Middle Eastern Consulting Market: A Thriving Sector

Welcome back to our deep dive into the world’s consulting markets! After exploring the highly competitive North American market, we now turn our attention to the Middle East Consulting Market—a region that offers a fascinating contrast in many ways. This area, rich in culture and history, is rapidly evolving into a hub of economic innovation and diversification.

Indeed, the Middle East is undergoing an incredible transformation. As the region shifts away from its traditional reliance on oil revenues, consulting firms have become crucial players in shaping its future. These firms, known for their extensive knowledge and innovative strategies, are at the forefront of this change.

In contrast to the global trend of downsizing, the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries—Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the UAE, Qatar, Bahrain, and Oman—are experiencing robust growth. Driven by ambitious economic diversification plans and large-scale projects, the demand for consulting services in the GCC is expected to surge by 11% this year, pushing the market beyond the $6 billion mark.

Despite ongoing regional tensions and global economic pressures, the GCC consulting market has shown remarkable resilience. While mature markets like France and the UK see moderate growth, the GCC market expanded by 13.2% last year, reaching a valuation of $5.4 billion.

Dissecting the Major Markets

Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia stands as the largest consulting market in the GCC, experiencing a remarkable expansion of 18.2% in 2023 to reach $3.2 billion. The kingdom’s ambitious Vision 2030 initiative is a primary driver of this growth, spearheading massive projects like the $500 billion Neom city. This transformation aims to diversify the economy away from oil dependency and create new sectors, generating a high demand for consulting services in strategic planning, digital transformation, and infrastructure development.

United Arab Emirates

The UAE has also seen significant growth in its consulting market, with a 15.2% increase bringing the market to $1.1 billion. This growth is fuelled by ongoing strategic initiatives and infrastructural developments, including the expansion of tourism, finance, and real estate sectors. The UAE’s strategic position as a global business hub attracts consulting firms specializing in international business strategy, regulatory compliance, and innovative technology solutions.


Kuwait’s consulting market reflects steady economic development and diversification efforts, witnessing an 8.9% growth to total $315 million. With substantial investments in infrastructure and oil and gas projects, the demand for consulting services in project management, engineering, and environmental sustainability is rising. The country’s focus on public sector efficiency and digital government initiatives further drives the need for expert consulting support.

Bahrain and Oman

Bahrain’s consulting market expanded by 7.2% to $146 million, while Oman experienced a slight contraction, highlighting the nuanced economic activity across the region. Bahrain is focusing on financial services, tourism, and logistics, creating opportunities for consulting firms in these sectors. Oman, on the other hand, faces economic challenges but continues to invest in strategic initiatives aimed at economic diversification, requiring expertise in economic planning and public sector reform.


Post the 2022 FIFA World Cup, Qatar’s market saw a correction, decreasing by 9.8% to $445 million, aligning more closely with pre-event levels. However, the country remains committed to its National Vision 2030, which focuses on sustainable development and economic diversification. Consulting firms play a vital role in advising on infrastructure projects, environmental sustainability, and economic policy.

Beyond the GCC: Expanding Regional Influence


Strategically positioned between Europe and Asia, Turkey boasts a mature consulting market that caters to sectors such as financial services, energy, and manufacturing. The country’s unique geographic and economic position makes it a critical player in regional consulting, offering insights into cross-border trade, energy policy, and industrial growth.


Despite international sanctions, Iran’s local consulting market is growing, serving key sectors like oil, gas, and banking. The potential lifting of sanctions could open the door for increased global firm presence. Consulting firms focusing on regulatory compliance, market entry strategies, and sector-specific expertise are well-positioned to capitalize on this potential market expansion.


Driven by demands in infrastructure, energy, and financial services, Egypt’s market is burgeoning, with Cairo becoming a focal point for consulting in North Africa. The country’s strategic initiatives, such as the Suez Canal expansion and new administrative capital, require extensive consulting expertise in project management, urban planning, and financial advisory.

Lebanon and Jordan

Despite Lebanon’s political challenges, Beirut remains a consulting hub, particularly in financial services and technology. Jordan’s market, though small, is growing steadily, supported by development in healthcare and education. Consulting firms can provide critical support in these countries by offering strategic planning, organizational development, and sector-specific expertise.

