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The Battle for Talent Between Consulting and Technology Firms Is Heating Up

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With human capital as their primary “product” consulting firms are naturally always on the hunt for the best talent. This battle for talent has intensified in the current economic expansion as many of the best and brightest minds are attracted to technology companies for their next career move.

The challenges for management consulting firms have increased as rapid growth and a need to recruit digital-savvy workers has left many firms short staffed. This talent scarcity dynamic has been exacerbated by a growing source of competition: whereas consulting firms previously competed primarily among themselves and with investment banks to lure the best talent, they’re now facing a significant challenge from tech companies and start-ups.

In today’s job market, many professionals consider technology companies more exciting places to work, and oftentimes more work-life balanced. Among job seekers there is a widely held perception that technology companies are creative, fun places to work. Whereas the prevailing view of consulting firms is, not so much!

New research seems to support this view. In a recent report published by Source for Consulting, titled Winning the talent war: Critical success factors for consulting firms, they interviewed more than 100 job-hunting consultants and found that a huge 70% of them rated firms’ culture as one of the most important factors in choosing their next employer. The second-placed factor—a good career path within the firm—was a top concern for 55% of candidates, and the almighty dollar was a primary factor only 54% of the time.

In the US market, many consulting firms report that it is much harder to win head-to-head talent battles with technology companies, especially where recent graduates are concerned. The situation is unlikely to improve unless consulting firms start actively working to combat their stodgy image and becoming “clients of choice” for their consultants. Part of this equation also involves attracting those consultants who want to maintain their independence, but still want to work on a flexible basis for clients.

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