The Macron effect

Since his election in May 2017, French president Emmanuel Macron has set about implementing his populist reform agenda for both the public sector and the labour code—neither of which are simple or easy tasks in France.

Whether you agree with his politics and his policies is up to you, but two things consultants we spoke with in France agreed on were that the consulting market in France was on the rise last year and that Macron’s government played a key role in that growth.

The decisive victory for both the man and his party in the presidential and parliamentary elections not only altered France’s political landscape, but also changed its business environment and the consulting market. And while the previous administration, under François Hollande, may have started the ball rolling with its 2016 tax cuts, the rate of spending by companies and investors alike quickly accelerated under Macron’s government as it took the first steps in reforming taxation and labour laws.

As business leaders became more confident, so the desire to embark on major transformation programmes became irresistible, and the phones to consultants started ringing. While some of this transformation work has revolved around efficiency drives and cost-cutting initiatives, an increasing number of clients are looking for opportunities to stimulate growth. This is particularly evident among France’s mid-sized companies, many of whom have started to enact ambitious plans for domestic and international expansion, often with consultants supporting them every step of the way.

But while the rise in the number of opportunities is great news for consultants, it isn’t without its challenges: Consultants are not only expected to be ahead of their own clients in bringing cutting-edge thinking to the table—something that’s becoming increasingly difficult—but to deliver end-to-end services, all the way from concept to implementation. Firms that can deliver on both attributes, and do so at speed, will be able to gorge themselves on the feast of opportunities presenting themselves in France, but those that cannot will likely be fighting for the scraps.