The consulting markets of Europe, the Middle East and Africa (the EMEA-region) form, together with North America, the largest consulting markets in the world. According to recent data, the market value of the EMEA-region is on track to surpass the $100 billion mark. Europe represents the largest segment of the EMEA consulting market at more than 95%, with West-Europe by far the largest contributor, adding 90% of Europe’s total turnover.

Following the economic downturn within the European consulting market between 2008 and 2010 – in the wake of the financial crisis that raged across the European continent – the consulting industry has managed to recover and return to modest growth. Following growth of 3.9% in the consulting market in 2012, to a total market value of $85 billion*, the three subsequent years continued in good step with an average annual rate of 3.5%. 2016 is projected to see a growth rate of 4%, with the European market to hit $98 billion in total, and, with the addition of the wider EMEA region, the overall consultancy market is set to surpass the $100 billion mark for the first time in history.

Differences between the consultancy markets in West- and East-Europe are becoming more apparent. Between 2010 and 2015 the consultancy market in Western Europe grew less than half as fast as that of Eastern Europe. The countries where variants of German are spoken (Germany, Austria and Switzerland, also known as the DACH-region) have a combined turnover of $24 billion and represent the largest consulting market region in Europe, followed by the UK and Ireland, which book a total fee income of over $23 billion. In terms of individual countries, the UK and Germany are the largest consulting markets, followed by France. The Benelux countries, with the Netherlands as the largest hub, account for a turnover of $7.5 billion in 2016, about $1 billion more than the Nordic region.

Similar to other developed markets such as the US and Australia, Operations Consulting is the largest market segment in Europe – accounting for over 30% of the total market – followed by Financial Advisory and IT ConsultingHR Consulting is, with a market share of around 10%, the smallest segment, while Strategy Consulting – the most prestigious segment – holds a share of less than 15% of the $98 billion (European, Middle East and African) consultancy market.

A comparison of the different European consulting markets shows that there is considerable variation in segments and offerings between regions. Financial Advisory plays a much larger role in the UK (32%), with its large financial sector than, for example, in the German speaking countries (24%). This is also because a number of services offered by financial consultants in the UK are commonly performed in the DACH region by local lawyers and accountants. Human Resources Consulting is still emerging in Southern Europe, where fewer large multinationals are headquartered (the main customers for HR consultants) relative to Northern Europe. Not very surprisingly, HR Consulting in the UK and Ireland account for 12% of the consultancy market, while in Southern Europe only 8% of the market consists of HR Consulting. The market structure of the Benelux region is comparable to that of France and the DACH region.

See the page 'Consulting Market' for the methodology and definitions used for determining market estimates.