Navigating the Consulting Landscape in the Middle East

The consulting landscape in the Middle East might be less mature, but it’s certainly not easier to navigate. Like any market, it comes with its opportunities and pitfalls.


The demand for management consulting services in the Middle East is substantial. Major development initiatives, such as Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030, have created significant opportunities for consulting firms. Top global players like Deloitte and PwC are expanding their presence, with Deloitte moving into Egypt and Jordan as part of its Middle East operations, and PwC signing agreements in Qatar to attract international investors and strengthen its regional position.

Interestingly, there’s a growing shift toward boutique firms. Historically, entities in the region, especially in the public sector of Saudi Arabia and the UAE, relied heavily on brand-name consulting firms. However, clients are beginning to understand that boutique firms can often deliver significant, sometimes greater, value compared to traditional large firms. These smaller firms offer specialized and tailored solutions that can be more flexible and innovative.


Navigating the regulatory environment in the Middle East can be quite challenging. Consulting firms must comply with various regulations, including obtaining licenses, adhering to labour laws, and meeting data protection requirements, all of which vary across countries. This complexity influences pricing strategies and operational decisions. Additionally, cross-border projects add further costs due to tariffs, customs duties, and trade barriers.

The business culture in the Middle East is heavily relationship-driven. Success often hinges on building strong personal connections and trust with clients. This cultural nuance means consulting firms need to invest considerable time and effort beyond professional engagements to understand clients’ values, customs, and decision-making processes. Moreover, firms aim to forge long-term partnerships rather than treating engagements as one-off projects.

Essential Strategies for Hiring Consulting Firms in the Middle East

Navigating the consulting market in the Middle East requires a strategic approach. Here’s how you can make the right choices and build effective partnerships.

Be Clear on Your Consulting Needs

First, be crystal clear about your project goals and requirements. This clarity will help you attract the right consulting firms that align with your strategic vision. Whether you go for a large global firm, a specialized boutique, or a local expert, knowing exactly what you need ensures you pick the best fit for your project.

Navigate Pricing

Pricing can be tricky here. Consulting firms often charge higher rates, and if you’re bringing in consultants from Europe or the US, travel and accommodation costs add up quickly. So, have open discussions about pricing structures with your consulting firm. Use pricing benchmarks from other regions to make sure you’re getting a fair deal, and don’t forget to factor in potential regulatory changes and currency fluctuations in your financial planning.

Foster Strong Relationships

In the Middle East, business is all about building strong personal connections and trust. To make this work for you, involve senior leaders from your organization in strategic decisions alongside your consultants. This ensures effective oversight. Also, bring in your procurement leaders to avoid bias and anchor the relationships at an institutional level, rather than purely personal. Finally, think long-term. Developing ongoing partnerships rather than treating engagements as one-off projects will ensure continuous support and deeper collaboration.

Your Guide to Top Consulting Firms in the Middle East

As we highlighted earlier, the Middle East is on the brink of a significant transformation as it works to diversify its economies. Renowned consulting firms are playing a vital role in this monumental shift. Consequently, many top consulting firms have established a presence in the region, competing for their share of the business. With so many options available, it can be challenging to pinpoint the most effective firms.

Generalist Players

These firms offer a broad range of consulting services across various industries and capabilities:

Arthur D. Little

Arthur D. Little is one of the oldest management consulting firms in the world, renowned for its work in innovation, R&D management, and digital transformation. They serve a broad range of industries including automotive, chemicals, consumer goods, energy, and healthcare.

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Bain & Company

Bain & Company is well-known for its broad consulting capabilities in areas such as private equity, mergers and acquisitions, and corporate strategy. They serve multiple industries including consumer products, financial services, healthcare, technology, and telecommunications.

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Boston Consulting Group (BCG)

BCG offers deep strategic advice across various sectors like consumer goods, healthcare, financial services, and technology. They are recognized for their work in digital transformation, innovation, and sustainability.

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Kearney is a global management consulting firm known for its work in strategic operations, procurement, and supply chain management across various industries. Their consulting services also extend to digital transformation and business strategy.

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L.E.K. Consulting

Specializing in strategy, mergers & acquisitions, and operations, L.E.K. Consulting serves a broad array of sectors including life sciences, retail, aviation, and private equity. Their insights help companies navigate critical challenges and seize opportunities.

