2022 Sector Outlook

People and technology strategies lead the way in 2022

View our 2023 sector outlook for professional services

Professional Services outlook

Professional Services firms are now rethinking the way they relate to their people, the way they relate to clients and continue to look to future proof to reflect the way people want to work.

With technology adoptions moving at pace, helping to shape progressive strategies means an entirely new landscape of possibility and opportunity.

Watch our sector experts discuss the key trends facing the professional services sector in the near future, including the rise of the mobile workforce and the importance of attracting talent from diverse backgrounds.

[Ray Dempsey – Group Chief Diversity Officer, Barclays]

The experience of the last 20 months or so has told us that many of the things that we used to believe about the way we worked, the way we collaborated, the way that we sought input and ideas can be done in a very different way.

And with that true, the role and the impact of professional services firms to help shape strategies, to help build ideas and then to help implement change and progress in organisations means an entirely new landscape of possibility and opportunity.

[Segun Osuntokun – Partner in Charge, UK, Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner]

Coming out of the pandemic I think the most pressing challenges and I think opportunities for professional services firms, law firms like ourselves, are myriad.

You've got a workforce that is increasingly mobile, I think we've all heard about the shortages of talent and the war for talent, quite frankly in the legal services profession.

So, it is how to remodel our business models really, to put ourselves in the best place to be attractive to talent.

It's more than just compensation, it goes to the values we espouse as professional services firms.

So, I think it gives us an opportunity to rethink the way we relate to our people, the way we relate to clients and to look to future proof our firms to reflect the way people want to work.

[Lubna Shuja – Vice President, Law Society of England and Wales]

Covid 19 has highlighted a number of challenges.

One of those is that there has been an issue with the gender pay gap and the other problem that we've seen is that people from diverse backgrounds have particularly suffered during the pandemic.

We've moved forward on the technological front in ways that we never could have envisioned before the pandemic happened.

But it's also had a negative impact in the sense that we have many vulnerable clients who have struggled to use technology.

Those are matters that we still need to address and make sure are addressed going forward.

[James Morris – Managing Director, Barclays]

So, ESG is without doubt one of the key subject areas that all firms and companies are dealing with. It’s no different in professional services.

I think the sector is slightly behind and needs to catch up, but is working hard to do that.

We think, it's just a great area to level with all our stakeholders because it's not about trying to buy or sell products or solutions.

It's a real societal issue as well that we all need to address and lock in on.

So, we think, our advice would be to really get out there, start the debate and learn and go on the journey because it's exciting and it's really important.

[Tony Williams - Principal, Jomati Consultants LLP, Visiting Professor, The University of Law and SRA Board member]

When firms are looking at their resilience if you like going forward, we have had a difficult 18 months.

But actually, they've come through that very well.

But I think that experience actually did make people do more planning, more thinking about their business, understanding the drivers of their business, understanding the fragility of their business, understanding the cashflow implications of certain things.

So, I don't think you can ever be complacent, you're never totally prepared because you never know exactly what's going to happen.

But I think there is now a level of resilience within most businesses and a level of recognition that leadership have to have a range of plans in their top drawer and have to be prepared to execute them when the trigger events occur.

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