Types of Consultant Jobs
This guide is designed to explain what ‘consulting’ is in general, as well as what the most common types of consulting roles are. It might help you plot your own career trajectory, or even help you decide what kinds of consultants to hire for your own business projects.
What is consulting?
At its core, ‘consulting’ is using your expert knowledge and practical experience to help a client. This could be through answering specific questions they may have, recommending or helping with the implementation of specific types of technology or business solutions, or advising on how a particularly difficult issue should be handled.
A client (or a client company) might bring in one or more consultants for a very short time to answer a few specific questions or to advise on the handling of very specific issues, but they might also be retained for long periods to ensure the company’s growth in certain areas, to oversee or monitor the development of long term projects, or to study the results of one project before advising on the design and management of the next.
If that sounds vague, that’s because it is! Each major type of consultant has a different ‘job’, and performs very different tasks for their clients. We’ve selected 14 of the most common (and most sought-after) types of consultants, and explained each in more detail below.
What are the most common types of consultant jobs?
What is a business consultant?
Business consultants go by many names, they are called ‘business advisors’, ‘business counsellors’, or ‘specialists’, ‘guides’ and ‘experts’ in any one of their specialty fields. In fact, ‘business consultant’ is often an umbrella term for any of the more specialised consultancy types we’ll explore in this article. What you do as a business consultant depends on what precisely your client needs, or put another way, the clients you take on will depend highly upon your unique skill set and expertise.
One business consultant may begin their career helping an organisation prepare and release a new product line, and find themselves taking in more and more projects that define them as product management specialists. Another business consultant might find themselves overseeing the restructuring of a business’ management structure several times in their early career, and end up becoming more of a management consultant. Still another consultant might develop a very wide-ranging set of experiences and expertise, and become an operations consultant in all but name.
Your duties as a business consultant are likely to involve things like discovering new financial approaches to improve a company’s profitability, discovering or researching new markets into which the business can expand, researching the latest business, technological or economic trends in order to predict how they will develop, developing business relations with other experts and consultants, especially those specialising in IT and HR, liaising between the business and its key customers to improve service and align processes, developing presentations and workshops to explain and promulgate new policies and skills, testing and monitoring new business applications or solutions, and creating in-depth analyses and reports of the effectiveness of such tasks.
What qualifications and experience will a business consultant need to thrive?
Any business-experienced person can become a business consultant later in their career. In terms of prior work experience, a common route to prepare for a career as a business advisor or consultant is to spend a few years working in a management or leadership role in a specific industry.
However, it is more common to come to business consulting after graduating university with at least a business degree. A specialism or certification in management, accounting or financial services will also be helpful.
No matter how you get them, your skill set should include data modelling, visualisation and communication, business administration, ROI analysis, market analysis, research and development, the rebalancing of debts and investment portfolios and similar tasks.
What does business consulting pay?
Like most consulting specialties, business consultants can expect to earn somewhere between £18,000 and £25,000 per year at the beginning of their careers. Mid-career business consultants might make between £40,000 and £45,000 per year. Most take on a more specific type of consultant title before attaining the highest levels of seniority.
What is a management consultant?
Management consultants are called upon to train existing management teams in new techniques, to help company management develop new in-house skills and expertise, or to oversee the reorganisation of a workplace or business. They must be experts at business generally, as well as in the specific area they have been called in to address.
Management consultants are often called in as part of a consultancy firm, and could be asked to address nearly any aspect of a client business. Individual management consultants are also very common, though they are more often seen as narrow-field experts brought in to focus on one specific problem, and resolving it with the help of their ‘outsider’s perspective’.
Management consultants of either type might be tasked with improving employee morale or changing working conditions to make employees happier, giving mid or upper-level managers the skills and tools they need to handle a new type of department or process, or simply seeking out process inefficiencies and drawing up a report on them, with the aim of allowing the company to ‘clean house’ on their own, and eliminating as many of those inefficiencies as possible.
The end result, however, will generally be improving the efficiency, operational effectiveness and general profitability of the client company.
