Consultants influence how businesses, governments, and institutions make decisions. Often working behind the scenes, these workers offer technical expertise, information, contacts, and tools that clients cannot provide themselves. They then work with their clients to provide a service or solve a problem.
Common Work Tasks
- Advise businesses on marketing, finance, corporate strategy and organization, manufacturing processes, information systems and data processing, electronic commerce (e-commerce) or business, and human resources including benefits and compensation
- Determine what location would incur the least amount of startup costs for a business
- Develop a business plan and provide tax advice
- Advise clients in the implementation and use of the latest office technology or computer programs that could increase office productivity
- Recommend an investment strategy that meets the client’s needs
- Determine the appropriate level of employer and employee contributions to health care and retirement plans
- Help locate the best candidates for top-level management and executive positions for clients
- Advise clients on new product marketability, new and existing product pricing, forecasting sales, planning and implementing a marketing strategy, and improving customer service to help the firm’s overall image
- Set up business franchises or license products
- Give advice on improvements in the manufacturing process and productivity, product quality control, inventory management, packaging, order processing, the transportation of goods, and materials management and handling
Other Job Titles
Consultants are also known by other titles, including:
- Administrative Management Consultant
- Human Resources Consultant
- Marketing Consultant
- Logistics Consultant
- Environmental Consultant
Education, Training, and Experience
Education and Training
Training and advancement opportunities vary widely within consulting services, but most jobs in the industry are similar in three respects. First, clients usually hire consulting firms on the basis of the expertise of their staffs, so proper training of employees is vital to the success of firms. Second, although employers generally prefer a bachelor’s or higher degree, most jobs also require extensive on-the-job training or related experience. Third, advancement opportunities are best for workers with the highest levels of education.
Most consulting firms require their employees to possess a variety of skills in addition to technical skills or industry knowledge. To a large extent, a college degree is only one desired qualification; workers also must possess proven analytical and problem-solving abilities, excellent written and verbal communications skills, experience in a particular specialty, assertiveness and motivation, strong attention to detail, and a willingness to work long hours if necessary. Many consultants undergo training to learn these and related skills, such as project management and building relationships with clients. Consultants also must possess high ethical standards, because most consulting firms and clients will contact references and former clients to make sure that the quality of their work was of the highest standard.
The median annual salary of a Consultant is $72,000. The top 10 percent earn more than $120,000 annually, and the bottom 10 percent earn less than $50,000 annually.
- 2006-2016 Employment growth: 79%
- Number of new jobs created 2006-2016: 25
- Employment 2006 : 311
- Employment 2016: 336