Consultants – Insights from Movemeon 2021 Work & Pay Report -Impact of COVID-19

Consultants – Insights from Movemeon 2021 Work & Pay Report -Impact of COVID-19

Our 2021 work and pay report, Understanding the Impact of COVID-19, is out. As in previous years, it is based on more than 35,000 data points, combining proprietary data from and with a survey of our candidate community of 50,000 strategy and commercial professionals.

The report answers questions about pay and job satisfaction by industry, role type, and country. This year, we have also added insights about the impact of COVID-19 on compensation and the workplace. Here, we’ve put together our key findings for consultants currently working in any of the major firms. Request your free copy of the report here.

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1. Staying in consulting vs moving on

Overall, leaving consulting has a small but positive influence on your pay – especially at Associate and Director levels. However, what’s more decisive for long-term earnings is the type of consulting background you have.

2. Pay progression per hour

The large number of hours worked make consulting the lowest-paid industry when analysed from a ‘pay per hour’ perspective.

3. Average pay rise by industry

average pay rise by industry
corporate consultancy startup pe/vc at associate  manager and director level

Around a fifth of all Corporates, Consultancies and Startups have taken government support during the pandemic. At the same time, they gave pay rises to about half of their employees (down from ~2/3 of their employees in 2019). Meanwhile, far fewer PE/VCs have relied on government support and 3/4 of their employees have received a pay rise.

4. Working hours by industry and seniority

While working hours increase with seniority in startups and corporates, they decrease over time in consulting and PE/VC.

5. Consultants vs Alumni vs Freelancers

We asked our candidates to rate their overall happiness with their jobs on a scale from 1 to 10. Just like last year, freelancers and alumni were significantly happier than consultants, with an average of 6.8 for the latter and 6.9 for the former. Overall happiness for consultants averages 6.1.

6. Impact of working hours

We also tested a long-standing question with our candidates – what’s the influence of working hours on happiness?

Overall happiness is consistent up until 60h worked per week, but anything above that has a serious, negative influence.

7. Impact of compensation

When it comes to compensation, we don’t see a saturation effect – to the contrary, professionals seem to get quite a kick out of making more than half a million.

This lack of saturation effect may be caused by the uncertainty that comes with a global pandemic – a situation in which professionals particularly value their financial independence.

8. Pay per happy hour

So which industry should you be working in at which level? To figure that out, we put pay, hours, and happiness together into a single metric that we called pay per happy hour. It’s calculated as ‘pay per hour * (happiness score /10)’ and shows that PE/VC is ahead of all other industries at all levels of seniority.

9. Additional impact of COVID-19

While COVID-19 has driven 29% of consultants to want to leave their consulting companies (and predominantly join corporates), almost the same proportion of ex-consultants are tempted to go back into Consulting (20%).

Interestingly, we also found out that 56% of professionals who want to leave consulting aim to join a corporate, while 23% are looking to freelance.

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