Consulting industry heading for 13% growth in 2023

03 July 2023 3 min. read
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The Management Consultancies Association has upgraded its estimation of the UK consulting market revenues in 2022, suggesting the sector raked in £600,000 more than previously anticipated for the year. Looking ahead, the industry body expects the double-digit growth for consultants in the UK to continue through 2023.

At the start of the year, the Management Consultancies Association (MCA) looked to the performance of its members to gauge the size and health of UK's management consulting market. With the UK economy still facing major uncertainty, due to the pandemic, supply chain disruption, and geo-political tensions, this data has become a particularly important barometer regarding the health of the market.

By the MCA’s calculations, Britain’s consulting sector brought in around £18 billion in revenues for 2022. Six months later, however, the MCA has published an update, which now estimates the figure to stand at around £18.6 billion – with a record level of growth at 23%.

Consulting industry heading for 13% growth in 2023

Firms of all sizes experienced an increase in business, but the MCA represents firms of all sizes, and found that it was not only the top names who dominated the market. Growth was actually led by medium sized firms at 26%, followed by large at 23%, and small at 19%.

This is expected to continue, as both the private and public sector used the services of consultants to help drive digital transformation, transform operations and put in place plans for meeting sustainability targets. Looking ahead, the organisation’s research, done in collaboration with Savanta, suggests that industry leaders in the sector also expect this double-digit growth to continue in 2023.

Tamzen Isacsson, MCA Chief Executive, said, “The UK consulting sector is forecast to increase in size by around 13% in 2023... Part of that growth is because our profession is widening the services we offer to clients, increasingly in the digital space with more demands placed on us by firms from tackling cybersecurity threats to providing critical support on adopting artificial intelligence. Our responsibility on AI will be helping our clients with the appropriate use of this technology managing data and confidentiality and upholding the highest ethical standards and integrity so that we can help society deploy this emerging and powerful technology.” 

Consulting industry heading for 13% growth in 2023

Illustrating this widening proposition, while a forecast of 13% increase in services is a marked slowdown, strong growth exporting services in the near future could see the outlook boosted considerably. According to the MCA, the uplift in the exporting of services, first seen during the pandemic, has continued for UK consultants – and 31% of their fee income now comes from overseas, bringing in an extra £1.4 billion in consulting services each year. Even in the wake of Brexit, fee income from Europe has seen the largest increase – 15%, up from 6% in 2021 – ahead of 9% in North America, and 3% in Asia Pacific.

Nusrat Ghani, Minister for Industry and Investment Security for the UK Government, added, “It is great to see the continued strength and growth of the vibrant UK consulting sector.Growing demand in areas such as digital transformation and sustainability advice is creating thousands of new jobs across the UK, including opportunities for school leavers and young apprentices, advancing the latest technologies and helping grow the economy.”