Every fortnight or so I run a poll on my LinkedIn. Given my area of expertise, the polls explore consulting careers (in and after consulting) – why people start, why they leave and what they leave for. Typically 600-1,200 people join in (a pretty decent sample size) and overall, these polls have been viewed by over 500,000 people with more than 15,000 participants.
Why do I do these polls about post consulting careers?
Well, unlike many more linear careers, most consulting careers involve leaving consulting. So for a consultant, plotting a career is a bit or a minefield. And if you’re trying to hire consulting-trained professionals, how best to attract them can be equally mind-boggling. So, I find the results of these polls particularly enlightening. Why?
- For employers (HR and hiring mangers inside and outside of consulting firms), they unlock the secret sauce in retaining or attracting consulting-trained professionals (into roles like strategy, transformation, project management, commercial development, chief of staff etc) by shining a light on how most people think about their consulting careers.
- For consultants, they shed light on how others in the consulting industry feel and behave and accordingly, give you clear references for plotting your consulting career – either in or way from consulting itself.
In this article, I’ve collated 11 recent polls into 3 topics:
- Firstly: “Starting a consulting career – why?”
- Secondly: “Leaving consulting – why?”
- And finally: “Leaving consulting – what for?”
So, let’s get into the data…
Starting a consulting career – why?
Summary: simply put, the majority of people who start a consulting career…
- Don’t regret time spent in consulting (83%);
- Didn’t join intending for a life long consulting career (88%) / did join as a means to an end (skills, network);
- Don’t regret leaving consulting (93%) and;
- Would have been more likely to stay / would return if pay, progression and, especially, working hours improved (80%).
Consultants & former consultants – do you regret the time you spent / are spending in consulting?
Results: (link to data)
When you joined a consulting firm, was it as a “means to an end”, or did you envisage a whole career in a consulting firm?
Results below (link to original data)
Do you regret leaving consulting?Results below (link to original data)
What’s the main reason you’d consider switching consulting firms / moving back to consulting?Results below (link to original data)
Leaving consulting – why?
Summary: simply put, the majority of people leave a consulting career (i.e, leave a permanent role in a consulting firm) in order to…
- Improve their work-life balance / working hours which has..,.
- Deteriorated further during / thanks to covid
What’s the main reason you left / would consider leaving consulting?Results below (link to original data)
Leaving consulting – was work-life balance the main reason (or would it be, if you were to leave in the future)?Results below (link to original data)
Consultants – how has your work-life balance changed through covid? I’m working..Results below (link to original data)
Leaving consulting – what for?
Summary: simply put, consultants transition their careers out of consulting along the following lines…
- Scale-ups are the most sought after company type, but the full range of organisations is appealing (the consulting skill set is extremely transferable so most options are open)
- Most consultants want their career to end up in a P&L or operational leadership role (CEO/COO track) – the most successful companies at hiring ex-consulting talent can show a path to these (typically using strategy / transformation teams as a stepping stone / leadership talent pipeline)
- Freelance consulting is becoming increasingly popular
- Current & former consultants want more data when it comes to choosing post-consulting careers, especially regarding compensation and work-life balance. We’re on a mission to provide that – check it out here.
Consultants – what company type do you find most appealing (as a post consulting home)?Results below (link to original data)
Current & former consultants – what job type would you most like your career to lead to (or for more senior folk, which has it lead to)?Results below (link to original data)
Freelancing – Are you more of less likely than 12 months ago to consider doing some freelance work?Results below (link to original data)
Would it be helpful to know which post-consulting careers have the best pay, working hours & job satisfaction?Results below (link to original data)
If you’re trying to assess your options for a post consulting career, here are some popular resources: