Being a consultant is a career choice that has seen a dramatic increase over recent years. According to Forbes, global management consulting is expected to exceed a trillion dollars before 2026. However, if you’re new to the business world, the term ‘consultancy’ might be unclear. So, what is consultancy, what are its benefits, and could it be the right career choice for you?
By Cara Fielder. Published 27 November 2023.
What is a consultant?
To simplify the term, a consultant is a specialist who provides professional advice in a specific subject or field. You could work solo, for a consultancy firm or as an in-house consultant.
Who can be a consultant?
Technically, any of us could wake up tomorrow and decide to become a consultant in an area we feel we excel. However, that doesn’t mean we would get any work. To thrive as a consultant, you need experience that allows you to prove your expertise and the relevant qualifications.
What sectors use consultants?
The consultancy industry is incredibly varied, and thanks to that it’s a viable career choice across many sectors. However, it’s most common within business management, change management, HR (especially within smaller businesses that don’t legally require full-time HR employees), environmental, IT, sales, research, operations, compliance, strategy, policy and more.
Why do businesses need consultants?
There are lots of reasons a business might need a consultant, including:
- Easing the stress of running a small business alone
- An external and objective eye can sometimes see issues with new clarity and make tough decisions.
- A company can specify the services needed, when they need them and save on a full-time permanent employee.
- Industry knowledge. A good consultant will know a lot about an industry as a whole, rather than one business, allowing them to advise on what has worked elsewhere and why.
- Current trends. Consultants have to keep up with trends and strategies, which can be useful if a business is stuck in an old structure.
Top 10 perks of being a consultant
Before you consider a career in consultancy, you’re going to want to understand the highs and potential lows. Let’s look at the perks of being a consultant.
- Explore your options - If you’re unsure of where or what area you want to work in, consulting allows you to learn and explore.
- See your impact - If you’re employed to advise in a certain area and resolve a specific issue, there is a lot of satisfaction in seeing that work completed.
- Increased earning potential – Companies can pay very well for expertise, especially in areas such as management consulting. As a consultant, your expenses are often covered too, so you can save on food, travel and accommodation.
- Boost your experience and CV quickly – For those thinking of consultancy as a temporary option, it can be a great way to gain wide experience and boost that CV quickly.
- A great option for those who get bored easily – Consulting jobs often last for a few weeks to several months. This is perfect for someone who doesn’t like staying in one place for too long.
- Travel – Depending on your perspective, travel can be a blessing or a curse. For those without commitments to a certain place, consultancy can be a great way to travel the country or the world.
- Build a vast business network – The more places you work, the more you get to network and build your reputation. This can be incredibly useful for the future of your career, no matter the path you take.
- Continuous learning and improvement – As a consultant, you will constantly be learning as you move from business to business. This allows your knowledge to stay current and in demand.
- Perfect your presentation skills – If the idea of presentations and public speaking gives you good vibes instead of nervous butterflies, you’ll thrive as a consultant. Prepare to explain your ideas to high-level business professionals and justify them with examples, analytics and projections.
- Flexibility – Due to the nature of consultancy, you can agree on the requirements of the position in advance. Many roles are fully remote or only required part-time, allowing you to take on other roles or balance other commitments. However, if you’re on a high wage and are working to a tight deadline, expect to put in those extra hours as needed.
If you’re considering a career in consultancy, our business courses can help.