By observing the events over the last two years and especially the last few months, you can say that we live in a dynamic time. Changes in the world directly affect all areas of business, including the consulting market, in which growth was noticeable during the last year. At Ework Group, the number of consultants on assignment, as well as net sales, reached record levels in the second quarter of 2022. The demand for consultants continues to increase and the pattern is similar in most markets and skill areas.
The pandemic left its mark on employers and employees by introducing new norms and standards. Although the pandemic is not completely over, people have begun returning to pre-pandemic norms such as working in the office. The current situation in Europe is also contributing to an increased need for certain skills, changes in companies' strategies, and the search for new opportunities to ensure greater stability.
To discover more about current trends in the consulting industry, we asked Elin Gheljai, CEO of Danda consultancy in Gothenburg, Sweden, who has been partnering with Ework Group for six years, to tell us what is happening in the consulting industry.
“I observed that there has been a stronger demand for consultants during the pandemic period, which increased our sales. So actually, our business has performed well during the Covid-19 crisis,” says Elin.
Digitalization has accelerated at a phenomenal rate since the first Coronavirus outbreak, and we at Ework are seeing increased interest in working more independently and remotely. Hybrid and remote working are clear labor market trends that are evident in many parts of the world; more and more professionals choose their assignments on this basis.
“For the past two years, I have noticed that there have been changes in the consulting market,” says Elin Gheljai. “The clients are more flexible today regarding remote work for the consultants. Before the pandemic, it was considered unacceptable to work from home, but nowadays many consultants have become accustomed to working remotely.”
Working from home by choice
Remote working suits some consultants. They prefer to work from home as they find that they are more productive and focused than if they were required to be on-site. However, this is not the case for all of our consultants. Some consultants have difficulty in to taking responsibility for their work, and some miss the social interaction from working at the office.
“My experience is that most of our clients no longer look at remote work as strictly as before. Many clients are more positive about hybrid work today, which means that they allow their consultants to work from home a few days a week. In fact, most consultants return to work in the office again since they miss social interaction at work. Some of them feel that there is too
great a distance between them and the people they are working with. And they might feel disconnected from their team and the projects, and they may also feel a bit lonely and isolated,” says Elin.
The trends in IT consultant recruitment
Skills shortages have been a problem for a long time in the tech sector. According to a study by TechSverige, unless specific action is taken, by 2024 the shortage of tech professionals in Sweden is expected to be 70,000 people. Elin believes that remote work is here to stay, and will be a common way of working in the future as it is often easier to find candidates with special skills in other countries.
“A trend right now is that it is hard to find programmers, since there are never enough of them. There are many skilled programmers in Asia who usually work remotely,” says Elin.
Unfortunately, we have found ourselves facing another threat arising from the war in Ukraine. This has led to a situation we did not think was possible, and also to changes in the consulting industry as many Nordic companies employ freelancers and consultants from Ukraine. Many companies wanted to extend a helping hand to them.
“I have noticed that the larger companies are very flexible in working with consultants from Ukraine. They are often very well educated, especially in IT. Ukrainians often get the jobs that are most in-demand right now,” says Elin.