The Ework Barometer
2017

About the Ework Barometer

The Ework Barometer is the leading survey of the consultant market in the Nordic region. The participating consultants are mainly residents of the four big Nordic countries: Denmark, Finland Norway and Sweden. Hence it offers a unique insight into the situation in the northern European consultant market.

Ework Group has the largest network of consultants in the Nordic market consisting of specialists in IT/telecom, engineering and business development. Within this network the Ework Barometer survey has been conducted since 2005. The survey provides detailed information regarding the consultants’ perception of the market and its future.

Data were collected through survey interviews in April and May 2017. The basic structure of the survey is the same over time in order to allow comparison between surveys. This report is a summary of the results.

3.770 (2.158) people participated of which: Sweden: 2.913 (1.326), Norway 297 (183), Finland 221 (160), Denmark 183 (128), and other 156 (117).

(Figures in parenthesis refer to the results of the previous Ework Barometer from September 2016.)

Summary

Thriving optimism

According to The Ework Barometer there are no signs indicating that the Nordic consultancy business is slowing down. 68 (67) percent of the consultants have successfully managed to increase their hourly rates within the last 2 years. The average rate is now 97 euro per hour, compared to 96 euro in the previous Barometer. 38 (32) percent of the consultants are also expecting to raise their hourly rates in the next 12 months. Only 5.1 (7.4) percent of the consultants are fearing the opposite, lower hourly rates. The group with the lowest hourly rates, under 70 euro, comprises 16 (15) percent of the consultants. The segment consisting of the most expensive consultants (rates above 150 euro per hour) corresponds to 4.6 (4.1) percent.

The average capacity utilization among the participants in the Barometer increased from 77 to 85 percent. Only 11 (17) percent of the consultants have experienced a decreased capacity utilization during the last 12 months.

The optimisms among participants regarding the market outlook remains. 54 (53) percent of the consultants expect the market for general consultancy services to grow “somewhat” or “much” over the next 12 months. Only 7.7 (9.1) percent predict the market to decrease “somewhat” or “much”.

Demand

How will the demand for consulting services in general develop over the next 12 months?

Show numbers +

By country

Denmark Finland Norway Sweden
Decreases much 1,3% 1,9% 0,9% 1,0%
Decreases some 4,0% 2,5% 12,5% 5,9%
Unchanged 38,0% 29,6% 39,7% 39,1%
Increases some 50,0% 57,9% 42,9% 47,1%
Increases much 6,7% 8,2% 4,0% 7,0%

By group

IT/Telecoms Technology Business development
Decreases much 1,4% 0,2% 0,8%
Decreases some 6,8% 7,9% 6,3%
Unchanged 40,5% 35,7% 34,3%
Increases some 45,9% 47,7% 51,7%
Increases much 5,5% 8,5% 6,9%

How will the demand in your area of expertise develop over the next 12 months?

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By country

Denmark Finland Norway Sweden
Decreases much 2,1% 2,7% 1,4% 0,7%
Decreases some 5,0% 2,0% 7,6% 4,9%
Unchanged 27,1% 27,5% 36,5% 32,8%
Increases some 55,0% 53,7% 44,1% 49,3%
Increases much 10,7% 14,1% 10,4% 12,4%

By group

IT/Telecoms Technology Business development
Decreases much 1,0% 0,5% 0,7%
Decreases some 6,3% 6,0% 2,5%
Unchanged 33,8% 30,8% 31,9%
Increases some 48,9% 48,6% 50,0%
Increases much 10,0% 14,1% 14,9%

As always, the respondents forecast for their own area of expertise differs from the how they look upon the consultancy market as a whole. The ratio of optimists, saying that the demand for consultancy in their own area will increase, is now 61 (60) percent, in comparison to 54 (53) percent for the consultancy market in general.

At the same time, the pessimists saying the demand will decrease in their own area is only 6.3 percent, compared to 7.4 percent in the last Barometer. 7.7 (9.1) percent are predicting the same for consulting services in general.

When it comes to their own sector, consultants have a direct business experience, and should therefore in fact be better informed.

Fees & Capacity

What is your, or your consultants' average hourly rate today?

