided to switch to another industry, is not an optimal strategy to find motivated, engaged staff.”  

When it comes to recruiting, as well as retaining, meanwhile, many firms will need to reconsider how they look to bring talent on board.

“Many industries will be seeking to find a solution from the very thing causing the problem: too narrow a talent pool. We can see this unfolding in real-time in the hospitality sector. So far, the solution has been one of incentives: more pay and more benefits in the hope of enticing applicants. The evidence of this working, however, is scarce.”

In future, HR departments will need to move away from the old practice where “candidates who lack direct, relevant experience are often discounted.”

Bernard added, “Or at least, what we consider to be direct, relevant experience - there is a crucial difference. Examining this difference is the key to assuaging doubts about candidate suitability, and, critically, widening what appears to be near non-existent talent pools for understaffed sectors.”

Healthcare challenges

The ongoing pandemic and its economic impacts are continuing to have a heavy impact on the healthcare sector, meanwhile. Organisations there will have to continue to adapt their offerings, and tap into new partnerships, to meet with the challenges of 2022.

Providing an outlook for 2022, Chetan Trivedi, Healthcare Leader at Curzon Consulting, stated, “If interest rates remain negative, consumers will lose purchasing power, and the disparity between the rich and poor will be exacerbated (as the poor are unlikely to own hard assets that would shield them from inflation). If the BoE increases rates to counter inflation, the consumer and companies with large debt will be impacted negatively with the rising cost of borrowing. 2022 is likely to be a year where the consumer and companies will feel the economic pinch. In addition, to pay for the huge government debt generated as a result of the pandemic, taxes may have to rise, which will further squeeze the consumer and/or companies. Given the broader pandemic challenges, combined with rising economic challenges, mental health and wellbeing is likely to come under sharp focus as people struggle to make ends meet in an already difficult period.”

As with any other sector, however, challenges provide opportunities to innovate. With an already stretched public healthcare service, the UK government is unlikely to be able to cope with the demand for mental health and wellbeing services, but businesses will be ready and able to step in and fill these gaps.

Trivedi concluded, “2022 could see a continued rise in innovative hybrid care delivery models, enabled by technology, to allow for faster and more accurate stratification and diagnosis of mental health conditions. In addition, the recent Ramsay Health Care acquisition of Elysium Healthcare is a great example of how traditional healthcare providers are seeking expansion opportunities into mental health and wellbeing.”