Bob Damon, president, North America, of executive recruitment firm Korn/Ferry International says it’s still more likely we’ll see more cuts at many firms before hiring picks up. “Generally what happens with service firms is in a downturn, they don’t right-size themselves quickly enough. And so in a downturn, they’re trailing indicators,” he says. And while some firms’ staffing strategies make headlines, it’s hard to know what’s happening at private companies, aside from anecdotal experience.
Phillips says firms are hiring—it’s just that now they want a different type of consultant. At the beginning of last year, he says, “We suddenly heard from a lot of our consulting clients, ‘Let’s just hire the person we really need.’ So most of our consulting clients began to delay and focus on hiring only those people they really needed, and part of the trend here, especially with globalization, is that the client is asking for a different sort of delivery person.” That person, he says, is a trusted adviser with real content knowledge who can serve in a very specific role. “And those are the searches we’re seeing. We’re being asked for laser-specific people, like retail banking, but someone who worked for the banks during this chaotic period.”
Damon adds that firms also are more interested in candidates who have hybrid experience. “[Consulting firms] would typically like to go into a company where someone from Bain left after four or five years to work for a company, maybe started [at that company] in a strategy role, maybe then moved over to an operating role and has been in that kind of situation for a number of years and they would go after that person to come back into consulting.”
The signals from Indian consulting firms are mixed too. In the consulting space, focus on productivity and increasing 'bang from the buck' is up. So if you are a consultant who can enumerate on profitability impact of your advice then firms are going to take a second look at you.
Yeah like all good things there's going to be a shakeout in the consulting market too. And that's a good thing, for consulting firms - as well as their clients. As this other article advises consulting firms "Clean out your dead wood"