Are management consultants happy?

A strong majority of management consultants enjoy their work environment, which is likely to contribute to greater overall satisfaction with their work as management consultants. Only in the consulting world can happiness be bad. Of course, anyone who has a customer-facing position answers to both their boss and their customers. However, consultants describe a more polarizing environment.

Unlike bankers, management consultants typically spend much of their time at a client's facility. While many customers will stay on the sidelines, this isn't always the case. And you have a new group of bosses with every customer. The general consensus is that a given consultancy firm can have an annual turnover rate of around 20%, especially in the lower categories.

On average, the consultants surveyed bill 139 days a year, well above the figures observed during the years of the crisis and the years after. They also state that they are motivated in their work and that they can operate more efficiently, since they do not bear the burden of all kinds of policies and guidelines that may arise when staff are hired through a consulting firm. More than three-quarters of independent consultants say they earn more money or something similar compared to when they were employed, and half say they earn more. This rarely happens in management consulting, where the results of the solutions that were implemented or suggested only become clear long after the company moves.

Interestingly, apart from the latter, there were no significant differences in satisfaction levels between independent and contracted consultants. And while consultants who formerly worked at major consulting firms lose, among other things, the stability of their financial benefits, more than half of those who are self-employed earn more money as freelancers, with consultants under 40 years of age leading the way. The study, which involved 251 independent management consulting professionals active in Europe, as well as a smaller sample of their employed peers, reveals that the vast majority of independent advisors enjoy high levels of satisfaction, both in terms of the control they have over their lives and the value they offer to clients. Independent management consultants are very satisfied with their work, according to a study by Eden McCallum, The Financial Times, London Business School and INSEAD.

A Florida-based consultant told us about a time when he was working for a particularly “anal” hedge fund in Connecticut that housed his team in a completely different building than his main office for security reasons. Those who have remained in the sector complain about the high turnover rates in the consulting sector, because people use it as a springboard to start a different career, as well as the large number of employees who leave to return to business school. The consultants told us that many of their former colleagues went on to work for former clients, if not directly, in a year or two, depending on their lack of competence. The survey shows that independent consultants highly value the freedom they have to have a strong opinion about what they do and where and when they can do it.

Léo Poitevin
Léo Poitevin

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