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The value of advice – POLITICO

There is too often in today’s media an ill-informed and negative idea of ​​what management consultants do, propagated by media commentators with little direct experience of the industry they cover. It’s the image of an industry that offers PowerPoint strategies, worthless advice, and “here today, gone tomorrow” support, all for astronomical fees.

Of course, the reality couldn’t be more different. Modern UK consulting is in fact a cutting-edge and extremely competitive sector, at the forefront of AI and technological innovation, critical business transformation and improving sustainability. UK consultancies are deeply invested in their 10,000(1) clients, making this global powerhouse the most respected advisory center in the world.

Besides the misperception of what they do, there is also a stereotype about who consultants are. But the idea that the industry is made up solely of London-based, Oxbridge-educated consultants with little or no experience is completely out of touch with reality.

Modern British consultants are actually incredibly diverse. The sector is a major employer of women and people from ethnic minorities. The recruitment of apprentices and young people leaving school is on the rise; admissions to Russell Group universities are falling. More than 270 regional offices are spread across the UK, as is the impact of the consultancies’ long-standing volunteering programmes. More than 70 percent of the Management Consultancy Association (MCA) members are SMEs.

The career path has also changed radically. As with many careers, the days of employees staying with the same company for decades are long gone. Rather than starting as analysts and, years later, becoming a partner, a growing number of consultants are moving between our industry, government and consulting clients. The term “revolving door” is often used negatively, but it is through this movement that many consultants sharpen their skills and broaden their expertise and benefit the collective growth of UK plc and our public institutions.

It is their specialized skills and expertise that make consultants so in demand. As the world transitions to net zero emissions and adapts to a future dominated by new technologies like AI, governments and businesses are turning to trusted advisors, known for their deep sector knowledge and breadth of their experience. They also see consulting firms as great organizers of the global economy, capable of bringing together specialists from all disciplines, often at short notice.

Governments and businesses seek trusted advisors known for their in-depth industry knowledge and extensive experience.

In many ways, now is a great time for management consulting. We live in uncertain times and the capabilities, advice and support provided by consultancies large and small are invaluable. We also live in a time where businesses are looking for talented people to fill their vacancies, and it is the consulting sector that is investing heavily in skills, training bright young sparks from all backgrounds who will become global CIOs. , COO and CEO of the future.

It’s no wonder then that the industry, which generates £20 billion in revenue, is growing at 9% per year, outpacing the rest of the UK and even the US economy in terms of expansion and growth rate.

The sector, which generates £20 billion in revenue, is growing at 9% per year, outperforming the rest of the UK and even the US.

As the industry’s trade association, the MCA celebrates the people behind these statistics. We champion not only the effect of their hard work on the economy, but also their impact on our society. Almost everyone in the UK has benefited from management advice; it is, after all, the industry that helped deliver the world-leading Covid vaccination program and cut waiting times for breast cancer screenings by a third.

This is, after all, the industry that helped deliver the world’s leading Covid vaccination programme.

But it is especially in relation to partnerships with the public sector that management consulting is the subject of the greatest number of criticisms. Some believe that a penny of taxpayers’ money spent on outside advice is a penny wasted. This lazy assumption is as far from reality as the false images of consultants and their industry.

To begin with, management consultants typically join projects with the express purpose of saving money, improving productivity, and achieving better results for taxpayer-funded services. Efficiency is their middle name. The greatest evidence of confidence in their value comes from the private sector, which accounts for 80 percent of consulting firms’ work. These clients include Britain’s most successful businesses and best-loved brands. Does anyone really believe that these clever companies are being deceived and wasting their money? The truth is that they are more than satisfied with the service they receive, which is why clients come back to their consultants again and again.

The world is also satisfied. We don’t hear this very often, but modern British consulting is the second largest industry of its type in the world. From Peru to Saudi Arabia and Bangladesh, customers around the world continue to purchase British products, whether for cybersecurity advice or support in their shipping industry. They know they’re getting the best of the best. This reputation explains why exports have tripled in recent years. The sale of British services abroad far exceeds that of goods, and consultancy accounts for a large proportion of these services. Some people deplore this change. It is said that the United Kingdom no longer produces anything. But we do it. We make businesses more successful. We carry out government projects. We make countries more prosperous. This is the reality of modern British management consultancy. It’s time we start talking about it.

(1)MCA Industry Annual Report 2024


Sara Adm

Aimant les mots, Sara Smith a commencé à écrire dès son plus jeune âge. En tant qu'éditeur en chef de son journal scolaire, il met en valeur ses compétences en racontant des récits impactants. Smith a ensuite étudié le journalisme à l'université Columbia, où il est diplômé en tête de sa classe. Après avoir étudié au New York Times, Sara décroche un poste de journaliste de nouvelles. Depuis dix ans, il a couvert des événements majeurs tels que les élections présidentielles et les catastrophes naturelles. Il a été acclamé pour sa capacité à créer des récits captivants qui capturent l'expérience humaine.
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