Saudi Arabia leads GCC consulting market.

  Saudi Arabia’s consulting market expanded 14.8 per cent to $1.25 billion during 2015, accounting for almost half of the GCC consulting market, which grew by 9.4 per cent to $2.7 billion, a report said.

Although the GCC’s growth rate is still impressive in comparison to other global consulting markets, it is a markedly lower than the region has been used to (25 per cent in 2013 and 15 per cent in 2014), so the mood amongst its management consultants has changed as a result, added the new report from leading global consulting market analysts Source Global Research (Source).

The report notes that low oil prices impacted the GCC’s entire consulting market, but the effect was felt especially keenly in Saudi Arabia, where it has hastened an already urgent programme of economic reform and diversification.

Edward Haigh, director of Source Global Research, and author of the report, said: “The scale of the challenge facing Saudi Arabia in diversifying its economy is also a huge opportunity for consulting firms. However, the big question for consultants is how long the Saudi government will keep spending against a backdrop of dramatically reduced oil revenues.”

Gerard Gallagher, managing partner at EY, added: “Saudi Arabia has clearly been challenged by declining oil revenues, but in response, the Kingdom is transforming itself on a scale and at a pace rarely seen on a national level. The soon-to-be-rolled-out National Transformation Program should drive economic diversification and enable social and developmental change across the country. We expect the consulting industry to be actively engaged in this process.”

In contrast, the UAE, the second largest GCC consulting market, grew by 4.3 per cent to $788 million. Although consultants are not benefiting as much in the UAE (as it already has a diversified economy and therefore less urgency to change), the report says that Saudi Arabia could do a lot worse than follow the example set by the UAE (or at least by Dubai) when it comes to diversification.

Other growth rates recorded across the GCC in 2015 included Qatar – up 6.6 per cent to $329 million, Kuwait – up 3.7 per cent to $183 million, and Oman – up 6.9 per cent to $100 million.

Read more at TradeArabia