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By country

Denmark Finland Norway Sweden
< 30 € 2,1% 2,8% 1,4% 1,5%
30-49 € 1,4% 10,3% 0,2% 2,5%
50-69 € 7,7% 17,9% 3,8% 12,0%
70-89 € 28,0% 29,7% 8,6% 33,5%
90-109 € 31,5% 26,2% 24,8% 29,2%
110-129 € 7,7% 6,2% 41,0% 12,6%
130-149 € 9,8% 3,5% 11,4% 5,4%
> 150 € 11,9% 3,5% 8,6% 3,3%

By group

IT Technology Business development
< 30 € 2,1% 1,7% 0,9%
30-49 € 2,1% 6,6% 1,3%
50-69 € 11,5% 19,0% 5,8%
70-89 € 33,2% 38,5% 19,6%
90-109 € 30,4% 21,2% 29,8%
110-129 € 15,1% 8,5% 17,3%
130-149 € 4,0% 2,2% 13,1%
> 150 € 1,6% 2,2% 12,2%

Average hourly rates €/h

Euro per hour
All respondents 97,0
Denmark 105
Finland 84
Norway 116
Sweden 94
IT/Telecoms 92
Technology 89
Business development 113

In the past year 45 (45) percent of the consultants have successfully managed to increase their hourly rates. Another 24 (22) percent raised their rates the year before. The group with the lowest hourly rates, under 70 euro, amounts to 15 percent (16 percent). The average hourly rate is 97 euro, compared to 96 euro in the last Barometer. The group comprising the most expensive consultants (above 150 euro an hour) now includes 4.6 percent of the respondents, in comparison to 4.1 percent in the September 2016 Ework Barometer.

An indicator pointing in the same direction is that 89 (83) percent of the participants in the Barometer reports an increased or stable capacity utilization compared to 12 months ago. 74 (62) percent is satisfied with their workload, whereas 21 (34) percent would like to work more and 5.4 (3.8) percent say they have too much work.

When was the last rise in your average hourly rate?

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By country

Denmark Finland Norway Sweden
During the last 12 months 44% 22% 45% 46%
1-2 years ago 20% 34% 19% 24%
2-3 years ago 12% 20% 17% 11%
3-5 years ago 10% 8% 7% 7%
More than 5 years ago 14% 16% 12% 11%

By group

IT / Telecoms Technology Business development
During the last 12 months 43% 49% 41%
1-2 years ago 22% 25% 26%
2-3 years ago 13% 12% 12%
3-5 years ago 8% 5% 9%
More than 5 years ago 13% 10% 12%

How do you think your hourly rate will develop in the next 12 months?

Show numbers +

By country

Denmark Finland Norway Sweden
Decreases 5,9% 3,8% 4,4% 5,4%
Unchanged 49,3% 51,9% 45,8% 45,6%
Increases 34,2% 34,8% 38,7% 37,7%
Don't know 10,5% 9,5% 11,1% 11,3%

By group

IT / Telecoms Technology Business development
Decreases 5,7% 5,7% 4,2%
Unchanged 46,8% 41,4% 49,6%
Increases 36,1% 40,2% 38,7%
Don't know 11,4% 12,8% 7,6%

38 (32) percent of the participants in the Ework Barometer predict increased hourly rates within the next 12 months. 46 (50) percent expect unchanged hourly rates while 5.1 (7.4) percent expect their rates to reduce.

Average capacity utilization

Show numbers +

By country

Denmark Finland Norway Sweden
< 50 % 6,5% 13,4% 8,5% 6,0%
50-59 % 8,4% 5,2% 4,9% 3,6%
60-69 % 3,9% 2,3% 2,8% 3,0%
70-79 % 6,5% 11,6% 7,3% 7,4%
80-89 % 25,2% 19,8% 26,7% 27,0%
> 90 % 49,7% 47,7% 49,8% 53,1%

By group

IT Technology Business development
< 50 % 5,5% 5,7% 9,7%
50-59 % 3,2% 2,8% 7,7%
60-69 % 2,5% 2,4% 4,1%
70-79 % 5,2% 7,5% 13,8%
80-89 % 23,9% 31,7% 29,6%
> 90 % 59,9% 49,9% 35,2%

Are you satisfied with your average capacity utilization today?

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By country

Denmark Finland Norway Sweden
Yes 71,9% 66,9% 72,5% 74,9%
No, it is too low 24,4% 28,7% 25,9% 19,1%
No, it is to high 3,8% 4,4% 1,6% 5,9%

By group

IT / Telecoms Technology Business development
Yes 77,6% 75,2% 64,3%
No, it is too low 16,8% 20,8% 30,4%
No, it is to high 5,6% 4,0% 5,3%

How does your current capacity utilization compare to 12 months ago?

