GCC consulting market worth Dh5.5bn

Saudi Arabia and Qatar show strongest potential for growth

GCC consulting market grew by 20 per cent from 2010-2011 and is now worth $1.5 billion (Dh5.5 billion), making about the same size as the market in Spain, said a report recently.

Source for Consulting said in a study that Saudi Arabia which now represents 32 per cent of the GCC market ($480 millio) and Qatar (13 per cent of the market) represent the bright spots of the GCC consulting industry. Growth has been driven by heavy government investment in physical and social infrastructure. The consulting market in Qatar is now worth around $195 million. The report says that not all of this can be attributed to the 2022 World Cup, but events of this size, in a country as small as Qatar, are big news.

Richard Shediac, Senior Partner and Leader of Public Sector Practice, Booz & Company, said: “There’s been an increase in focus on Saudi Arabia and Qatar recently.”

Whilst Stuart Smith, Managing Director at Bourton Group, talked of the ‘tsunami of work’ that lay ahead for Qatar as it attempts to get ready for the tournament.

Sectors in the GCC market, which are identified in the report as having ‘high’ growth prospects over the next 12 months include the public sector; energy, natural resources and utilities; telecoms and high tech and healthcare.

The report also highlights the extent to which strategy work dominates the GCC consulting market, accounting for 26 per cent of all consulting, and worth more than $390 million. It says that this is both an indication of the extent to which this is a young market, and of the buoyancy of GCC economies.  In contrast, in Western Europe, strategy has long since been overtaken by IT consulting and improving operational performance.

Whilst demand for advice about marketing and selling advice was worth just $46 million, and represents just 7 per cent of the market, it’s growing faster than any other service (up 66 per cent), as private sector clients shift their focus from back-office to front-office functions. The report says that most demand is coming from the energy, telecoms and banking sectors; as they become increasingly competitive markets in which differentiation and the relationship between an organisation and its customers matter most.

Edward Haigh, a director of Source and author of the report, said: “A combination of factors is checking the growth stride of GCC consulting market. These include ongoing global financial uncertainty, slowdown in the UAE, and maturing clients. But whilst expectations of the GCC consulting market may have been reset, they’re still looking considerably more exciting than prospects in most of Europe.

What’s more, if GCC economies are to continue developing to the point where they resemble their large, western and far-eastern counterparts, then there’s every reason to believe that the consulting market has a big gap to close. It’s a crude measure but the UK economy, for example, is about two-and-a-half times the size of the GCC economies combined and has a consulting market about eight times as big.”

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