The management consulting job outlook for 2021 is something thousands of ambitious new graduates – and experienced industry hands – are looking forward to with anticipation and concern. The consulting job market has been improving steadily year over year for a decade, with each turn of the calendar bringing an expanding job market. This has largely been a result of the success of the management consulting industry as a whole, which by 2019 had grown to $160 billion worldwide. However, the landscape of the consulting job market—like the rest of the economy—has been disrupted and transformed by the Covid-19.
So what does Covid-19 mean for the management consulting job outlook in 2021? Will there be a total hiring freeze? Or will the competition from hiring slowdowns be offset by fewer candidates hitting the job market? In this article we’ll walk through what aspiring management consultants should expect in terms of the 2021 management consultant job outlook, and how they can best respond to it.
So, first thing’s first—the pandemic has triggered a massive slowdown in the global economy, and almost no one is immune. The management consultant job outlook will be diminished by this slowdown. Forecasts have suggested that consulting firms are likely to lose 20-50% of their business in 2020. In turn, the industry itself might shrink from $160 to $130 billion annually.
Management consultants should expect the landscape to look somewhat bleak and slow, for a time. At least, compared to the boom times of the last decade. The Great Recession that began in 2008 offers some indication of what we can expect. Overall, consulting firms are likely to shrink in terms of both new business as well as new recruitment of employees. In-house operations are likely to see significant cuts. This is especially true in terms of low performing or redundant employees. Not to mention ancillary costs, like free snacks and other office perks (which are easier to cut when more people work remotely).