State of Consulting: Everything You Need to Know to Be a Better Consultant
Nearly every industry now has opportunities to serve in a consulting capacity due to the ongoing need for experience and knowledge as well as motivation and productivity that an organization is struggling to capture from employees and the current processes they are using. A consultant is an outsider who can often see what those inside the organization cannot because they are too involved in the daily operations to notice certain details. With the need to quickly fix these issues, consultants are in more demand than ever to serve in a temporary capacity.
Types of Consulting Job Opportunities
There are specific consulting jobs across all industries that are promising current and future career options, including management consulting and information technology consulting.
Management consultants serve in an advisory role for all types of businesses – from startups and multinational corporations to public, private, and nonprofit. A management consultant looks at specific areas in the organization to determine where there is room for improvement. That includes areas like organizational design, strategy, marketing, logistics, information technology and talent. Recommendations are made in terms of changing processes, platforms, and models to better align with the external and internal threats, challenges, strengths and opportunities.
A 2014 infographic from 9Lenses provides an outlook on the current and future management consulting industry. As of 2014, there were approximately 788,038 management consultants in the U.S. From 2012 to 2022, this number is set to grow by 19%. Interestingly, the majority of consultants see this type of job as temporary, using it as a springboard for a full-time company position or as a career transition.
According to this infographic, 61% of consultants only remain in this career for up to fie years while 28% work as consultants from give to fifteen years. Only 11% remain consultants for over 15 years. This is despite the fact that salaries range from $72,000 to $141,000 and the number of people actually accepted into consulting jobs is small in relation to the applicants. For example, the research gathered by 9Lenses found that, of 2,000 applicants for positions in a major consulting firm, only eight received offers.
When it comes to IT consulting, Global Industry Analysts, Inc. estimates that it will become a global market of $255 billion in 2015. The report noted some of the key drivers for this increasing size:
Growth is now driven by factors such as a strong natural demand, increased role of off shoring and globalization, shortage of talent in the advanced countries, and the superiority of offshore labor market.
Additionally, the launch of numerous new disruptive technologies puts many organizations in the position where they would need an IT consultant to determine which new technologies would be effective for their needs. This means an IT consultant has a real advantage when they expand their own expertise and knowledge to include areas like cloud computing, analytics and Big Data, security, infrastructure and mobility to be of the greatest value to other organizations.
According to PayScale, IT consultants can earn between $44,819 and $113,691 and average $72,000 per year, depending on the level of experience and area of the country. Those that operate their own IT consulting firms can expect to make even more, depending on the number of organizations that hire them.
There are numerous other niche consulting career opportunities, including financial services, Human Resources, environmental, engineering, education and marketing just to name a few. Each consulting area has their own skill sets, salaries, and outlooks in terms of challenges and opportunities.
Build a Better Consulting Business
With these opportunities in all aspects of consulting here and in the future, it is important to make sure that you build a better consulting business to make the most of a bright future. That involves a lot of processes and components, but fortunately today’s business environment offers a significant number of tools to make it as easy and efficient as possible.
More consultants are realizing that they must have a Web presence regardless of the business segment they serve. Offering an online presence through a website and social media channels is a way for consultants to find and connect with their customers, offering valuable advice as a thought leader and showcasing their skills. Of course, consulting is still a face-to-face business, so it’s about balancing technology with personal relationship building.
Even if a consultant does not have these skills or experience, they can take advantage of numerous tools, such as Wix for a free website, Searchmetrics for SEO and digital content strategies, and Hootsuite for scheduling and managing all social media accounts.
Other online tools like Wrike provide an excellent way to track progress on various projects and client work, offering collaborative processes for everyone involved, including consulting staff and clients. Along with tracking time and projects, billing is an essential part of the consultation process even if a retainer payment model is used. From software that helps create agreements and contracts that include payment terms to online invoicing solutions like Due.com, this is a critical aspect of building a sustainable consulting business.
For more information on getting a consulting job or starting your own practice, be sure to check out our consulting business guide.