Qatar’s consulting market grew 16.6% in 2021 to $321mn; joint second only to Saudi Arabia in the GCC region, a new report by Source Global Research has shown.
Like other countries in the region, Qatar experienced a boost to its economy and public sector budget due to higher oil prices and a successful post-Covid reopening, which generated a surge in consulting demand across a number of sectors.
Consultants in Qatar also saw opportunities created by the end of the diplomatic and economic blockade on Qatar by some of its GCC neighbours, Source Global Research noted.
Preparations for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 also drove continued infrastructure and services investments. These trends translated into high growth in strategy consulting in particular, which grew 24.1%, while operations and human resources, change and people strategy consulting grew 15.7% and 16.5%, respectively.
From a sector perspective, the rollout across Qatar of the 5G network continued at pace, driving strong consulting demand in the technology, media, and telecom (TMT sector — up 21.8%), Source Global Research said.
The markets for manufacturing and retail consulting in Qatar also grew strongly as both sectors enjoyed substantial recovery upon emerging from the pandemic, the report noted.
Across the GCC, cybersecurity is the fastest-growing consulting service across the region, while pharma and biotech is the fastest growing sector for consultants.
After contracting for the first time in its history in 2020, the GCC consulting market has bounced back strongly, recording an overall market growth rate of 17.7% in 2021 — its fastest growth rate in seven years. The market has now passed a total value of $3bn ($3.3bn) for the first time.
While volatile oil prices and Covid-19-related restrictions lingered over the market in the early days of the year, government efforts to push on with investment and economic transformation programmes across the region — particularly in relation to Expo 2020, FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, and Qatar National Vision 2030 — boosted demand across the consulting market.
The Source Global Research also surveyed client organisations across the Gulf, with 59% saying that they expect to spend more on consulting support in 2022 than they did in 2021.
The report says that although this proportion is marginally smaller than the 63% who said this last year, it reflects Source’s overall view of 2021, that — leaving aside the impact of the war in Ukraine and consequence of economic sanctions against Russia — 2022 will be another strong year for consulting services with growth rates only slightly lower than last year’s exceptional performance.
Ashok Patel, Market Trends, Content & Strategy lead at Source Global Research said: “After a challenging 2020, consultants in the GCC enjoyed a much better 2021—recording the fastest market growth rate for seven years. Long-anticipated events such as the pandemic-delayed Expo 2020 generated opportunities for consultants of all stripes as the country geared up to showcase its strengths.
“Our data shows that the GCC is recovering quickly from the pandemic. Almost half of clients we surveyed in the Gulf region think that their organisations have returned to normal after the pandemic, which is a significantly higher proportion than in other countries that we’ve analysed as part of this year’s Market Trends programme. With greater optimism returning to the region, and almost two-thirds of client organisations expecting to spend more on consulting support this year than they did in 2021, we are forecasting another strong year for the region’s consultants.”