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McKinsey & Company

McKinsey offers services across a wide array of industries including healthcare, finance, technology, and more. They focus on management and strategy consulting and are known for their rigorous analytical approach and broad industry expertise.

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Oliver Wyman

Oliver Wyman is a general management consulting firm with a wide industry footprint. They offer services in financial services, retail, aviation, and healthcare, with strong capabilities in risk management and strategy consulting.

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Roland Berger

Based in Europe but serving clients globally, Roland Berger offers strategic management consulting across multiple sectors like automotive, consumer goods, and engineering. They are known for their focus on innovation and digital transformation.

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Specialist Players

These firms focus on specific capabilities or industries:


AlixPartners specializes in turnaround, restructuring, and corporate advisory services for companies facing significant challenges or transformations. Their expertise is particularly valuable in high-stakes, urgent situations.

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Corporate Value Associates (CVA)

Corporate Value Associates (CVA) offers strategy consulting with a focus on value creation. They help businesses improve their strategic direction and operational efficiency to drive growth and profitability.

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FTI Consulting

FTI Consulting is known for its expertise in corporate finance and restructuring, economic consulting, forensic and litigation consulting, strategic communications, and technology. They handle high-stakes issues and complex investigations.

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Mars & Co.

Mars & Co. provides bespoke strategy consulting services. They offer tailored solutions to meet the unique needs of their clients, focusing on delivering high-impact results.

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OC&C Strategy Consultants

OC&C Strategy Consultants focuses on strategy consulting with a strong presence in retail and consumer goods. They help companies develop and implement strategies to achieve sustainable growth.

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PMP Strategy

PMP Strategy specializes in strategy consulting, particularly in France and the Middle East. They assist clients in navigating complex market environments and driving strategic initiatives.

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Redseer Strategy Consultants

Redseer Strategy Consultants focuses on emerging markets and the digital economy. They provide insights and strategies to help businesses succeed in fast-growing markets and digital landscapes.

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Shaldor is known for strategy and innovation consulting. They help organizations develop innovative strategies to stay competitive and drive growth.

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Simon-Kucher & Partners

Simon-Kucher & Partners specializes in pricing, sales, and marketing strategy. Their focus on these specific areas of strategy rather than a broad management or operational strategy across multiple domains also categorizes them as specialized.

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Strategic Gears

Strategic Gears specializes in strategy and performance improvement in the Middle East. They help organizations enhance their performance through effective strategy implementation and operational improvements.

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Strategy& (formerly Booz & Company)

Strategy& offers strategic and operational consulting with a focus on digital transformation. They help businesses adapt to the digital age and transform their operations.

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Teneo provides strategic communications and advisory services. They help organizations manage their reputations, navigate crises, and communicate effectively with stakeholders.

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ValuStrat focuses on strategy and real estate advisory services. They provide strategic insights and advisory services to help businesses maximize the value of their real estate assets.

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YCP Solidiance

YCP Solidiance specializes in strategy and management consulting in Asia and the Middle East. They provide strategic insights and operational support to help businesses succeed in these regions.

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Hybrid Players

These firms offer consulting services along with other professional services like IT, audit, and tax:


Known for digital transformation, technology, and operations services. Accenture helps businesses evolve by leveraging cutting-edge technology to improve operations, drive innovation, and enhance customer experiences.

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Specializes in design and consultancy for natural and built assets. Arcadis provides sustainable solutions for infrastructure, environmental projects, and urban development, helping clients create and manage built and natural environments.

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Avanade helps organizations with digital transformation and technology services. Avanade focuses on using Microsoft technologies to drive innovation and improve business performance.

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Offers consulting, technology services, and outsourcing. Capgemini integrates IT solutions with consulting services, particularly in digital transformation and technology.

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Primarily IT services with significant consulting capabilities. Cognizant helps businesses modernize technology, reimagine processes, and transform experiences to stay ahead in a fast-changing world.

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Crowe Global

Offers audit, tax, and advisory services with a global reach. Crowe Global provides tailored solutions to help clients build value, manage risks, and improve performance.

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Extensive range of services including consulting, audit, tax, and financial advisory. Deloitte is known for its comprehensive service offerings that help businesses solve complex challenges and achieve sustainable growth.

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Focuses on technology and innovation services. NTT Ltd. enables business transformation through technology, providing end-to-end solutions for IT infrastructure and services.

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Ernst & Young (EY)

Offers consulting, assurance, tax, and transaction services. EY helps businesses navigate their toughest challenges and build a better working world through strategic insights and innovative solutions.

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Glasgow Research & Consulting

Offers market research and strategic advisory services. Glasgow Research & Consulting provides in-depth market analysis and strategic advice to help businesses make informed decisions.


Provides management, technology, and risk consulting services. Guidehouse helps clients address their toughest challenges and navigate significant regulatory pressures through comprehensive consulting services.

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Provides digital services and solutions. Inetum (formerly Gfi) specializes in digital transformation, offering IT services and solutions to help businesses adapt to the digital age.

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Offers audit, tax, and advisory services with a strong consulting arm. KPMG provides integrated services that help businesses mitigate risks and seize opportunities in a dynamic market environment.

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Provides technology consulting and digital solutions. LTIMindtree enables enterprises to reimagine business models, accelerate innovation, and maximize growth through digital technologies.

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Orange Business Services

Provides end-to-end intelligent solutions and cloud services. Orange Business Services helps businesses turn data into true business assets, offering a range of digital solutions to enhance operational efficiency.

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Provides comprehensive consulting, audit, and tax services. PwC helps clients solve complex business problems, manage risks, and enhance performance through a wide range of professional services.

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Closing Thoughts

Consulting in the Middle East is in high demand. Unfortunately, the local market is struggling to provide the necessary talent, and companies often default to big-name firms like Deloitte and PwC. While these firms are reputable, they might not always be the best choice in terms of expertise or cost-effectiveness.

The secret sauce here is to be clear on your needs so you can work with the right firms, period. If you’re struggling, you can always call us to perform a custom search. After all, this is how we started Consulting Quest, and we have plenty of experience in the Middle East.

If you’re looking to explore the Middle Eastern consulting market further, visit Improveo.app for more insights and resources. We’re here to help you navigate this dynamic landscape and find the perfect consulting partner for your needs.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is driving the growth of the consulting market in the GCC?

The GCC consulting market is driven by ambitious economic diversification plans and large-scale projects, such as Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 and the UAE’s infrastructural developments. These initiatives require extensive consulting support in strategic planning, digital transformation, and infrastructure development.

Which are the major consulting markets within the GCC?

The major consulting markets within the GCC include Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Bahrain, and Qatar. Saudi Arabia and the UAE are particularly notable for their rapid growth and large-scale development projects.

How do boutique consulting firms compare to larger firms in the Middle East?

Boutique consulting firms often provide specialized and tailored solutions that can be more flexible and innovative compared to larger firms. Historically, entities in the region relied heavily on brand-name consulting firms, but there’s a growing shift towards boutique firms as clients recognize their significant value.

What challenges do consulting firms face in the Middle East?

Consulting firms face challenges such as navigating complex regulatory environments, complying with various country-specific regulations, and managing cross-border projects with additional costs. Building strong personal connections and trust with clients, a crucial aspect of the business culture in the Middle East, also requires significant time and effort.

How can organizations effectively manage consulting costs in the Middle East?

Organizations can effectively manage consulting costs by having open discussions about pricing structures, using pricing benchmarks from other regions, and considering potential regulatory changes and currency fluctuations. It’s also important to involve senior leaders and procurement experts in strategic decisions to ensure fair pricing and effective oversight.

Why is building strong relationships important for consulting success in the Middle East?

Building strong relationships is essential for consulting success in the Middle East because the business culture is heavily relationship-driven. Success often hinges on personal connections and trust, requiring consulting firms to invest in understanding clients’ values, customs, and decision-making processes. Developing long-term partnerships rather than treating engagements as one-off projects fosters continuous support and deeper collaboration.

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Helene Laffitte

Hélène Laffitte is the CEO of Consulting Quest, a Global Performance-Driven Consulting Platform. With a blend of experience in Procurement and Consulting, Hélène is passionate about helping Companies create more value through Consulting. To find out more, visit the blog or contact her directly.

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