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In 2016, LexisNexis developed a series of predictions for the consulting industry based on insights and information gathered by Teague Communications and powered by Nexis. The comprehensive industry report focused on seven trends impacting consultants in multiple industries.
We’re taking the time to revisit a few of these in our latest blog series: Consulting Predictions that Proved True. We’ll assess how far we’ve come, where we need to go and how leveraging reliable and deep research can help move us toward success with our clients and with our own firms.
A few years ago, it was becoming apparent that the pool of highly qualified talent was shrinking. The consulting business has always been about the people doing the work and their ability to achieve measurable results. Are teams strategic? Growth oriented? Big picture? The list of attributes required continues to grow as business becomes more global, technology-enabled and complex. In 2016, corporate spending showed modest year-over-year increases and private-sector job growth, meaning the competition for consulting talent became tighter than it had been in quite some time. Finding and retaining the best people moved to the top of the agenda for nearly one in four management consulting firms (24%), according to Business2Community.
Has this trend continued or has it receded, only to be replaced by more pressing issues? In 2018, we find that the demand for top talent has not changed; if anything, it’s become even more complicated.
According to Oliver James Associates, global recruiters, there are key challenges that face consulting firms today, including technology, the demand for more flexible work environments, and effective succession planning.
In their recent article, Talent Challenges for Management Consulting in 2018, consulting firms must shed their traditionally risk averse nature to attract and retain top talent.
New business models based on cutting edge technology are emerging with greater frequency. This often points firms to the tech space for new hires. However, don’t assume that the best adopters of technology live here. Be sure to look at other industries that may not develop the technology but prove to be effective at leveraging it – like start ups and non-corporate firms. The skillsets required by today’s consultants extend beyond corporate business and hit on areas like agility, openness to new ideas and a willingness to take risks.
To ensure your firm is offering your clients the best insights and strategies, you have to keep your talent pipeline full. Today, that’s about more than high salaries and specializing in niche industries. It’s about flexible schedules, non-traditional work environments and clear succession planning that creates visible paths that make it worth young talent to invest in the long-term with your firm. Things like four-day work schedules, remote offices and job sharing are becoming more and more common in this typically traditional market. According to ERE Recruiting Intelligence, it’s subtle shifts like this, as well as identifying top talent and developing long-term relationships with them before even starting the recruitment process, that turns your efforts from reactive to proactive, and ultimately, to strategic.
While the focus is on finding the best people, don’t overlook the value of technology. Be sure you’re leveraging research and content solutions as often as possible to give your teams global views with local context; deep data you can trust; and historical insights that provide context for current events. While you’re building a top team, you can be confident that your clients are receiving actionable insights built on content that drives measurable business growth.
Hopefully, as a consulting firm, you began your planning for highly competitive recruitment in 2016 or earlier. If not, it’s never too late to develop an approach based on sound principles that will place your firm top of mind with clients around the world.
In our next blog, we’ll take a look at another prediction from 2016 and uncover its relevance for today.
Ready to learn even more? Check out our website with tips and resources developed specifically for consultants: