Report shows operating profit to be at record level

Operating profit per head is at its highest level among the top 20 design consultancies since 1991, according to a new survey.

Figures from accountant Willott Kingston Smith show operating profit per head at 10 000 for the last quarter. This represents real growth, with design groups keeping up with inflation, says WKS partner Amanda Merron.

Meanwhile, gross income per head has increased by 2 per cent, with a 2 per cent rise in employment costs per head to 38 482.

“This would suggest that consultancies are managing their business’s finances well and ensuring that any staff cost increases are linked to increases in gross income,” according to the Monitor report.

Non staff operating costs were reduced, while the proportion of gross income spent on salaries went unchanged. This suggests that the volume of work has increased while fixed costs have stayed the same, says Merron.

She expects growth to continue, as groups refine their offer. “Designers are trying to move their product up the food chain… [and to] have a more strategic role,” she says.

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