The UK’s management consulting sector, which grew four times faster than the economy in 2016 (up 7.5 per cent to £7.3bn), could be hit by talent shortages because of Brexit.

These findings are published today (8th November 2017) in a new report from the leading research and strategy firm for the global management consulting industry, Source Global Research. The report says that whilst Brexit is expected to drive a lot of work for UK consultants, the market’s heavy reliance on the flow of talent across borders will leave it open to any interruption to the supply of talent.

The report adds that there are very real concerns about the ability of UK-based consulting firms to continue attracting the talent they need to service the demand that exists in the market.

As a result of this risk, the UK’s consulting market has slipped to fourth in the Global Market Attractiveness Index - a ranking of the world’s most attractive consulting markets in 2018. The Index, published in the report by Source Global Research, ranked the DACH consulting market top, Australia second, the US third, and the GCC fifth.

Edward Haigh, Director of Source Global Research, publisher of the rankings, said:

“The UK has dropped one place below the US because of our assessment of the impact of Brexit on the country’s talent market. 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.

Putting this issue to one side, the UK is still a place in which clients show a remarkable propensity for using consultants. Relative to GDP the UK’s consulting market is twice the size of France’s and bigger, even, than that of the US.”

Robert Bosch, a Partner at BearingPoint, added:

“Brexit means that some global players are moving their presence away from London to the likes of Frankfurt, Paris, and to some extent Dublin—this is bittersweet for consultants in these locations. On the one hand it's positive that the local consulting market is expanding, but it's also causing them a headache. In order to expand somewhere, they need new talent, and they're doing this by headhunting the best talent from consulting firms.”

Using the biggest and most sophisticated model of the global consulting industry, Source also identified DACH, Australia, the US, and the GCC’s consulting market in its top five for the following reasons: