Tarka Talent

How has management consulting recruitment changed in 2023?

The recruitment market has changed dramatically in the consulting sector over the past few years. As a result, it’s been difficult for employers and candidates to stay up to date with hiring trends. Our recruitment consultants ensure that they stay up to date with the latest news, so that you can rely on us to deliver efficient and effective recruitment processes.

At the beginning of the year, we set out our expectations for recruiting management consultants in 2023. Now, we’re looking back and reflecting on how recruitment has changed throughout the consulting sector.


What has changed in consulting recruitment?


In order to give a clear summary on the state of the market, it’s important to understand the context of the last few years:

  • Oct/Nov 2020 – After a turbulent start to the year most consultancies were recruiting heavily.
  • Oct/Nov 2021 – Many consultancies had reached their target headcount for the year but kept on hiring as they knew there was enough project demand.
  • Oct/Nov 2022 – Many consultancies reached target headcount for the year and stopped hiring. Most wanted to wait until start of 2023 (or new financial year) before starting to recruit again.


The impact on large consultancies


Now, in 2023, most large consultancies (such as, the Big 4) have slowed recruitment throughout the year, with many also making layoffs.


The impact on smaller consultancies


Smaller consultancies (who generally didn’t over hire in 21/22) have still been recruiting. While the two previous years were dominated by large team builds, this year has focused more on smaller volumes of more specific skill/sector expertise.


Hiring trends in 2023


The cost element has certainly had an impact on hiring trends this year. With clients of consultancy firms being squeezed on budgets, a consultancy that can be more cost effective/flexible commercially is likely to be at an advantage. We tend to hear that the Big 4 are around 20% more expensive.

If a consultancy without these overheads can hire from the Big 4, then their clients can access Big 4 talent and expertise, for a reduced price. We are seeing this lead to more and more demand from our boutique clients.

As a result, we have seen a strong demand for Big 4 trained Consultants, Senior Consultants and Managers.


The consulting recruitment market in 2024


Many employers and candidates are asking for our thoughts on recruitment in the new year.

One of the biggest pieces of advice we’re giving is not to think of it as a weak market. What we’re currently experiencing is actually closer to the state of the consulting recruitment market pre-2020, when the market first de-stabilised.

There are still companies hiring, and early indicators that, at some point in 2024, there will be a significant uptick in recruitment. So, if you’re searching for a new role in the new year, there will be plenty of opportunities.


Work with Tarka Talent for consulting recruitment support


If you’re preparing to hire in the new year, work with specialist consulting recruitment agency, Tarka Talent. With many of our recruitment consultants having worked in industry, our team are best positioned to support hiring within the Strategy, Transformation, and Change Management space. Upload your vacancy and start working with us today.

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