What qualifications and experience will a management consultant need to thrive?
It is not generally required that you have experience working in business management to become an entry-level management consultant. It is often enough to have a university-level management degree or certification. Others go from a baccalaureate or graduate level business course into a consultancy-based graduate training scheme or an apprenticeship.
If you do have extensive management experience, especially if it is in a wide range of contexts, you might be able to land such a role simply by applying to a management or general business consultancy.
What does management consulting pay?
Salaries for beginner management consultants that work as a part of a consultancy firm rarely top £25,000 (as of 2022). However, the most experienced management consultants working today earn £60,000 per year or more. Beyond that, many management consultants seek to open their own consultancy firms or become a partner in an existing firm. Those who do so successfully can earn substantially more.
What is a cybersecurity consultant?
A cybersecurity consultant can perform many different tasks for their clients. Primarily, they are called upon to protect a client company’s data, key systems and trade secrets form cyber-attacks and remote network intrusion. However, they may go about this in a wide range of ways, depending on the industry of their client company, the nature of the suspected threat, and the sophistication of the company’s existing security.
A cybersecurity consultant might be hired to identify specific security flaws, to determine what failed and when after a successful cyber-attack, to evaluate or perform ‘penetration testing’ on an existing secure network, or to estimate the type and severity of the threats facing the company.
As a cybersecurity consultant, you might choose to specialise in detecting, ameliorating and preparing for disaster or deliberate attack, detecting suspicious cyber-activity or spotting attacks in time to deal with them effectively, or responding to attacks and network penetrations as they are happening.
In fact, you might not even be called a ‘cybersecurity consultant’. Other common titles for the same role include ‘database security consultant’, ‘IT consultant’, ‘network security consultant’, ‘computer security consultant’, ‘or simply ‘security consultant’.
What qualifications and experience will a cybersecurity consultant need to thrive?
To work on government projects in this field, of which there are many, you will typically need to pass your country’s version of security vetting. In the UK, this could consist of a Counter-Terrorist Check, a Security Check and / or Developed Vetting.
A cybersecurity consultant is unusual for a ‘tech role’, as it requires both a strong technical background and very sharp interpersonal skills. Many of the biggest threats to network and data security are very low tech indeed – so called ‘social engineering’ threats are behind more successful data breaches than actual ‘hacking’ attempts.
Many cybersecurity consultants move into the role after gaining a BS or MS degree in IT or computing and then working in the field for a few years. Others have decades of practical experience working in computer security, and can work credibly in the field even without a degree of any kind.
What does cybersecurity consulting pay?
A cybersecurity consultant, a cyber intelligence officer, or a similar role can earn £25,000 on average in the beginning of your career, moving up to around £50,000 p.a. for senior level roles.
What is a legal consultant?
Legal consultants are also often called Legal Advisors. A legal consultant is usually a professional in the field of business law. This will not always make them a practicing solicitor, but they will almost always have legal training in addition to business training or experience.
Legal consultants are highly likely to specialise in increasingly narrow areas of the law, business, and the intersection of the two. As they transition for generalists to more and more specialised experts, they can expect their fees or salaries to rise.
A legal consultant often finds themselves leading expert advice on issues like regulatory compliance, tax compliance and the interpretation of either new laws that will soon affect their area of business, or existing laws that will govern an area into which they hope to move.
Other common tasks for legal consultants include overlooking and approving contracts, conducting specific legal research, drafting documents of many different kinds, providing litigation, mediation or arbitration services or advising on the probable outcome of court cases.
Often times, a company will hire a legal consultant when they do not have any internal legal staff, or when their legal people are not expert in a particular area or issue with which they need help.
What qualifications and experience will a legal consultant need to thrive?
As we mentioned, not all legal consultants are actually lawyers. Though the traditional Law School route is very popular, it is also possible to be taken seriously as a legal consultant with a Level 6 Professional Higher Diploma in Law and Practice and/or a Level 3 Professional Diploma in Law and Practice.
