Consultants are Super-Optimistic About the Future

Published: Oct 07, 2014

 Consulting       Education       Job Search       MBA       
Article image

It's a great year for the consulting industry—at least if the outlook of its employees is anything to go by.

With the launch of the Vault Consulting rankings out of the way, I've been spending some time going through some of the data we collected from the 12,000 or so responses to our survey this year, and will be posting some of the more interesting insights here in the coming days and weeks.

First up: this summary of the outlook across various practice areas within the industry, compared to last year:

2014 Consulting Outlook by Practice Area

As you can see, consultants in every practice area bar one—government/public sector—were more optimistic about the future this year than they were last year. A large part of the reason for that downturn in outlook in government/public sector work: the sequester, which was making headlines while the survey was open.

The uptick across all the other categories is undoubtedly a positive sign—both for the industry and, arguably, for the economy as a whole. Generally, when consulting firms are in demand, one of two things is happening: clients are planning for growth, or trying to cut costs—with the former driving significantly more business than the latter. Given that the positive outlook trend is across the board here, I'm taking it as a good sign. (Of course, the theory of bubbles suggests that positive sentiment is always highest right before a crash, but all kinds of data since we did this survey--from employment figures to corporate earnings--suggest that we're not there...yet!)

One other quick point: it's interesting that those in the economic consulting field are the most bullish about their practice area—perhaps a reflection of the complicated nature of global business, especially during such an uneven recovery.