When McKinsey Met Uber: The Gig Economy Comes to Consulting

So is the gig economy disrupting the traditional consulting industry?

Yes, according to many experts. Back in 2013, Harvard Business Review published a fascinating article entitled “Consulting on the Cusp of Disruption” which predicted the disruption of established consultants as first smaller, then larger, clients start using alternatives to the big brands for all but “a core of critical work”.

In follow-up to this prediction, the Croixstone Consulting leadership team reviewed this week a newly-published article by Andrew Hill, Management Editor of the Financial Times, entitled “When McKinsey Met Uber: The Gig Economy Comes to Consulting” which spotlights the trend of business consultants setting out on their own as a higher-paid, and growing stratum of “gig consultants”.

We found the following factoids from the Financial Times article to be of particular interest:

  1. 31 percent of management consultants in the UK are self-employed.
  2. 20 percent of staff at the big consultancies leave every year.
  3. 59 percent of consultants made a deliberate choice to become independent (with top triggers including the desire for a career change, wanting more control over time and schedule, and wanting to work with clients in a different way).

Read the full article here (subscription may be required).


Snapshot – U.S. Consulting Industry

So how big is the U.S. consulting industry? 

According to data published in June 2016 by Consultancy.uk (an online platform for the advisory and consulting industry), the U.S. consulting industry (the world’s largest and most mature consulting segment), grew strongly last year at a healthy 8% to reach nearly $55 billion.

Given Croixstone Consulting’s home here in Charlotte, the nation’s 2nd largest financial market, it was no surprise to see that, once again, the Financial Services industry remains far and away the U.S. consulting market’s biggest spender. Banks and insurers, among others, spent nearly $14 billion on consultants in 2015, up 9% on last year, although the growth rate was slower than the year previous.

Other industries showed robust growth as well.  Retail was the fastest growing sector, expanding 11% to approach $4 billion as retailers bolstered their digital investments in order to tap into the rise of e-commerce and omnichannel demands. Consulting to the public sector remains the poor relation of the industry, according to the researchers, with a 2.6% growth to $6 billion, as public sector investment sunk to the lowest level in over 60 years. The U.S. energy & resources consulting market grew by 5% to $7.3 billion, while pharma grew by a strong 10% to $1.7 billion, despite mounting pressures in the space, including an increasingly intense debate about drug pricing practices.

Learn more here.