It is also possible to become a legal consultant after graduating from university and entering into a legal firm or company’s Graduate Training Scheme or equivalent.
No matter what kind of qualification you receive, you might consider entering into the career by joining an apprenticeship with a law firm that does a great deal of legal consultation work. One common pathway is to complete a Paralegal Apprenticeship, and then a Chartered legal Executive higher Apprenticeship.
Of course, those studying to become a legal consultant outside the UK will have to check the equivalent qualifications in their own country.
What does legal consulting pay?
A legal consultant, a legal advisor, or a similar role can earn around £19,000 p.a. to start. Those who rise to a senior level in the field can expect to make around £60,000 p.a., on average.
Financial Advisory Consultant
What is a financial advisory consultant?
A financial advisory consultant, financial consultant (or, when working for individuals, a financial planner or wealth manager), offers advice and support on financial matters. That often means helping individuals and organisations choose investments that meet their risk/return needs, ensure that they have enough liquid or semi-liquid assets to hand to deal with emergencies, and finding the right financial instruments and products for their other needs.
Financial advisory consultants who work for businesses and other organisations may also review the organisation’s past financial history (typically via its historical budgets, fiscal reports and tax records), looking for areas that could do with improvement. That might mean finding loss-making parts of their financial setup or it might mean suggesting all new fiscal structures which better suit their changing financial needs as a company. In the end, most of your efforts will be focused on improving the efficiency and profitability of their financial set-up, as the value of a financial consultant is often measured by simple ROI – that is, if you make them substantially more profit than they actually pay you, you are a good financial consultant.
What qualifications and experience will a financial advisory consultant need to thrive?
Any type of financial expert can go into consulting, later in their career, but many enter the field after attending university and attaining a business degree specialising in management, accounting or financial services. It is also advisable to attend an apprenticeship in the industry before ‘hanging your shingle’ as an advisor, or attempting to join a financial consultancy firm.
In terms of prior work experience, a common route to prepare for a career as a financial advisor or consultant is to attain a Level 4 Qualification in Financial Advice (or the equivalent overseas qualification), and spend a few years working as a customer services advisor in one or more banks.
To work in the UK, you will also need to register with the Financial Conduct Authority as an ‘approved person’.
What does financial advisory consulting pay?
Salaries for early-career financial advisory consultants average around £23,500 as of 2022. However, more experienced financial advisory consultants can earn £45,000 per year or more. The most senior (or most effective) financial consultants may open their own consultancy firms or become a partner in an existing firm. This can lead to a much higher annual earnings profile indeed.
What is an HR consultant?
An HR (Human Resources) consultant typically either advises large corporate clients or other similarly sized organisations as to the organisation, operation and compliance of their existing HR departments, or lends support on specific ‘human capital’ questions directly. They might advise on employee pension and retirement issues, ‘talent management’, training and development, contracts and terms of employment, organisational change or change management issues, etc. Other HR consultants specialise in managing ‘culture change’, changing either the organisational culture as a whole, the working culture within an HR department, or issues in organisational design or architecture.
Other HR consultants may be brought in to essentially duplicate the role of a human resources officer for a short time, especially when a small or medium-sized organisation faces an HR issue that they cannot deal with internally, but is not financially or otherwise prepared to bring in a permanent HR officer.
HR consulting is a relatively small segment of the consulting market in Europe and the UK, but many believe this is set to grow quickly. At the moment, it might be challenging to find a lucrative role in and HR consulting firm. On the positive side, a smaller pool of HR consultants makes it easier for those with real ‘star potential’ to stand out from the crowd.
What qualifications and experience will an HR consultant need to thrive?
Though some people become HR consultants simply by garnering years or decades of experience working in high-level HR roles, it is more common for new HR consultants to come out of university or college degree programs, like as not followed by an apprenticeship or a training course run by a recognised professional body.
Suitable apprenticeships include the Senior People Professional Degree Apprenticeship and the Human Resources Consultant Partner Higher Apprenticeship.