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By country

Denmark Finland Norway Sweden
Higher 21,7% 30,1% 21,5% 25,4%
Unchanged 66,2% 54,9% 55,2% 65,0%
Lower 12,1% 15,0% 23,3% 9,5%

By group

IT / Telecoms Technology Business development
Higher 22,6% 29,6% 28,0%
Unchanged 68,1% 60,5% 55,7%
Lower 9,4% 9,9% 16,3%

Competition

How do you anticipate the foreign competition to develop in the next 12 months?

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Foreign by country

Denmark Finland Norway Sweden
Decreases much 1,5% 2,2% 1,0% 0,9%
Decreases some 5,9% 2,2% 5,4 5,2
Unchanged 55,6% 56,1% 59,5% 63,8%
Increases some 33,3% 30,2% 28,8% 25,4%
Increases much 3,7% 9,4% 5,4% 4,7%

Foreign by group

IT Technology Business development
Decreases much 1,3% 0,5% 0,7%
Decreases some 6,2% 4,5% 3,3%
Unchanged 57,0% 60,2% 69,8%
Increases some 29,2% 29,1% 23,6%
Increases much 6,4% 5,7% 2,6%

Among the respondents, 65 (60) percent have not experienced any foreign competition during the past year, though 32 (34) percent predict this competition to grow over the next 12 months. 11 (13) percent have experienced foreign competition on numerous occasions, whereas 24 (27) percent has experienced it occasionally.

Have you personally experienced competition from foreign consultants during the past 12 months?

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By country

Denmark Finland Norway Sweden
Yes, on many occasions 17,6% 15,9% 14,0% 9,7%
Yes, on a few occasions 26,4% 26,8% 29,9% 22,1%
No, never 56,1% 57,3% 56,1% 68,2%

By group

IT Technology Business development
Yes, on many occasions 14,3% 10,3% 7,4%
Yes, on a few occasions 24,4% 25,0% 20,3%
No, never 61,3% 64,7% 72,3%

Among the respondents, 65 (60) percent have not experienced any foreign competition during the past year, though 32 (34) percent predict this competition to grow over the next 12 months. 11 (13) percent have experienced foreign competition on numerous occasions, whereas 24 (27) percent has experienced it occasionally.

How do you anticipate the domestic competition to develop in the next 12 months?

Show numbers +

By country

Denmark Finland Norway Sweden
Decreases much 2,2% 0,7% 0,0% 0,9%
Decreases some 5,2% 7,4% 8,1% 5,1%
Unchanged 64,7% 58,1% 56,0% 65,5%
Increases some 25,7% 27,7% 33,0% 25,4%
Increases much 2,2% 6,1% 2,9% 3,1%

By group

IT/Telecoms Technology Business development
Decreases much 1,3% 0,2% 0,9%
Decreases some 5,9% 6,8% 4,0%
Unchanged 66,1% 62,1% 59,2%
Increases some 23,4% 26,8% 32,2%
Increases much 3,3% 4,0% 3,7%

The fear of domestic competition is continuously diminishing as 6.7 (6.0) percent expect it to decrease. In the present study 30 (33) percent of the consultants believe the domestic competition to increase within the next 12 months.

Flexibility

How long are you prepared to spend travelling for an assignment each day?

Show numbers +

By country

Denmark Finland Norway Sweden
< 1 hour 22,7% 25,0% 43,4% 34,7%
< 2 hours 46,7% 35,6% 37,4% 46,2%
< 3 hours 18,7% 18,1% 10,5% 12,1%
< 4 hours 4,7% 10,6% 3,7% 2,3%
> 4 hours 7,3% 10,6% 5,0% 4,8%

By group

IT/Telecoms Technology Business development
< 1 hour 35,9% 36,7% 26,6%
< 2 hours 45,7% 43,7% 43,8%
< 3 hours 12,2% 11,9% 14,9%
< 4 hours 2,5% 2,6% 4,6%
> 4 hours 3,7% 5,1% 10,5%

The mobility of consultants is in general good. But the consultants willing to spend 2 hours or more per day travelling for an assignment now comprises 66 percent, compared to 74 percent in the last survey. 83 (88) percent are willing to accept overnight stays and 67 (71) percent assignments abroad.

Are you willing to take on assignments involving regular overnight stays?

