Industry Research Uncovers Top 14 Threats to Consultancy Growth

Posted by Deltek on November 12, 2019


The 2019 High Growth Study: Consulting Edition uncovers some striking shifts in the consulting industry over previous years.  Most firms, for example, experienced about 9% annual growth between 2016 and 2018, but nearly 1-in-4 firms experienced annual growth over 20% in that time. These are considered the “High-Growth” firms, where most consultancies strive to sit.

So, what’s their secret and how can you follow suit?


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Before the study defines the top challenges these firms overcome, and the top marketing strategies they pursue, it unveils the top threats facing consulting firms. Comparing results from 2018 to results from 2019, the outcome pointed to 14 separate threats that kept wannabe high-growers up at night.

Drilling down into the top threats reveals that consulting firms are more worried about a shortage of top talent and downward price pressure in 2019. They worried less about unpredictability in the marketplace, the need for new skills, and managing a remote workforce in 2019 when compared to 2018.

Below, we highlight the top 7 out of 14 threats facing consulting firms looking to grow, but be sure to register for the webinar to dive into all 14:

  1. Increased competition from new firms/competitors. As new services are offered and smaller, niche service firms pop up, this was the biggest threat to growth of consultancies surveyed in 2019, up 1% to 40.8%.
  2. A shortage of top talent. With talent at the forefront of any consulting firm’s successful operations, it’s no surprise that the talent shortage continues to be a major threat to growth, up 5% to 39.9% in 2019.
  3. Downward price pressure on services. Forced to keep costs down and increase the value of services provided, the study shows that consulting firms are more concerned about this threat in 2019, as it grows 4% to 39.9%.
  4. Changes in how buyers buy your services. Consultancies are less concerned with how services are purchased in 2019, down 3.1% to 35.9%.
  5. Increased competition from larger competitors. Surprisingly, this Top Threat fell 3.7% to 32.2% in 2019, indicating some strong competitive confidence among respondents.
  6. Automation/Artificial Intelligence. Considering that one more obvious route to growth is often employing progressive technology and automating manual tasks, it’s no shock that this threat jumped almost 4% to 28.8% in 2019.  
  7. Unpredictability in the marketplace. This threat fell from 36.6% to 28.3% as firms grew more confident in their ability to balance their offerings with the demands of the market in 2019.

Please join Hinge Institute as they dissect the entire 2019 High Growth Study – Consulting Edition in our webinar, including an expanse of consulting industry knowledge to help your firm identify your own top threats to growth, benchmark against the hallmarks of the fastest-growing firms, and plan your own marketing approach based on the High Growth firm priorities. 

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