The Spanish Association of Consulting Firms (AEC) has presented the Annual Report, The Spanish Consulting. The sector in 2019 figures, prepared with information from the main consulting companies operating in Spain.
In 2019, the income of Spanish consulting companies amounted to 14,517 million euros, 5.9% more than the previous year. This growth trend has been maintained since 2015, with increases of over 5%. As in previous years, the sector’s growth rate has been higher than that of Spain’s GDP, which confirms the dynamism of the sector and its role as a driver of growth in the Spanish economy.
Digital transformation processes drive the sector
The growth of the sector in 2019 is driven, fundamentally, by the digital transformation processes in which companies and Public Administrations are immersed. The knowledge and experience of consulting firms are essential for organizations to transform their business models and adapt flexibly and efficiently to the new needs of the market and consumers.
In 2019, revenues in Spain increased by 5.5% to reach 11,292 million euros, while revenues from foreign markets were 3,225 million euros, 7.2% more than in 2018.
“ The data show the good evolution of the sector, which continued to lead in 2019 the digital transformation processes in which institutions and companies are immersed. Although we do not yet have data, it is expected that this transformation could be accelerated by the health crisis of COVID-19, in which consulting companies have provided continuous technical support to their clients, allowing them not only the provision and distribution of goods and essential services but the maintenance of a good part of its activity. Likewise, the consulting firms are prepared to provide organizations with the most appropriate technological solutions to face recovery and return to normality ”, says Elena Salgado, president of the AEC.
The generator of qualified and quality employment
In 2019, the sector employed more than 200,000 professionals, which represents a growth of 8.9% over the previous year. This positive trend of job creation has been maintained continuously since 2004, the first year for which data are available.
66% of professionals in the sector have a university degree, well above the average figure in the Spanish economy. In the preferences of companies at the time of hiring, the profiles of STEM areas ( Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) are predominant.
The sector’s ability to successfully address the new challenges posed by the digital economy depends, to a large extent, on the qualifications of its professionals. As in previous years, the consulting firms invested 3.5 times the average for the Spanish economy in training their workforce. While the average expenditure in all companies was 104 euros per professional in 2019, the consulting sector invested an average of 370 euros. Total investment in training by companies in the sector has increased by 15% in 2019 and already exceeds 74 million euros. This training that consulting firms offer their teams allows them to remain at the forefront of technology and makes the sector a benchmark in quality employment.
Of the total number of hires made by consultants in 2019, 47% corresponded to recent graduates without work experience (without taking into account scholarship holders or people hired through agreements with educational institutions). For yet another year, consulting companies continue to attract talent among the youngest, facilitating their access to the job market.
Consulting companies invest in innovation more than double the average in Spain
The consulting sector invested 3% of its income in innovation in 2019, more than double the average investment in Spain and above the European average, highlighting the strategic role of consulting firms in the competitiveness of our economy.
Innovation in consulting companies allows successful undertaking projects that require new technologies and methodologies. Specifically, more than 28% of the projects require mastery of new and innovative technologies, such as cloud or cloud computing, big data & analytics, mobility devices in social networks, Internet of Things ( IoT ), artificial intelligence, automation of human or blockchain work, as well as methodologies such as Agile, Design Thinking and Lean. These projects generate 31.5% of the total income of consulting companies and are equivalent to more than 4,200 million euros.
For consulting firms, big data & analytics have been the technology with the highest revenue-generating capacity in 2019, followed by cloud, cybersecurity, and automation. The vision of consulting companies is that during the next five years the key technologies and growth sources will be, in this order, artificial intelligence, big data & analytics, cybersecurity, the cloud, and automation of services.
The demand for consulting services confirms its upward trend
Regarding the distribution of income by type of service, in 2019 technology and business consulting represented 25.3% of income; development and integration projects, 23.9%; and outsourcing, 50.8%.
Technology and business consulting has gone from representing 18% in 2010 to increase its specific weight in total sector income. In this last year, the total income from these services has grown by 9.9% compared to 2018, from 3,347 to 3,677 million euros.