The National Consulting Index (NCI) estimates the revenue contribution of the management consulting sector (MCS) to a nation’s gross domestic product (GDP). It is a powerful tool that allows for a comparative analysis of the strength of an MCS in one country with others. This index, a brainchild of the International Council of Management Consulting Institutes (ICMCI) in 2018, has developed to hold immense significance in the global management consulting landscape, shaping how we understand and evaluate the sector. (Haslam et al., 2020). 

This paper provides a comprehensive update on the NCI project, including an estimate of the size of the MCS in 2023 in 84 of the 100 countries studied. It serves as a gateway to unique qualitative insights from member institutes about the trends and dynamics of their management consulting industry, offering a deeper understanding of the industry's evolution and prospects.

Starting in 2018, the NCI project was created to gain insight into national differences in the management consulting sector and to develop a data-driven method for calculating the sector’s size in each country. The 2024 NCI project is more than a compilation of data. It is a significant endeavour that refines and strengthens the computational model for estimating an NCI, updates earlier estimates of the size of the MCS in each country for which data are available, and uses the findings to learn more about the trends and characteristics of the consulting market. The invaluable contributions of the ICMCI Member institutes, which are at the heart of this crucial initiative, provide unique and invaluable insights that are not available anywhere else. 

This paper unveils a treasure trove of unique and fascinating insights from the NCI project. It outlines the project method and background and presents the analysis results in two parts. The first part provides financial estimates (US$m) for the MCS in the studied countries. The second part, perhaps the most intriguing, reports insights from those ICMCI Member institutes that provided commentary. These insights, exclusive to this paper, are valuable for understanding the management consulting industry. The paper concludes with a thought-provoking reflection on the NCI project and its implications for future research.

Despite the rapid growth and increasing use of management consulting by governments and businesses, there remains a significant gap in our knowledge about its size and performance as an industry group. Few governments keep a national record of the sector’s activity. However, it is widely acknowledged that the size of a country's MCS varies in proportion to the size of that country's economy. This lack of understanding underscores the crucial role of the NCI project and its findings. By providing comprehensive and reliable data, the NCI project is instrumental in filling this knowledge gap and shaping the future of the management consulting industry. 

Source Global Research (SGR) estimated that in 2023, the global average of a country's MCS was approximately 0.30% of GDP (SGR estimated the international management consulting market at US$312.5B, compared to a global GDP of US$104,476.4B).

The research seeks to illuminate the factors that can show why a national MCS is proportionally higher in some countries than others. Figure 1 shows the distribution of the percentage of national GDP contributed by the MCS (i.e. NCI) in the 29 countries supplied by SGR, while Figure 2 shows the NCI compared with the GDP in 2023. As seen from those figures, the MCS is a more substantial component of the economy in some countries than in others. The NCI project, therefore, seeks to provide a data-driven method to estimate a country’s MCS and explain this variation.

One way to estimate a country’s MCS is to predict it by determining the relationship between a range of parametric and non-parametric measures and the size of the market, where that market size is known (Haslam & Blackman, 2023; Haslam et al., 2020; O'Mahoney et al., 2021). Once the MCS estimates are known, each country can calculate the NCI by dividing its estimate by its GDP.

Read the full NCI 2024 Edition.