Strategy consulting is currently valued at around $32.5 billion and represents approximately 14% of the global consulting market. Strategy consultants assist their clients in the process of making key, strategic decisions that have long-term consequences for the business as a whole. They are often responsible for the development of 5-10 year plans that help to provide firms with a sense of direction and guide them through the process of achieving their objectives. Strategy consultants may help their clients to devise long-term plans for their businesses or tackle specific business issues (e.g. competitor differentiation or customer retention). As the responsibility for making the strategic decisions is usually in the hands of the company’s senior management, strategy consultants tend to work directly with executives and high-ranking managers. In comparison to other types of consultancy roles, strategy consultants tend to work more often from their firm’s office (rather than the client’s), projects tend to have tighter deadlines and last for shorter periods of time, and working hours may consequently be less stable.
Financial Advisory Consulting
The market for Financial Advisory consulting is estimated to be worth approximately 25% of the global consulting market. Consultants may advise on elements of mergers and acquisitions, projects and infrastructure deals, restructurings and real estate deals. This could involve the provision of advice relating to raising finance, structuring transactions in a tax-efficient manner and valuing proposed transactions. The Financial Advisory consulting market has typically been dominated by firms with a legacy in tax and audit services such as the Big 5 (discussed in more detail later). However, over the past few years other types of firms, including strategic consultants and economic experts, have entered into the financial advisory field. As a result of these changes, the financial advisory market has been fragmented and now includes specialised players such as Corporate Finance boutiques or Risk Management specialists.
IT & Technology Consulting
The market share of IT consulting services is estimated to be approximately 20% of the global consulting market. IT consultants can help clients to design, develop and implement technology in order to improve operational processes. This could include helping to create and implement complicated customer-management systems (perhaps drawing upon expertise from external technology companies); consolidating or enhancing a client’s supply chain (for instance, through developing complicated IT systems to centralise or enhance supply chain management); and developing systems to help clients to handle online sales.
Clients may also require security systems or employee identification systems (for instance fingerprint recognition systems). Consultants may subsequently help to coordinate a client’s IT systems through developing the client’s back-end operations and/or hosting and supervising the client’s website, enabling the client to focus on its product offerings. Consultants will frequently engage in market research to test the favourability of ideas with relevant stakeholders and subsequently pilot ideas before helping with their full implementation. Note that you do not have to be an IT expert and have a strong grounding in coding to be an IT consultant, although some relevant knowledge and a strong interest in IT is important.
Human Resources Consulting
This segment represents around 11% of the global consulting market. Human Resources (HR) consulting involves advising companies on the management of its human capital. The key disciplines of HR consulting services include: Organisational Change, Talent Management, Benefits & Rewards and Learning & Development.
An example of one of the issues that clients sometimes ask consultants to look into is the remuneration process of their executive employees. Consultants will have to take into account elements such as the effect certain levels of bonuses and pay could have upon the firm’s culture, the attitudes of other employees, the willingness of essential employees to remain with the company and the effect that related press attention could have upon the company’s reputation.
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By Jake Schogger - City Career Series