19 Mar Reflections | What 2017 tells us about the future

19 March 2018

The breadth of technical knowledge and skills developed through a career in professional services is vast. Business development (BD), marketing and communications professionals are becoming sector experts, product specialists, sales leaders, client account managers, digital marketers, consultants, technical writers and more.

Why are BD teams now becoming more specialised and more strategic? Clients expect their service providers to know them inside and out, to know their global challenges, their opportunities, what keeps them up at night and to understand them on every level. The value of BD is growing and is now instrumental in driving opportunities and deepening client relationships.

We spotted various trends throughout 2017, many will continue well into future years.

  1. Flexible working arrangements and bonus structures are becoming more important to candidates, in addition to the total salary package.
  2. Senior sector and client specialists are in demand, as firms look at strategic ways to deepen client engagement, understanding and relationships.
  3. Firms are open to hiring outside the professional services industry and are searching for different candidates who can bring fresh ideas and diverse skills.
  4. The need to understand data and analytics is becoming more important, as the appetite for digital grows.
  5. There continues to be a shortage of strong Adviser and Coordinator-level candidates, and a general shortage of quality candidates at all levels.
  6. Project-based work (whether through consulting or contract) is on the rise, as BD teams become more lean and strategic. This is a continuing trend and we predict future BD teams will comprise over 20% project-based professionals.

We are seeing these trends firsthand across legal, accounting and engineering, however they are evident across all professional services industries, including property, design, education, insurance, technology and financial services.