Pharma is the fastest-growing industry for consultants in the US

Survey of the global business consulting market finds double-digit growth for pharma


It’s no surprise that there are lots of consultants serving the pharma industry in the US, what with complicated relationships with payers, physicians and the public. But it is notable that this industry is the fastest-growing one for consulting services, according to an annual survey performed by Source Global Research (London), which calls itself “the leading research and strategy firm for the global management consulting industry.”

In 2016, the US market for business consulting was worth $58.7 billion, and had grown 7.1% from 2015. Of that, $1.92 billion was spent by life sciences companies, up 11.9% over the previous year—the highest growth rate of any of the industries tracked by Source Global. 2017 growth is expected to be almost identical: 11.8%. (Pharma is the fastest-growing but by no means the largest business sector for consulting; that would be financial services, which spent $14.78 billion.)

“Pharma & biotech clients are asking a lot of big questions right now, including how their companies can continue to grow. And so this industry is calling on strategy consultants to help craft actionable plans,” commented Fiona Czerniawska, director at Source Global. “Consultants are also anticipating that the new administration’s protectionist stance could offer tax incentives to encourage pharma companies to move overseas operations to the US. If this does happen, it has potential to generate additional consulting work.”

Source Global says that it measures the “addressable” management consulting industry, meaning, firms with more than 50 employees (and not smaller firms, or those who are contractors). The annual survey is based on client surveys as well as interviews at consulting firms themselves.