Overseas consulting work grows rapidly in 2012

by Kevin Reed

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26 Sep 2012

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Alan Leaman

OVERSEAS WORK has become a much more important part of the consulting industry's market mix in the past 12 months.

The Management Consultancies Association's (MCA) half-year report into the industry's performance found that revenues were up 5% on the same period last year. International appointments now represent 17% of the firms' work, compared to 5% last year.

"International work is increasingly becoming a big part of what we do," said Harry Gaskell, advisory managing partner at Ernst & Young. "Over the past six months, we have seen increased demand for our services, particularly in the health and power, and utilities sectors, in the Middle East as well as the European Union – France and Germany, in particular."

Nearly all (94%) of the association's members said they expect revenues to continue to grow. Most expect more growth from the eurozone and Middle East during the rest of 2012 and 2013.

Six in ten expect their firms to appoint more consultants in the coming year.

"With a slower pace in the UK markets, there is a real drive for exporting UK consultancy," said Alan Leaman (pictured), CEO at the MCA.

"We've seen a major rise in the amount of work UK consultancy firms are looking for overseas; whether this is small firms growing their business, or international firms turning to their UK-based consultants as they have the skills that are in demand across the world."

Growth is expected in resources and energy, telecoms and the services sector. Financial services is still seen as an area for growth, despite two strong years, with more legislative changes looming.

Environmental consulting work has declined, with little growth in the market during the recession – despite some firms viewing the service line as a differentiator.

Firms have also seen clients segmenting projects into smaller pockets of work.

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