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The Consultancy Growth Network

The results of the Consultancy BenchPress Survey 2022

Finding talent is now the number 1 challenge for consultancies turning over <£20m. 

The issue of their owners being too busy working in the business instead of on it is their second biggest challenge.

Third is winning new clients. 

These results are based on data shared by over 250 UK&I-based consultancies as part of the ‘Consultancy BenchPress’ survey, an annual benchmarking exercise that we run in partnership with The Wow Company.

Our research also reveals an unhealthy reliance on too few clients and a big gap between what consultancies are doing to improve team wellbeing and what employees actually want. 

The full results of the survey, including insights about what to include in your selection process and the rewards and incentives offered by your peers, are available by clicking below.

Not enough is being done to tackle the recruitment challenge 

Source Global Research reports that nearly two in three consulting firms are short-staffed and one in five is turning down work due to lack of resource. However, the Consultancy BenchPress survey, which collected data in the last few months of 2021, found that less than a third of consultancies are accessing the expertise they need to attract talent. Many firms are failing to look beyond their existing contacts for talent. 

In addition, not enough consultancies (only a quarter) have a conscious strategy to deliver a great candidate experience, and less than half offer a bespoke case study or role play as part of their selection process. 

Lack of referral strategy is holding consultancies back 

Referrals are by far the most effective way to pick up new clients, with 41% of new clients coming from referrals. Despite this, the Consultancy BenchPress report shows that only 12% of consulting firms have a fully implemented sales referral strategy, with those that do growing much quicker as a result.  

Getting expert advice and being part of a peer support community is also helping founder-led consultancies to grow quicker. I’m delighted to see that the growth rates of founder-led consultancies who are members of The Consultancy Growth Network are faster than non-members.  

Not enough working on the business 

Recognising that consultancy owners need to spend more time on their strategy is one thing. But doing something about it is something else altogether. Despite a third of consultancy owners seeking to reduce their chargeable work, Consultancy BenchPress has found that this is still the second biggest challenge consultancies are facing in 2022. The hot recruitment market only makes the problem worse.  

It’s my view that consultancy owners and leaders are just not tackling the people challenge as vigorously as they need to. Without providing a seamless recruitment experience and fantastic working environment, founder-led consultancies are simply not going to grow, let alone thrive.

We work with Peter Czapp, who has been benchmarking businesses for over 10 years and founded The Wow Company, to bring you Consultancy BenchPress. “Benchmarking plays an absolutely vital role in improving your performance,” he says. “These data-led insights highlight opportunities to improve, show owners what’s possible, and are a catalyst for positive change across their consulting business and the sector as a whole.” 

Article | Strategy and leadershipBenchmarks and assessmentsFinancialPeople and talent

Written by

Marc Jantzen


The Consultancy Growth Network

Follow me on LinkedIn for more insights specifically for consultancy leaders