College and university majors leading to HR careers include economics, psychology, business management or human resources management, or a combination of 2 or more. In the UK, courses or certifications accredited by the CIPD (Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development) are strongly preferred.
What does HR consulting pay?
If you gain a role as an HR consultant, a consulting HR officer, or a similar role, you can expect to earn around £18,000 on average during the early phase of your career. A more experienced HR consultant could eventually earn around £40,000 per year working in a suitable consultancy firm.
What is an IT consultant?
IT consultants are also called ‘digital consultants’, ‘ICT consultants’ and ‘technology consultants’. Despite the many names, there are substantial similarities between all of these roles. Most focus on a fairly narrow band of tasks: helping your client organisation either develop or adapt and implement different types of computer, communication and IT technology to work will within their business.
Whereas traditional IT employees work on ‘business as usual’ IT projects within many organisations, IT consultants are typically brought in as external experts in one or more crucial new systems, architectures or approaches in order to oversee or manage a ‘transition’. In this context, a transition is the same kind of project any other consultant might oversee, though it usually involves moving everyone on a particular team or even a whole organisation on to a new way of doing things – a new programme, a new device or a new business technology solution.
An IT consultant might offer advice or support on improving internal communications or collaboration applications, overhauling a company’s IT network, the installation of new computer or tech systems, the repair or upgrading of older systems, or on ensuring that the company’s data and network access is thoroughly protected from hackers, social engineers and other ‘bad actors’.
As already mentioned, IT consultants tend to be highly specialised, even more so than other types of consultants. An IT consultant might easily develop more than one specialty, in fact. The most in-demand specialties for IT consultants today include IT forensics, cyber security, data analytics (also called data science), and digital transformation.
What qualifications and experience will an IT consultant need to thrive?
Like many other types of consultation work, one can approach IT consulting in many different ways. Some go into consulting after amassing many years of corporate IT department experience. Most, however, go into IT consulting only after attending a university course in computing or information systems, often with a minor or lesser certification in business management or project management. A project management apprenticeship or a specific higher degree IT apprenticeship may also be a huge boost to your early career employability.
In all cases, professional bodies like the Project Management Institute or the Association for Project Management (for UK consultants) will be a big help in choosing certifications, training programmes or degrees.
What does IT consulting pay
Like all consulting roles, the pay you can expect as an IT consultant varies highly from specialty to specialty and from location to location, as well as with experience. A beginning level IT consultant might make as much as £34,000 per year in cities like London, where the majority of that kind of work can be found. At the most senior levels, IT consultants often make £60,000 per year, and sometimes more.
What is an operations consultant?
An operations consultant can specialise in either hands-on support or advice or monitoring of many types of ‘operational issues’. These include primary business functions like production, marketing or sales, as well as more secondary concerns like legal/compliance, ICT, the supply chain, HR or finance.
In some views, operations consultants are simply more ‘generalist’ versions of the other consultancy specialties in this list. However, what sets operations consultants apart is not their generalism but their ability to see how these different specialties interact and feed each other, both in well-functioning and in struggling businesses. As such, the most successful operations consultants are also well-versed in working closely with business strategists and technology specialists, be they experts within their client companies or outside experts and consultants.
Even so, operations consultants do specialise, and those with specific experience in international transportation, international logistics and international supply chains are in high demand right now, both across Europe and all over the world.
What qualifications and experience will an operations consultant need to thrive?
Operations consulting requires a broad range of skills, so it is not surprising that it can be approached via many different routes. Some, of course, branch off into consulting after working in operations for many years as an employee and an executive. Work experience should include stints in IT, project management, HR, finance and/or business management.
The majority of new operations consultants enter the field with a university degree in business, often specialising in project management, finance, maths or one or more sciences. Graduate level degrees, such as the classic MBA or something more specialised, are a great aid to early-career employability. Junior management Consultant Apprenticeships are also a good choice, if available.
A project management apprenticeship or a specific higher degree IT apprenticeship may also be a huge boost to your early career employability.
