Consultants Library

5 Emerging consulting professions for the new economy

by Michaella Menin on 18 Feb 2020

Traditional management consulting is becoming a thing of the past. Companies are seeking to solve business challenges arising from constant digital & technological disruption with agile, customised and specific expertise. This influences what the

Traditional management consulting is becoming a thing of the past. Companies are seeking to solve business challenges arising from constant digital & technological disruption with agile, customised and specific expertise. This influences what they look for in a consulting partner and the skills that are required from them. Because of evolving technological, demographic and economic landscapes, the gap between what clients need and what has traditionally been offered has opened up new opportunities for consultants in emerging professions.

A study by the World Economic Forum found that between 2018 and 2022, an astounding 133 million new jobs will emerge. We identified the top 5 emerging consulting professions to help you find your niche and future-proof your career. We hope this will help guide you in the right direction to deliver top class, relevant services in the new era of consulting!

Explore these professions of the future and find out how consultants can upskill and evolve professionally in them. 

[Related article: 5 tips on how to grow as an independent professional]

The time of the technologist

Rapidly changing technological advancements have led to a greater demand for IT professionals such as data, engineering, cloud computing, and product development experts. Technology consultants are able to support clients by using IT to reach business objectives or solve business challenges. And because the digital needs of companies are getting more demanding, digitalisation plays a core role in almost every business strategy. 

Here consultants have relevant expertise in both defining and successfully implementing digital technologies. However, one of the most impactful ways a consultant can add value to their client is to influence and improve the overall direction and technology strategy of the business. Companies will more likely benefit in the long-term if consultants can put processes in place to adapt and innovate with ongoing technological change. 

Data and AI

Consulting in the digital age means being confronted with big data challenges by companies who need to analyse and extract beneficial insights for innovation and problem solving. But consulting in this area is relatively new and companies looking to outsource talent for data and AI roles are battling to find the right people for the job. 

It’s obvious that there is a huge shortage of data and AI experts as this new professional landscape emerges. According to a report by BCG and MIT Sloan, companies are facing problems with a lack of Data & AI strategy, lack of awareness about AI capabilities and a lack of talent in Data & AI. There is a need for consultants to help clients address these issues by developing a clear roadmap for the adoption of Data and AI as well as identifying use cases for the clients business. 

In the same study by the World Economic Forum, we found the top professions companies are looking for in this area are:

  1. Artificial Intelligence Specialist 
  2. Data Scientist 
  3. Data Engineer 
  4. Big Data Developer  
  5. Data Analyst 
  6. Analytics Specialist  
  7. Data Consultant 
  8. Insights Analyst 
  9. Business Intelligence Developer 
  10. Analytics Consultant 

Engineering & Cloud Computing 

Experienced experts in Engineering and Cloud Computing are in high demand especially with companies focused on scaling their technology and software products quickly – without lengthy project timelines and big upfront costs. 

The ability to develop new technology products and services without the time and effort associated with traditional IT project scopes makes it easier to launch new applications much faster. Companies are constantly looking for talent to help them deliver more secure and efficient products and services to their clients or end-users. 

Consultants in the IT and Software industry can offer clients value in both the implementation of as well as leading and project managing engineering and cloud computing projects. 

Here are the top in-demand roles you should consider as a consultant in this profession:

  1. Site Reliability Engineer
  2. Python Developer
  3. Full Stack Engineer
  4. Javascript Developer
  5. Back End Developer
  6. Frontend Engineer
  7. Software Developer
  8. Platform Engineer 
  9. Development Specialist
  10. Cloud Engineer 
  11. DevOps Engineer 
  12. Cloud Consultant 
  13. DevOps Manager
  14. Technology Analyst 

Product Development  

With companies experiencing huge pressures to create new products and services in the fast-paced environment of the digital market, product developers play an essential role.  

Product developers are expected to have a wealth of knowledge about new technologies to build state-of-the-art digital products. On top of this, companies need their product development teams to improve the quality and timing of the development cycle where flexible/agile ways of working are essential for success. 

Here are the top emerging professions in Product Development worth considering as a consultant:

  1. Product Owner
  2. Quality Assurance Tester
  3. Agile Coach
  4. Software Quality Assurance Engineer
  5. Product Analyst
  6. Quality Assurance Engineer
  7. Scrum Master
  8. Digital Product Manager
  9. Delivery Lead

Consultants must continue to evolve and master new technologies to help clients bridge the gap between strategy and technology.


The human-centric economy 

Although on one hand, we can undeniably see a trend in jobs arising in the technological landscape, on the other hand, there is a drive towards improving human interaction in the new digitally-led economy. Companies have started realising that the one-size-fits-all approach is getting old. Consumers are craving authenticity and highly personalised interactions which make them feel as if companies care about their specific wants and needs. 

This human-centric approach has had huge implications for how businesses operate, especially in marketing and HR functions. This shift to a more personal approach has given rise to a greater demand for “people” facing jobs such as marketing, sales, and content production roles; as well as emerging roles at the forefront of people and culture.

Consulting in this area is well established, however, the real challenge for consultants is to play a more strategic role for clients. With new technologies and access to vast amounts of data, we need to be able to make data-driven decisions while still keeping people at the core of our solutions. 

People & Culture

We recently spoke to two consultants with extensive experience and expertise in recruitment and HR, Sebastian Monet and Robert Williams. Sebastian and Robert both identified changing digital habits of employees and changes in the way people define the purpose of work having major implications for organisations. 

Firstly, the evolution of HR and recruitment means using new technologies for customised digital HR solutions. “I also think that with growing access to more and more data, workforce data analytics offers an interesting opportunity for HR leaders to bring more insights and challenges to wider strategy formulation,” says Robert. 

Secondly, there is a shift in the way people define work and the capabilities they offer. This leaves questions about how companies can adapt by re-designing business operating models to re-organise teams, structures and collaborations for the future of work. 

The top professions identified by The World Economic study as well as our HR experts include:

  1. Information Technology Recruiter 
  2. Human Resource Partner
  3. Talent Acquisition Specialist
  4. Digital Recruitment Manager 
  5. Human Resource Business Partner 

[Related article: Is your organisation ready for the professional gig economy?] 

Marketing & Content 

Consulting skills in this profession are shifting to meet the ever-changing needs of the customer where the focus of most marketing projects will be on agility, analytics, business process redesign, enhancing the customer experience and understanding target audiences to develop better products that match their preferences. 

Data has become a golden word in marketing as we see companies relying more heavily on data to drive marketing decisions. With a myriad of online platforms and channels emerging from rapid digitalisation, as well as the adoption of them by consumers, poses a challenge for the marketing function. Creating online content that brings personalised and valuable information to the right people at the right time is essential for customer success and loyalty.

Because of this emphasis on content creation and digital marketing, we see the following top 10 in-demand Marketing & Content jobs emerging:

  1. Growth Hacker
  2. Growth Manager 
  3. Customer Success Specialist 
  4. Digital Marketing Specialist 
  5. Content Specialist 
  6. Digital Marketing Consultant
  7. Head of Digital
  8. Content Writer/Producer 
  9. Business Development Specialist 


These emerging professional consulting opportunities have evolved out of the changing needs of organisations who have to adapt to the technological, demographic and economic environment in order to survive. The real value from collaborating with a consulting partner will be in their ability to influence and improve the operations or direction of their client’s business in the long run through innovative, actionable and future-proof solutions.


Helpful studies & articles:

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