The consulting industry continues to play a large role in many business industries. The demand for experienced consultants only continues to grow.
Let’s talk about some challenges that are facing the consulting industry, which may cause disruptions. Then, we will move on to talk about current trends in the consulting industry in 2019 and beyond.
Unlike many other industries, consulting is not something that can be automated or left to artificial intelligence. Consulting requires human input and intelligence, which means that it will continue to be in demand. With a deluge of information on any industry on the internet, some companies may turn to “articles” instead of a consultant for customized services. A good consultant is someone who can provide information and advice in a particular niche garnered from experience and education.
Another challenge to consulting firms is the recent trend of employees leaving to join other firms or to start their own freelance agency. There are a number of reasons consultants are doing this. Some of the top reasons include finding a better opportunity, not finding their current compensation and benefits to be adequate, and not finding enough career growth potential in their current positions.
Now, let’s move on to some notable trends. First, prices are going down, due to many freelance consultants and budget agencies providing consulting services at lower costs. On the other hand, some larger consulting firms have been buying off smaller firms. This can raise prices and create a monopoly.
Some companies, instead of hiring outside parties to provide consulting services and advice, are creating built-in teams of strategists to guide their staff.
Something that we may be seeing in the near future is consultants moving towards a value or outcome-based pricing model. Most consultants are still charging clients based on an hourly fee. While this works out better for consultants, it can raise prices for clients, especially if they are not seeing satisfactory results.
It is interesting to note that many consulting firms have reported anxiety due to increased competition, as well as increased customer expectations. Consultants are now striving to meet customer expectations as a top priority.
Diversity is another trend in the global consulting industries. Firms are looking to improve and expand when it comes to diversity. Different backgrounds can be valuable resources for creative problem solving.
With these challenges and trends in mind, the consulting industry will continue to flourish. Management consulting is still needed for a variety of industries (i.e. financial services) as new technologies emerge and customer behaviors change. Disruptions will occur, but consultants that have competitive pricing, personalized services and strong technical knowledge will survive them.