In all cases, professional bodies like the Project Management Institute or the Association for Project Management (for UK consultants) will be a big help in choosing certifications, training programmes or degrees.
What does operations consulting pay?
Beginning salaries for operations consultants average around £25,000 right now. However, more experienced operational consultants can earn £60,000 per year or more. To top that, you will have to set your sights on becoming a partner in a successful operations consulting firm, or branching out on your own.
What is an energy consultant?
As industries all over the world consider the shift to renewable energy sources, and less dependence on imported energy supplies, energy consultants and other energy experts of all kinds are in high demand.
As an energy consultant, you might find yourself helping a business make more efficient use of their most expensive energy options, improve the efficiency of their energy-using systems, or researching upcoming energy trends so their strategists can prepare for future energy developments. Alternatively, you might find yourself with a more public-facing role, exploring green energy options or ways to reduce the company’s carbon footprint to appear more ecologically friendly than, perhaps, they really are.
In addition, more than a few energy consultants now advise individuals or groups of individuals, especially homeowners, on ways they can reduce their energy bills. Those working for individuals rather than companies may have a more flexible career pathway.
Day-to-day responsibilities of many energy consultants include developing and maintaining business relationships with energy providers, mapping and analysing the flow of energy through the organisation, seeking inefficiencies and redundancies, planning new energy systems and even whole new buildings and factories with an eye towards sustainability and efficiency, developing workable renewable energy plans and policies, assessing the practicality of switching to renewable energy sources, auditing current and past energy uses, researching the demand and/or receptivity of the company’s markets to paying more for ‘greener’ or ‘more sustainable’ goods and services, and writing succinct, executive-friendly reports of your actions and findings.
What qualifications and experience will an energy consultant need to thrive?
An energy consultant will need a wide range of skills to be successful. These include both traditional and ‘big data analytics’ research, the ability to manage small and large projects effectively, organisational skills, data visualisation and presentation skills, communication skills (both business- and customer-facing), creative and inductive problem solving and a solid understanding of energy systems engineering concerns.
Beginning energy consultants will need at least a Baccalaureate-level degree in an engineering or environmental specialty (ideally both), though a graduate degree is generally preferred. Gaining additional technical or business accreditations through organisations like the RPEC, the CIBSE or BREEAM are also very well-regarded.
What does energy consulting pay?
In your early career as an energy consultant, you might earn anywhere between£22,000 and £27,000 per year, depending on your qualifications and where you are located. As a more senior energy consultant, you might earn as much as £50,000.
What is a recruitment consultant?
As you might expect from the name, a recruitment consultant helps their client company improve their recruitment function. This could mean doing hands-on work helping a start-up get the specific people they need (a specialty often called talent management), seeking out people with key skills or abilities for the company, or revising the company’s entire recruitment strategy for better results, lower costs, better regulatory compliance or any other set of targets.
A recruitment consultant should be very computer literate, as most of the work you’ll do will involve these systems. You must have strong people skills, and be able to handle stressful interactions well. The ability to work unsupervised and all but in-supported is key, as is the ability to work closely with others when required. You should also have good business administration skills and a thorough knowledge of employment law and HR practices in the jurisdiction in which you work.
On a a day-to-day level, a recruitment consultant might find themselves headhunting specific ‘rockstar’ executives from other companies, managing the record-keeping systems for a client’s recruitment functions, working to meet specific recruitment targets, screening candidates for ‘shortlists’, creating testing procedures for hopeful job seekers, or actually interviewing potential new employers at any level.
What qualifications and experience will a recruitment consultant need to thrive?
Recruitment consulting requires many different skills. As such, there are many different ways to prepare yourself for a career in this field.
The long route is to work in as many different mid- and high-level recruitment roles as you can and build up the skills you need to do the work. If you already have 5-10 years in the field, you might only need a few certifications (which you might already have) to be taken seriously.
