Definition of consulting
"The provision to businesses of objective advice and assistance relating to the strategy, structure, management and operations of an organisation in pursuit of its long-term purposes and objectives. Such assistance may include the identification of options with recommendations; the provision of additional resources; and/or the implementation of solutions."
In a nutshell a consultant provides external advice for organisations that require specialist expertise or an objective outside perspective on their business.
Routes into consultancy
Similar to many attractive career options getting a foothold in the consulting industry is tough.
Graduates will tend to need work experience in order to get the job they want. Alternatively large consultancy firms including Deloitte, Ernst & Young, KPMG, PWC and Accenture will recruit graduates onto their training schemes. We recommend graduates looking into a consultancy career also use the management consultancy guide produced by Inside Careers.
Experienced professionals at mid to senior level can use consultancy as a step towards a fast-track career. Commercial credibility is essential in being able to enter the consultancy industry. Direct, first-hand experience of commercial issues is key at being able to market yourself and/or the organisation you represent as a consultant or business advisor.
The IC offer a range of membership resources that help newcomers enter the market.
The consulting industry
According to the MCA's UK Consulting Industry Statistics Report 2016 the UK consulting industry is worth £12bn and employs more than 80,000 consultants.
Despite being heavily affected by the global recession of 2008-09 the sector has gradually returned to health. In total the industry grew at a rate of 8.05% in 2015.
In some circles consultants carry negative connotations. For example research conducted in early 2012 found that 90% of member clients had been previously let down by consultants, often by over-charging and under-delivering. Part of the IC mission is to remove these connotations and bridge the gap in understanding between consultants and their buyers. Our National Consultants' Register is a key industry platform that allows us to do this and is a widely used buyer resource that helps them find the right consultant.
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