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GCC consulting market to exceed $4 billion

Reuters/Bandar Algaloud
Consultancy work is in demand in the GCC, partly due to Saudi Arabia's transformational giga-projects such as the Qiddiyah entertainment resort
  • Saudi giga-projects big factor in growth of consulting sector
  • Demand for consultancy around financial services and public sector
  • Growth in renewables, biodiversity and food security

The GCC consulting market is expected to pass $4 billion in revenues this year, as the huge raft of giga-projects continue to transform the region.

According to a report from UK research firm Source, the region’s consulting sector witnessed almost 16 percent growth in 2022 to reach $3.87 billion.

Dane Albertelli, research analyst at Source, said: “The region’s economic ambitions, compounded by favourable oil prices, mean that both the volume of work and its complexity are rapidly increasing, especially in the field of digital and organisational transformation. 

“This is the main reason why 78 percent of clients in the region say their use of consultants will increase in the coming 12 months.” 

Saudi Arabia led the charge with the fastest growth across GCC markets at 17.5 percent, taking revenues past $2 billion for the first time.

The kingdom has launched a swathe of giga-projects as it accelerates activity towards achieving its Vision 2030 economic diversification goals.

These include the $500 billion flagship project Neom, the $400 million Red Sea development, the $750 million Qiddiya and the $63 billion Diriyah project.

The value of giga-project related contracts awarded in 2022 grew by 103 percent to $24.6 billion from $12 billion the previous year.

Stephen Anderson, PwC Middle East’s strategy and markets leader, told AGBI: “Despite global macroeconomic volatilities, confidence in regional economic growth is strong, supported by positive economic growth and relatively low inflation. 

“The region is undergoing a massive and fast transformation, or put simply, the region is being reimagined as we look to digitise, decarbonise, localise, privatise and modernise our economies and society.”

Consultancy markets in the UAE, Qatar and Oman all saw 14 percent growth.

According to the Source report, consultancy work around financial services was up 15 percent to $1.1 billion. Public sector consulting was also up 15 percent, hitting $982 million, and smaller healthcare and pharma sectors both grew 18 percent.

The region’s market for sustainability consulting is forecast to grow by 10 percent each year between now and 2025, according to a previous report from Source. The sector is expected to be worth $1.3 billion in 2025.

Anderson said it was seeing a great interest in renewables, green hydrogen, circular carbon economies, biodiversity, food security and the general localisation of supply chains. 

Cybersecurity was another area of strong growth, up 19 percent to $362 million in 2022.

“For large corporations, outside specialists usually mean extra hands to help their own cybersecurity teams deal with a large volume of work,” said Konstantin Sapronov, head of global emergency response team at Kaspersky.