However, most people who become recruitment consultants do so via the short route – though this still takes a few years to achieve. First, you should gain a university degree in business, often specialising in human resources, management, and possibly project management. Graduate level degrees like an MBA will boost your employability substantially.
Seeking out a relevant apprenticeship or professionally-approved certification scheme is a good addition for either route.
What does recruitment consulting pay?
Early in your career, you might only be earning around £16,000 per year, though this tends to be slightly higher in larger, more expensive markets like London. By the time you’ve achieved a moderate level of seniority and experience, you might be making £40,000 per year.
As is the case with most types of consulting work, the highest levels of compensation are had by the owners or partners in recruitment firms.
What is an environmental consultant?
An environmental consultant is an expert in human impact on the natural environment, and in balancing minimal or sustainable development with the need to protect and preserve the environment. Businesses, government bodies and other kinds of decision-makers often turn to environmental consultants and other experts in this field to help them navigate both the complex requirements of sustainable development and the even more treacherous waters of environmental regulation compliance. Environmental consultants can also help businesses and individuals understand the social and health challenges development or redevelopment can cause, and the ethical implications of what the business does.
Some environmental consultants spend their entire career in office or office-like environments, while others do on-location fieldwork all over the world, especially in developing or underdeveloped countries. The majority of environmental engineers fall somewhere between the two extremes.
In practice, environmental consultants might find themselves providing policy and compliance advice to governments, landowners and businesses, managing environmental remediation or clean-up projects, preparing reports criticising companies, corporations or even governments who do not meet current or future environmental standards, collecting field data, surveys and other data for analysis, estimating the likely environmental risk of commercial, industrial or real estate projects, exploring sites targeted for development, and writing up their findings for both scientific/technical and non-technical audiences.
What qualifications and experience will an environmental consultant need to thrive?
Typically, environmental consultants begin preparing for their career with a university degree, a relevant apprenticeship, or both. They get graduate or undergraduate level degrees or certifications in environmental studies or environmental science, and most also have at least a minor field of study in agricultural science, ecology, geology, chemistry and/or biology.
Many also gain practical experience volunteering with organisations like the Wildlife Trust, the national Trust or the Conservation Volunteers. These are mostly UK-based, but equivalents exist in most other parts of the world as well.
What does environmental consulting pay?
As a fully qualified but relatively inexperienced environmental consultant, you could earn between £20,000 and £25,000 per year, depending on your employer’s location. By mid- or late-career, you might be making between £40,000 and £45,000 per year. Gaining Chartered Environmentalist status may help your later career progression.
What is a marketing consultant?
Marketing can be challenging for any company. When an organisation needs specific expertise that they do not possess in-house or need external advice on how they can reinvigorate a failing marketing department, they may call in a marketing consultant to help.
A marketing consultant may find themselves tasked with broad projects like developing new ideas and approaches to better reach a new or under-served target audience, or with improving the way a company handles customer outreach generally. Alternatively, they may find themselves with several narrower tasks, such as creating a specialised marketing campaign for a niche audience or a handful of key industrial customers, developing the company’s ability to interact with their market via email or social media, understanding and analysing a new market trend, or finding ways to create demand for an existing product among a market or market segment which has not historically been interested in it.
What qualifications and experience will a marketing consultant need to thrive?
Technically, you don’t need specific qualifications to become a marketing consultant. A long and successful career as a marketing executive or in a marketing agency may be all you need. However, if you are seeking a route to becoming a marketing consultant as a university student or graduate, there is a more educational route.
A university degree or higher national diploma (or the international equivalent) in business management, communications, advertising or digital marketing is a great place to start. Courses or programmes accredited by the Chartered Institute of Marketing are of particular interest. A minor field of study such as IT, modern languages, media, art & design, humanities or psychology will be a great help as well.
No matter which route you take, consider a Digital Marketer Degree Apprenticeship, a Marketing Executive Higher Apprenticeship or something similar as well.
What does marketing consulting pay?
