©David Bromley

In this report

Fear of disruption from new competitors combined with new confidence inspired by improving economic conditions are driving new interest in strategy consulting. But how can the traditional houses such as Bain, McKinsey and BCG stand out from the crowd?

Hybrid firms feed off digital fear

Threat of disruption from new competitors is driving growth

Mind does matter when it comes to trust

Consultants are looking at brain chemicals to help analyse leadership and workplace trust

Hunt for ‘bike and jeans’ brigade

Staff need to combine digital skills with business savvy to gain clients

Arthur Little

The ‘vainies, brainies and Bainies’

Founders’ influences run deep in the big-name consultancies

Big Four see new opportunity

Technology is driving change as traditional firms tackle threats to their business models

In-house teams challenge revenue models

Companies can solve many problems themselves, but independent advice can still be helpful

Strategy specialists amend their offering

Clients have become better educated and more sophisticated

Emma Scott

More clients question value for money

But some customers still lack clarity about what they expect consultants to be able to achieve


Dissolving of boundaries lets in more competitors

The industry is having to adapt as technological changes redraw the landscape

life in a Google office

Engaging the next generation of talent is the big challenge

Tech-savvy millennials are in demand but they have their own priorities

Tie-ups offer a quick fix where in-house skills are in short supply

Firms are making up for gaps in their expertise by forming alliances with outside talent

Nimble boutique give headhunters a run for their money

Competition for the middle of this lucrative market is pushing top recruitment groups to focus on the high end

The ‘Goldilocks paradox’ gives a role to those in the middle

It is vital to develop expertise and not diversify too much

Politicians put brakes on government work

Projects tend to be smaller and more specialised

Opinion divided over dedicated online teams

Some companies see ‘digital’ units as innovative, others dismiss them as marketing hype with little strategic value

Fees based on results begin to challenge old-style bills

Businesses can now mix and match models for a tailor-made solution