Management consultancy - a new profession?

Published on July 1, 2015   24 min

Other Talks in the Series: Management Consultancy

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Hello. Welcome to this Henry Stewart talk on management consultancy. My name is Professor Daniel Muzio. I'm a professor at the University of Newcastle and I'm an expert on professional work, including management consultancy. And what I want to speak to you over the next 30 minutes or so is whether management consultancy can be considered a profession or not.
Management consultancy is very much a success story of the last 20 or 30 years or so. It does enjoy the spectacular growth along any economic indicator that you can think of. For instance, over the last 20 years or so, it has grown by an annual rate of 18%, from a turnover of $3 billion in 1980 to $330 billion in 2008 just before the crisis. If we look at the European context, the management consultancy market is worth 81 billion euro in 2007 and employs over 450,000 staff. In the UK it has registered a very marked growth of 58% between 1995 and 2003, which is when the last reliable figures are available. But for me, the most significant indicator here is a different one. It's looking at the ratio of management consultants to regular managers. And whilst in 1965 we had one management consultant for each 100 managers, so consultants were quite rare, by 2005 we have one management consultant for each 13 managers. So the proportion of management consultants to managers has grown dramatically over the last 40 years or so, and it's not surprising. If we look at our graduate students, look at their preferred employers' list, four of the top 10 choices are management consultancy firms.