Depending on your degrees and certifications, as well as any previous marketing experience, you might earn between £18,000 and £22,000 per year as a beginning marketing consultant. By the middle of your career, you might earn between £40,000 and £50,000 per year.
What is a sales consultant?
A sales consultant is similar to a marketing consultant in many ways, but as you may have guessed, is more focused on driving sales and developing the sales people and processes within their client organisation.
A sales consultant might bring completely new skills and ideas to the table, helping their client develop new approaches to sales and client development, or teaching them how to appeal to a completely new market. As a sales consultant, you might find yourself compiling and analysing research on your client’s markets and competitors. You might be asked to recommend, develop or implement training courses for their sales team. You might be tasked with discovering hitherto unexplored ways to improve customer relationships, market engagement or brand perception.
You might even be asked to determine how sales could be improved on your own, and given a free hand to develop the programmes the client will need to implement your ideas.
What qualifications and experience will a sales consultant need to thrive?
If you have chosen a career as a sales consultant, a baccalaureate or graduate level business degree is a great place to start. Your studies should probably include retail marketing, business management and sales/marketing management at a minimum.
Alternatively, many people become sales consultants only after spending years working directly in sales roles, and rising to a level where they are responsible for managing other sales staff and managing sales-oriented projects. Even then, many seek our appropriate apprenticeships or Level 4 Awards in Operational Sales Planning, Finance for Sales Managers or Managing a Sales Team before they gain their first consulting roles.
What does sales consulting pay?
Sales consulting is a relatively highly paid specialty, but that comes with a caveat – employers will expect a good ROI on every penny they pay you. The highest paid sales consultancy roles demand the most results. A beginning level sales consultant might earn between £20,000 and £25,000 per year. The most experienced sales consultants, especially those in leadership roles in consulting firms, can earn as much as £70,000 per year.
What is a strategy consultant?
Strategy consultants work almost exclusively with high level business executives, political leaders and top decision-makers of all kinds. They offer advice and support on corporate strategy, organisational strategy, financial or economic policy, functional strategy and policy enforcement.
Strategy consultants offer a more abstract and top-down view on business and regulatory activity, as opposed to operational and managerial consultants who do more hands-on work implementing that strategy. This difference means strategic consultants need more education in theory, especially in quantitative or analytics areas.
Clients come to some strategy consultants to get advice on foreseeing and overcoming obstacles to their long-term goals, analysing the current situation in order to make reliable predictions on future trends and developments, etc. Other strategy consultants focus more on helping businesses develop strategies to improve their reputation or brand awareness, drive higher worker productivity, and ultimately produce more revenue.
What qualifications and experience will a strategy consultant need to thrive?
A master’s level degree in a business-related field is practically a must-have if you hope to go far as a strategy consultant, but you should not neglect maths and the sciences. One or more minors or 2nd majors in maths, finance or a science would serve you well as a strategy consultant.
An MBA with a speciality in Business Strategy, for example, will give you exactly the strategic analysis, strategic management, capabilities analysis, business innovation and business growth skills you’ll need to thrive in this role. PhD work in a field like economic policy or data analytics might not be too much to ask for mid-level roles.
What does strategy consulting pay?
Like any consulting role, the pay for entry-level strategic consultants can vary widely by region, specialisation and the city or country in which you do most of your work. You might expect to start at £20,000 per year, but some very qualified individuals, especially those with prior management experience as well as the right degree(s) could start at £25,000 per year or more.
By the time you gain enough experience to take on a mid-level or leadership role in strategic consultation, you might be earning between £50,000 and £60,000 per year.
Consultancy can be a great career choice, but you must first become a legitimate expert in something before you can expect anyone to pay you for your advice and opinions.
In the end, the type of consultancy work you prepare for should be based both on your own interests (who wants to spend the next 30+ years working in a field they don’t feel passionately about) and demand (it won’t do you all that much good to be the world’s foremost consultant on the supply chain of the all-but-extinct gros michel banana these days). By balancing your interests and the current and likely future demand for a specialty, you can become an expert in a field which will be both personally and financially rewarding.