Human Capital Consulting Market Update Q1 2017

Our Human Capital Consultancy practice is privy to the trends, insights and sentiment of the market from both a candidate and client perspective so would like to share our observations of the previous quarter.

The market
2017 saw a slightly slower start to the year than usual in the human capital consulting space with less activity in big 4/global consultancies than previous years. We’ve experienced more in motion across the mid-market and boutique consultancies this first quarter. There was a continuation of M&A in the market with the Gartner acquisition of CEB/SHL and the merge of Daggerwing and Ketchum Change. The M&A activity of last year has seen the dust settle on restructured organisations resulting in a ramp up in recruitment as these newly merged organisations look to grow under their new brands. One of the key themes of these acquisitions was to enhance the commerciality of firms so it’s not surprising to see more of focus on sales and business development.

Demand
From a capability and discipline perspective, the areas of highest demand have been across organisation design, HR transformation and change. Closely following that is organisational and leadership development as many business invest more in talent retention than acquisition.

Talent
The flow of active candidates in the first quarter slows somewhat as bonus rounds are often underway so many do not fully commit to an active search until after bonuses have been awarded.

By the same token, once promotion rounds are complete we tend to see a peak in active job seekers as those missing out seek advancement elsewhere rather than waiting another year for, sometimes limited, promotion opportunities. Motivators for job seekers still focus predominantly around career progression, new challenges and as always remuneration plays a part (but not as big as in the past). It’s still a very talent short market with candidates often in a position of having multiple offers to consider so firms need to engage people right through the recruitment process, clearly articulate their EVP, provide flexible working options and of course be competitive with their offers to ensure they secure the best talent.

Looking ahead to Q2
With Article 50 being triggered last week it’s difficult to anticipate any immediate changes/fluctuations in the human capital consulting market however we most certainly will see some level of hesitation from firms in their hiring decisions. We’ve seen a number of firms shifting focus to push growth in their European markets, ourselves included with our new offices opening in Milan and Amsterdam to meet market demand. The future will bring changes to organisations and their current operating models in many different ways however this will further drive demand for organisation design, HR transformation and change expertise.

For further insights into the HC market, feel free to read our 2017 Human Capital Consulting Salary & Insights Report - HC Media Hub.

As always, if you have any questions or insights you’d like to share please do get in touch.