UK Consulting Market: long term trends

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After a bit of digging around, I discovered some historical data on the UK consulting market from the Office of National Statistics (No of Enterprises, Employment, Turnover, Employment Costs). I adjusted these figures for inflation, so the figures are in real terms, and then derived a few interesting ratios that give some indication of how the industry has changed over the last few years.

Unfortunately, there were no figures for profit or utilisation, as I think these would highlight the changes even further. It should also be noted that, unlike the MCA figures, the ONS takes account of all registered consultancies which thus skews its figures heavily towards the ‘one-man-band’ company that accounts for virtually all registered consultancies.

Anyway, key things to note are:

  • The rising ratio of employment costs to turnover. In 1995, employment costs made up 27% of turnover. By 2009, this had risen to 32%. If this were done against profits, which have declined over this period (according to Kennedy Information & the MCA), this would be a much greater rise.
  • Even accounting for inflation, the real cost of employment per employee has risen from £23,000 to £32,000. Of course, this is an average an includes admin staff, but it is an indication of the costs of the ‘war for talent’.
  • Whilst the number of enterprises and total industry turnover has almost quadrupled, the average turnover, and average turnover per employee has remained relatively stable.  This is despite evidence from Kennedy Information and the MCA that utilisation rates have sky-rocketed over the last ten years.

If you notice anything I’ve missed, please let me know here!

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