Show numbers +

By country

Denmark Finland Norway Sweden
Yes, one or two overnight stays per month 40,3% 35,0% 38,7% 46,4%
Yes, one or two overnight stays per week 30,2% 28,8% 26,6% 22,6%
Yes, all week 20,8% 28,1% 18,5% 12,2%
No 8,7% 8,1% 16,2% 18,8%

By group

IT/Telecoms Technology Business development
Yes, one or two overnight stays per month 43,1% 48,0% 43,8%
Yes, one or two overnight stays per week 24,1% 16,5% 31,5%
Yes, all week 14,2% 16,7% 14,1%
No 18,6% 18,8% 10,7%

Are you willing to take on assignments abroad on a regular basis?

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By country

Denmark Finland Norway Sweden
No 18,1% 24,5% 27,6% 36,6%
Yes, in my closest neighbouring country 11,4% 8,2% 2,7% 7,2%
Yes, anywhere in the Nordic region 16,1% 8,8% 11,3% 6,2%
Yes, in and outside the Nordic region 54,4% 58,5% 58,4% 50,0%

By group

IT/Telecoms Technology Business development
No 36,3% 31,2% 27,0%
Yes, in my closest neighbouring country 7,6% 7,7% 6,3%
Yes, anywhere in the Nordic region 7,2% 6,4% 8,0%
Yes, in and outside the Nordic region 48,9% 54,7% 58,7%

Drivers

Administrative respite a growing driver

Show numbers +

By country

Denmark Finland Norway Sweden
Work on interesting and stimulating assignments 2,32% 1,97% 2,21% 2,11%
Have control over how much I work 0,83% 0,58% 0,51% 0,81%
Have control over how much I earn 0,70% 0,47% 0,47% 0,53%
Have control over where I work 0,37% 0,32% 0,38% 0,41%
Reduce my administrative burden 0,01% 0,09% 0,06% 0,06%
Network with industry colleagues 0,14% 0,11% 0,26% 0,12%
Get help to increase capacity utilization 0,15% 0,24% 0,11% 0,16%
Work on profitable assignments 0,52% 0,91% 0,48% 0,41%
Get a good work/life balance 0,41% 0,40% 0,39% 0,56%
Get help to develop new business 0,18% 0,31% 0,25% 0,24%
Get the opportunity for skills development 0,33% 0,57% 0,70% 0,46%

By group

IT/Telecoms Technology Business development
Work on interesting and stimulating assignments 2,09% 2,11% 2,24%
Have control over how much I work 0,82% 0,61% 0,82%
Have control over how much I earn 0,60% 0,41% 0,50%
Have control over where I work 0,43% 0,42% 0,30%
Reduce my administrative burden 0,06% 0,07% 0,07%
Network with industry colleagues 0,11% 0,17% 0,13%
Get help to increase capacity utilization 0,14% 0,12% 0,24%
Work on profitable assignments 0,42% 0,48% 0,44%
Get a good work/life balance 0,52% 0,59% 0,45%
Get help to develop new business 0,23% 0,22% 0,26%
Get the opportunity for skills development 0,46% 0,61% 0,46%

The respondents were asked to rank the top-three aspects of the consultancy profession that they valued the most. The results then were converted into average ratings. The highest rated aspect "Interesting and stimulating assignments" received an average rating of 2.11 (1.25) of a total of 3.

Ranked as the second and third most important aspects of being a consultant were "Control over how much I work” and “Control how much I earn”.

The Role of the Consultant Broker

How important are consultant brokers for your ability to develop new business?

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By country

Denmark Finland Norway Sweden
Very important 27,7% 23,5% 18,8% 22,0%
Quite important 38,5% 36,0% 46,8% 32,3%
Unimportant 16,9% 20,3% 22,9% 27,8%
No experience 16,9% 20,3% 11,5% 17,9%

By group

IT/Telecommunications Technology Business development
Very important 26,4% 13,2% 20,4%
Quite important 35,6% 29,0% 35,8%
Unimportant 23,5% 33,6% 26,8%
No experience 14,5% 24,2% 17,0%

Comments

A majority of respondents consider that consultant brokers play an important role as 56 (63) percent feel that consultant brokers are quite or very important for their assignments. In this survey, 64 (63) percent have had personal experience of consultant brokers helping them to get an assignment. When asked in which areas a consultant broker is most useful, the top-three answers were “help to work interesting and stimulating assignments”, “help to develop new business” and “help to increase capacity utilization”.

Questions?

For questions or comments concerning this report, please contact:
Zoran Covic, President and CEO
+46 706 65 65 17
zoran.covic@eworkgroup.com

For questions about the report's implementation and additional results,
please contact Erik Eliason, Marketing Coordinator
+46 702 33 34 60
erik.eliason@eworkgroup.com