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  Management consultancy firms are being torn apart by surging levels of staff turnover, according to new research from
Consulting-Times E-zine
Polling consultants from the leading firms, the survey finds that staff retention is likely to deteriorate further this year as the global consulting recovery presents consultants with a wider choice of career opportunities – encouraging them to leave their existing employer in favour of a new challenge.

The full report, to be published in the May edition of Consulting Times, reveals the strategies that consulting firms have been putting in place to address the retention challenge, together with consultants' views on what their firm could do to make them want to stay.

Staff turnover in last 12 months

20.0% – UK & Ireland
18.6% – Mainland Europe
12.5% – US
10.7% – India

In terms of key statistics, the survey highlights that staff turnover rates have already reached critical levels in the UK & Ireland market – with a median rate of 20% across the ~50 firms surveyed. A significant number of UK firms were in the 25%-30% range, reinforcing the recruitment boom that has gripped the market for the last 9 months. The US market's staff turnover figures are some way below, reflecting the early stages of the consulting recovery there – whilst the benefits of an offshore presence in India seem to be further reinforced by the low staff turnover rates being achieved.

Worryingly for firms the report shows that current retention problems may prove to be just the tip of the iceberg. Only 23.5% of consultants polled believe their firm has taken any steps in the last year to improve staff retention rates, whilst 92.5% of consultants believe employers will find it harder to retain staff in the coming year in the face of a rebounding market. This huge imbalance means that – for most firms – staff turnover is likely to increase over the next 12 months.

Consulting firms can take some comfort from the fact that many of the things consultants stated would make them stay with their existing firm actually cost very little to implement. Market-beating salaries were not consultants' main consideration, as the survey will reveal in a week's time.

Survey data was collected in Q2 2005 and includes contributions from consultants at global brands such as A.T.Kearney, Accenture, Altran, Ariba, Atos Consulting, BearingPoint, Booz Allen Hamilton, BCG, Boxwood, BT, Capgemini, CSC, Deloitte, Ernst & Young, Gartner, Hedra, Hewlett Packard, IBM Business Consulting, L.E.K., LogicaCMG,, Marakon, OC&C; Strategy Consultants, PA Consulting, PKF, Proudfoot Consulting, PRTM, PwC, Roland Berger Strategy Consultants, RSM Robson Rhodes, SAIC and Unisys

Related link: Recruiters flock to Management Consultancy careers fair
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