The coronavirus pandemic is causing big consulting companies, such as McKinsey & Co., Boston Consulting Group, and Accenture, to push back start dates for new hires. The pandemic has reduced demand for consulting, so companies do not have a lot of work currently for their new hires, and they are unwilling to make their new hires move to big cities, such as New York City, at the moment. Also, many of the new hires live in other countries and would be prevented by travel bans or visa issues from moving to the US soon.
Due to social distancing procedures and stay at home orders, half of the American workforce is currently working from home. During this time, many companies and people are realizing that they can work well from home. Social distancing requirements that will be in place for the upcoming future make the plans to return to the workplace uncertain, and there will be companies who fully transition to working remotely.
It is understandable that the scale of large consulting groups and the size of the incoming class of new hires make it difficult for the companies to adjust to the changes brought about by coronavirus. However, efforts to onboard the new hiring class remotely could alleviate financial pressures these people face at not being able to start work when they anticipated, and the pressure of moving to a new city during the pandemic. Other large companies, such as Facebook and Google, have prolonged their work-from-home policies into late 2020.
The coronavirus pandemic has impacted the consulting industry by reducing demand for new projects and shifting the demand for the type of projects that consultants will work on. Embracing a work-from-home model for the near future could help these large companies be more flexible and adjust better to the changing demands of the industry. The sheer number of new hires (3,000 in the case of KPMG) can make this daunting for large companies, in a way that it does not for smaller boutique firms. During such uncertain times it is advantageous to be able to adapt quickly to changing circumstances and ways of working in order to provide exceptional service to clients, despite new challenges.
The reshaping of the consulting industry with regards to new hires is just one of the many effects that coronavirus has had on the job market, especially for students that graduated in May 2020. Time will tell whether these changes, and companies’ solutions to new challenges, are temporary, or if the effects of coronavirus on the consulting industry will be long term.