Where do consultants go?

Where do consultants go?

Which industries, functions and/or locations do consultants hope to move to after consulting? We analysed the close to 20,000 applications made for permanent jobs on movemeon to answer these questions.


What prompted me to start thinking about this analysis was another one of our older pieces, summarising a survey of consultants’ dream jobs: as early as 2015, we asked you to rank your top exit destinations. Back then, your dream industry was Private Equity, followed closely by Start-up. A lot has happened since that poll. Movemeon has grown, attracting more great employers and more amazing candidates. This means that more jobs have been posted and more applications have been made, giving us an excellent opportunity to check whether 2015’s preferences are reflected in 2016’s behaviour.

Market flows and trends

Let’s look at flows and market trends first of all.

Private Equity (combined with Venture Capital in our data) is in third place, making up 10.89% of 2016’s applications for permanent jobs. Start-up is the outright winner when it comes to supply and demand, with growth stage start-ups receiving 24.59% of applications, and even early-stage start-ups managing to make it to 4th place, suggesting that even the youngest members of the industry can be attractive to consultants. But the real surprise performance comes from the second-place holder: Boutique consultancy. 13.15% of all permanent applications in 2016 were for boutique consulting positions. Consultants on movemeon might have been ready to change jobs, but not all were ready to leave consulting altogether.


But what about the original question – does 2016’s behaviour reflect 2015’s preferences? We can get to the answer to this question by using the proxy of number of applications/individual role in given industry.

So, has Private Equity fallen from the dream exit industry it was in 2015 to the mere third-place holder it is in terms of market flows? The answer to the last question is a categorical no. The marker of applications/role reveals PE & VC to be a far more popular industry than suggested simply by application flows – it is, in fact, the single most popular one. Media & telecoms, in second place, saw only 57% of PE & VC’s application rate, while for Start-up, the industry that came first for market flows, that number is 38%. PE & VC is the unquestionable winner of ‘most popular industry in 2016’.

Did the consultants of 2016 go to the industries shown in the 2015 poll? Mostly, they did. Private Equity and Start-up were still popular choices, as were Media & telecoms and Ecommerce. The new-comer was Hospitality, leisure & travel, rising to third place nearly out of nowhere, with 43% of PE & VC’s application rate.


Market flows and trends

Having considered industries, the obvious next step is to look at functions – let’s start with market trends again.

There were no real surprises here. Movemeon’s consulting community is dominated by strategy consultants, and over 50% of all 2016 applications for permanent jobs were for Strategy. Operations and General management followed Strategy at quite a significant drop, receiving 10.29% and 9.33% of all applications respectively. Corporate & business development and Programme, project & change management also made it to the top 5, while the top 10 also included Marketing and the lesser-known Right-hand to CEO/chief of staff.

We have recently started a series of events on moving to and working in strategy, so it was good to see that these events support a real trend in our community. If you missed the last event, you can find a summary of all the advice given by the CEOs of PizzaHut and Charles Taylor here


As we saw earlier, market flows and trends, although interesting in their own right, don’t necessarily tell us about popularity. So, let’s see if, as before, the proxy of applications/role tells a different story about our community’s preferences. (Spoiler alert: it does.)

For a start, Strategy is no longer in first place. It is, instead, 5th, with only 18% of the first-place holder’s application rate. So which function managed to out-do Strategy so impressively? Analytics & big data. Even Right-hand to the CEO/chief off staff, in second place, only managed 34% of Analytics & big data’s application rate, making it clear that there is a strong preference in our community for the latter. In third place, Product management (instead of General management, in third place for market trends)  saw just 20% of Analytics & big data’s applications/role, again confirming the latter as 2016’s most popular function.

So what does this analysis of functions tell us? That most consultants are looking for a real change of career when they come to movemeon. They want hands-on roles with real impact, and they want to move away from the broadness of Strategy.


Market flows and trends

The last thing to look at in this analysis is where in the world consultants go. As you’ll have come to expect by now, we’ll start with market flows and trends again.

In 2016, about 62% of applications for permanent roles were for jobs based in the United Kingdom, making it the winner of application flows. Nearly three-quarters of these applications came from consultants already based in the UK. The remaining quarter was submitted by candidates living as far as New Delhi and as close as Paris, with most living in Europe. Also among the top 5 locations by application number were the US Northeast and France. The former was in second place at 6.72%, the latter in third place at 6.44%.


The relative orders of the US Northeast and France in the chart above are interesting because they do not reflect the number of roles available in these regions (there France is ahead of the US Northeast). So let’s have a look at applications/role for locations. Was the US Northeast more popular than France by this marker too?

Yes, it was. In 2016, the US Northeast’s application rate was two percentage points higher than that of France. But neither actually made it the top 5 for popularity. So, which locations were most popular? The United Arab Emirates, Switzerland, Singapore, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. Although it saw over 62% of all applications, the UK’s application rate was only 33% of that of the UAE, which was only enough to make the UK the 5th most popular location. The UAE was only 5th by application flows because there were fewer roles, and so fewer applications, there. But applications/role show a striking pattern: although there are fewer opportunities in the UEA, the ones that are available are extremely popular. Consultants from all over the world wanted to move to jobs based there, as well as in Switzerland, Singapore and the Netherlands.

It appears that there is an interesting group of people in our community who are quite keen to relocate to a different country – and an equally interesting group who want to leave the UK. We hope these consultants like what they find in their new locations – and that they let us know! (Email us if you ever want to tell us about your experiences of relocating to a different country!)

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