Tarka Talent

The consulting recruitment market in 2024

After the gloom of the global consulting recruitment market in 2023, how has the start of 2024 compared?

In short, the consensus seems to be that the consulting recruitment market is still slow. However, there are definite green shoots starting to appear that provide hope for the second half of the year and beyond. Here’s what we’ve seen so far this year, and some predictions for H2.

 

The UK recruitment market

 

Focusing on the UK market to start, we’re seeing the Big 4 shift away from survival mode. This is leading to an increased competition for talent across the industry, especially at a more senior level.

 

Recruitment in the Big 4 and larger firms

The larger consultancy firms have been increasing recruitment in the first half of 2024. The roles they’re recruiting for are often quite strategic and senior (often to drive growth and launch new propositions).

However, we’ve seen the candidates interviewing with the Big 4 and other consultancies receiving offers for start dates late into 2024 and even into next year. There’s a certain level of risk in this approach for the candidate – often the start date isn’t set and will require the consultancy to formalise the offer at a point in the future. Although, it reveals that the larger firms are considering how they’ll react as and when the market recovers. Recruitment is not a priority for these businesses and they’re definitely not looking at increasing their headcount significantly. However, it’s positive to see that their focus has shifted forwards to the market recovery, rather than just surviving.

 

Recruitment in boutique consultancies

While recruitment hasn’t been a priority for the likes of the Big 4 and Accenture, some smaller firms have still been growing over the past 6 months. As a lot of these businesses didn’t ‘over-hire’ in the post-pandemic boom, they have been able to continue their more measured growth throughout 2023 and into 2024.

Again, a lot of the demand has been for senior hires – revenue generators who can take propositions to market and win work. We have also seen an increase in the demand for senior hires who can/will bring a team with them, particularly in smaller consultancies with growth ambitions. Often in this scenario the hiring business will need an intermediary to recruit the new team, which is where we come in.

 

Industry recruitment

After minimal activity in 2023 we’ve seen a rebound in the Financial Services sector in 2024. From conversations with leaders in the financial sector we anticipate there being a further increase in recruitment demand as we head into 2025.

There is also continuing recruitment into public-sector and healthcare focused consultancies, continuing the trend from 2023.

 

Looking ahead

The outlook for the second half of 2024 is certainly more positive. It’s unsurprising that the impending election is playing on some companies’ minds, particularly those focused on the public sector. While this could cause some delays in the recovery of the recruitment market, we’re hearing of much greater confidence. In fact, a number of businesses are beginning small projects to understand where they should be prioritising transformation activities in the future.

Lowering interest rates are also contributing to greater confidence and a likely uptick in the M&A market, again driving more consulting activity.

 

The global recruitment market

 

Outside of the UK, we’ve seen much greater demand for Consultants across the Middle East. A lot of global consultancies are looking to establish or expand their presence in the region given the scale of investment there.

In the US, we’ve seen an increased demand for cost-cutting and supply chain/procurement consulting skills. In a market where it’s easier to scale up and down quickly, consultancies will likely wait longer than the UK to invest in recruitment. Similar to the British market, however, the coming election will also likely have an impact on the recruitment outlook.

 

For more consulting recruitment support, get in touch!

 

If you’re preparing to hire in the second half of the 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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