mid-sized business report

How can Professional Services navigate the cyclic nature of work?

Ben Matthews Ben Matthews

For the professional services industry, it seems as though we are on a growth trajectory.

Work resulting from the Royal Commissions is keeping law firms at all levels on their toes and the infrastructure boom means our architects and engineers are more than busy.

In fact, the last industry report from IBIS suggests that we’ve seen a 1.6% growth rate for the professional services sector in the past five years and will continue to see a projected growth rate of 1.9% over the next five years.

Growth doesn’t come without its challenges. Conversations we’re having with our clients across the legal, engineering and architectural sectors reveal similar issues – talent management, risk and regulation, and stakeholder engagement continue to come up as the immediate barriers to meet current demands, let alone to support projected growth.

This industry, similar to so many, also faces major disruption and change, with an increase in regulatory changes, industry consolidation and new technologies coming to the fore. Overlay this with the cyclic nature of work – the current infrastructure boom can’t last forever – and navigating the market as a mid-sized professional services firm can be complex.

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Here is a short introduction to our three recommendations to help boost the Professional Services sector:

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People and skills

As revenue has increased in the professional services industry, we have seen both staff and skills shortages. This is partly due to a disconnect between universities and professional services firms – we’re not seeing job ready graduates enter the workforce in the areas of most need.

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Competition and choice

We’ve seen a trend over the past five years of industry consolidation, where the top firms across all professional services sectors are expanding their service areas by purchasing small and mid-market firms to incorporate that knowledge into their offerings. But is the tide about to turn?

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Managing the peaks and troughs of growth

Australia is in a unique position – we’re an established, geo-politically safe country located in the midst of the rapidly growing Asia Pacific region. Once the work in Australia slows down in Australia, can our professional services sector support the growth of economies all around us?

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