HR consulting and Human Capital trends in the UK

In the years since the global financial crash, companies have endured a painfully slow recovery, with the economy continually failing to operate at the level it was prior to 2009.

It was in the wake of what analysts dubbed “the worst US economic calamity since the 1930s” that businesses were forced to take a step back from their growth plans and place a heavy focus on driving down costs just to stay afloat. In 2011, the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) reported that upwards of two million jobs had been lost in the UK since the crisis, confirming that we were truly entrenched in an economic wasteland.

However, recent figures indicate that things are looking up. The economy is enjoying a steady recovery, with GDP growing by 0.5 per cent in Q3 2015, according to the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS). Other irrefutable signs of growth from the report revealed that unemployment was down by 103,000 on the previous quarter in the period from July to September, and 210,000 year-on-year, while average weekly earnings including bonuses have seen an annual rise of three per cent. All these statistics suggest one thing: leaders have the capital to hire again, and they want to retain their best staff.

James Baker, Director at Frazer Jones, and Stephen Menko, Manager at Frazer Jones discussed some of the current trends they are seeing in the Human Capital Consulting sectors as a result of this favourable turn of the economy.

James and Stephen explained that with the market expansion in the UK, along with a stronger economy, all sizes of HR Advisory businesses are seeing increased demand for capability. This ranges from the global management consulting firms, as well as mid-market and boutique management consultancies. Companies of all sizes are reinvesting in their infrastructure and technology, which is fuelling a huge market for HR transformation consulting, yet each organisation is looking for different skills.

Global consulting firms

One of the main trends among the global management consulting firms is a focus on seeking out candidates with core consulting competencies. This is predominantly seen at more senior levels where sales origination plays a key part. In order to attract this talent they are looking to offer more than just a great benefits package, and choosing to instead focus on the long term rewards this industry offers - thereby making the candidate feel like they have a lot of valuable experience to gain at their company. This includes highlighting opportunities to work with a wide range of industries, driving the cutting-edge application of people analytics, and managing HR change and transformation on a global scale.

Mid-market and boutique

Within the mid-market and boutique style agencies Stephen explains that there is an increased shift towards specialist consultants around Business Psychology and HR Technology. Both of the disciplines require additional academic qualifications, and the roles being offered realise the huge benefits these specialties bring. To gain these unique skills there has been increased competition between firms, resulting in a positive shift in salary for many. Additionally, these opportunities offer individuals increased accountability, flexibility, and visibility since they are working within smaller companies.


For many of the management consultancies, jobs will require on-site work throughout most of the week, with only one or two days spent in a traditional office setting. This means that there is a great chance of flexible working arrangements for people living outside the London area.
Individuals located outside of the Capital will be pleased to know that companies are offering these new working options that allow for less structured locations and hours. With fewer constraints, new choices and career opportunities will arise for every level of consultant.

Our expertise

Frazer Jones’s Human Capital Consulting business has been built around addressing the needs and challenges for every size firm and each type of consultant. As an HC recruitment specialist that focuses on both in-house HR professionals and Human Capital Management Consultants, we are in a unique position to advise clients on talent acquisition strategies within a market that is now highly talent driven. Whether looking for a career shift or your next opportunity, we can provide assistance to any Human Capital specialist.