MCA launches 'The Value of Consulting' campaign

02 October 2023 4 min. read
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Ahead of its annual awards ceremony, the Management Consultancies Association has unveiled a new campaign to highlight the industry’s value to the UK. Among the benefits outlined are consultants’ role in helping clients achieve net zero, utilise new technology to improve productivity, and boost social mobility across the country.

Commenting on the extensive reach of the UK consulting industry, Management Consultancies Association (MCA) CEO Tamzen Isacsson commented, “The UK is one of the leading professional services centres in the world, providing specialist expert advice to tens of thousands of clients across the UK and the globe and supporting thousands of jobs across every nation and region of our country.”

Since assuming her position at the head of the MCA, Isacsson has relentlessly campaigned to change perceptions of the often maligned sector the organisation represents. In her opening speech at her first MCA Awards in 2019 as CEO, Isacsson lamented “the 1980s caricature of consultants” which still lingers in public discourse – adding that while journalists “pride themselves on having at least two sources on every story” the consulting sector seems to be an exception, “where it seems that even a penny of taxpayers’ cash spent by the government on consultants is, in itself, some kind of proof of misdemeanour.”

MCA launches 'The Value of Consulting' campaign

As Isacsson and the MCA look to continue to challenge those beliefs four years later, the MCA’s new ‘The Value of Consulting’ campaign will work to showcase the impact consulting has, ahead of its 2023 awards ceremony. According to the MCA, the UK consulting industry is currently worth almost £20 billion to the economy, and employs over 100,000 people in over 350 offices across the UK with 274 outside London in cities including Manchester, Belfast, Cardiff and Edinburgh. But the importance of consulting to the UK stretches further than just its direct economic impact.

“Our sector not only has a powerful economic impact, but a societal impact too,” Isacsson added at the campaign’s launch. “Both via the projects that firms deliver and through the development of our people. The consultancy industry has a strong track record of contributing to social mobility via being a leading employer of apprentices, school leavers, and graduates, and over 30% of consultant’s report social mobility characteristics – all of which highlight the value of consulting to the UK economy and society.”

Amid an international talent crunch, consulting firms across the UK are advising companies across the globe on developing the career of thousands of people. This includes a record number of apprentices, graduates and school leavers the industry has taken on itself. In 2022, MCA members alone hired over 2,800 graduates, a 35% increase on 2021, alongside just under 800 apprentices, trainees and school leavers – an 11% increase on the previous year – providing a significant shot in the arm for social mobility efforts in the country. 

Indeed, the MCA asserts that a “concerted effort has also been made by the consulting sector to encourage more social mobility into the industry”, with a number of initiatives in place. This has led to a steep decline in graduates with an Oxbridge or Russell Group background falling from 73% in 2011 to 35% in 20222. Nearly 30% of consultant’s report social mobility characteristics as the opportunity to become a consultant opens up to a wider talent pool. The Chartered Management Consultant Accreditation is also now available to help set a recognised career path similar to other professions.  

At the same time, ‘The Value of Consulting’ also highlights how consultants are working with clients to achieve net zero. And consultants are also offering advice to firms helping tackle broader sustainability and digital transformation needs, at a time of immense change for those in the private sector. Looking ahead, the campaign will see the MCA meet with key political stakeholders from all major political parties in the coming months, to discuss the value of consulting, including hosting educational events and roundtables involving MCA members.

The MCA itself also plays an important role in supporting good causes across the UK. The MCA recently hosted a reception to celebrate its 2023 awards nominees, while highlighting the impact the consulting industry has on the UK’s economy and wider society. The MCA also used the event at the Tower of London as an opportunity to launch its annual charity appeal. This year, funds will be raised on behalf of Child Action Poverty Group (CPAG), which works on behalf of children growing up in poverty.