(Bloomberg) -- Boston Consulting Group saw revenue growth slow to its lowest level in three years as the consulting sector continues to weather through weaker client demand.

Global revenue rose just 5% to $12.3 billion in 2023, the company said in a statement, citing “a complex macroeconomic context.” While that was a record haul, it compared with 6% growth in 2022 and a 28% jump in revenue in 2021.

The company’s global headcount increased by 2,000 employees, which is five times fewer than the number it added in 2022, when the entire consulting sector was benefiting from higher demand for its services. BCG now employs more than 32,000 people around the world.

The consulting industry has begun pulling back after the boom times of the pandemic spurred hiring sprees across the industry. Now, with higher interest rates blunting deal activity and creating economic uncertainty, BCG and its peers have scaled back hiring and sought to cut costs.

In the UK, job vacancies at McKinsey and Co., Bain & Co., BCG and Accenture Plc plummeted by more than 80% last year.

One bright spot for the broader industry has been a growing interest in artificial intelligence. BCG is betting on client demand for tech projects, including generative AI, to drive growth as businesses are looking for ways to boost productivity. 

“Demand for BCG accelerated in the second half of 2023 and has further accelerated in the first quarter of 2024,” said Christoph Schweizer, BCG’s chief executive officer. “GenAI is a strong driver of growth as clients need to move from experimentation to impact.”

BCG X, the company’s generative AI unit, now employs more than 3,000 tech experts. The company is also investing in internal AI tools to drive efficiency among its own consultants.

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