Consulting & Advisory Market Update Q1, 2020

January 10

The year in review

The Irish Management Consultancy sector continued to grow over the course of 2019 across all main service lines and industries, driven by Ireland’s buoyant economy.

In line with previous years, Financial Services firms have been substantial buyers of consulting services. Banks and Insurers are running a number of large-scale complex transformation programmes (see Internal Transformation) and as a result are turning to consultancies to help both define and deliver the change agenda. Consultants are also being deployed in the Banking sector to work on the remediation work of the regulatory agenda, as various banking entities are wound down and permanent employees reallocated to different business areas.

Beyond the Operational and Programme Leadership service lines, the trifecta of Digital, Cybersecurity and Innovation remain highly sought after, perhaps unsurprisingly given their interconnected nature. Intrinsically connected to both Digital and Technology Innovation is the Cybersecurity agenda. The number of targeted cyber-attacks has increased in Ireland over the past year, and the government’s new mandatory national cybersecurity requirements will particularly impact firms in the Energy, Life Sciences, Digital Communications, and Public Services sectors.

However, as firms in all sectors work with increasingly large amounts of sensitive data to better understand their customers’ needs, they will be increasingly wary of reputational damage caused by security breaches. From a hiring perspective, there was and will continue to be appetite across all grades, sectors and service lines, with a premium placed on those individuals with experience of operating in the industry. As all consultancies make additions to their practices to meet increased client demand, individuals who can hit the ground running and act as a credible point of client contact can expect to find themselves highly sought after.

Internal transformation

Internal consulting functions continued to grow in 2019, driven by a variety of factors. The Financial Services sector saw a high demand for Internal Transformation specialists as businesses in Ireland prepare to deliver new operating models in the face of Brexit. This has led to increased demand for individuals capable of interpreting the regulatory framework as well as core Programme Management professionals, including Business Analysts and PMO resources.

Similarly, the retail arms of the banks and insurers are all working to deliver more customer-centric and digitally orientated solutions in the face of increased consumer confidence and disrupters to the market.

The year ahead

We expect 2020 to be another buoyant year for the wider PMO (Project Management Office) and Consulting market. With Ireland currently close to full employment, candidates such as Change Consultants, Technical Project Managers, Business Analysts, Product Owners and Database Administrators will now have a vast array of choice for when it comes to employment opportunities, resulting in what’s known as a tight labour market. Consequently, this skills shortage is becoming increasingly challenging for employers and will in turn have a knock-on effect in the form of improved benefits packages, increased daily rates and higher salary demands.

It’s imperative that more people enter the PMO and Consulting profession to narrow the widening talent gap that is so imminent. However, for those who have already cultivated a career within the Irish market are well placed to command attractive daily rates and salaries going forward.

As both GDPR and Brexit are presenting challenges for the entire business sector, this will, in turn, prove to be an opportunity for Transformation, DPO, DBA’s and Cybersecurity Project Managers.

Lastly, in the long term, 2020 and beyond, The Project Management Institute predicts the demand for Project Managers worldwide will outstrip supply over the next 10 years. Actually, by 2027 employers will need 87.7 million individuals working in project management-oriented roles. So it advisable to continuously upskill and to keep abreast of current project related methodologies for anyone wishing to solidify a career within the Consulting and PMO sector for 2020 and beyond. The recommended and sought after certifications include; the Project Management Professional cert (from the PMI), Prince 2 Foundation or Practitioner certification and also Prosci Change Management methodology.

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About the Author

Donal Whelan

Director – Compliance, Risk & Financial Services 1 661 0444

Donal is a recruitment professional with over 6 years experience across the Compliance, Risk and Finance markets. Donal currently manages the Compliance and Risk disciplines at Lincoln Recruitment Specialists. He has an in-depth understanding of the compliance and risk recruitment market with a strong network of contacts. He has successfully worked with many national and multi-national companies in Ireland, who were either establishing new compliance and risk departments or expanding their in-house teams.

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