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While some trusting souls may find solace in Bernanke's (almost) comforting words that the recession is "very likely over,", the business world is certainly not breathing any great sighs of relief. Kennedy Consulting released its annual study this week—Global Consulting Marketplace: Key Trends, Profiles and Forecasts—which claims that the global consulting market is very likely "irreversibly changed." Kennedy points out that a key distinction in the market today is between the goals of sustainability and growth—while firms may be able to sustain their current levels of operation, the consulting industry won't see anything like the 2008 growth levels until 2012.
A primary issue consulting firms are now facing is where to devote scarce resources now that client demand has waned. Those that are faring the best right now are firms that are tapped into the market for human resources and benefits, and business advisory and restructuring—and many large firms have expanded their focus on these areas. Of course, competition within the global consulting market will only increase as firms compete with each other over what little client work is available.
"Given the market contraction in 2009 which is only expected to flatline in 2010, well-positioned consultancies are smart to vie for clients with stimulus and/or bailout money," said Kelly Matthews, Associate Director of Kennedy Consulting Research & Advisory and lead analyst for Global Consulting Marketplace. "However, circumstances dictate that such rewards may be realized only in the short-term and consultants will face severe fee pressures due to unprecedented competition."
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