what is a consultant?

After gaining years of experience from practising your career, you can become a consultant in your area of expertise. Consultants turn their knowledge into a resource, and companies are willing to pay for the advice and valuable insights.

As a consultant, you research your employers' target market and company to identify problems and opportunities for expansion. You also recommend solutions for business-related issues and help facilitate change in an organisation. Some clients hire consultants to revitalise or downsize an organisation. Sometimes, you have to reorganise a failing business or provide counsel during start-up by conducting a feasibility study and identifying opportunities.

The scope of work in consultancy requires passion and interest in the industry sector to provide the best strategies. Besides, organisations look for consultants when they need an external perspective on business issues. That means they need someone who can breathe a new life into the venture and turn the tides. A successful consultant needs more than industry-specific knowledge. You require skills in business analysis, troubleshooting and strategising.

what do consultants do?

Consultants can work for any industry as in-house consultants or consulting firms. In-house consultants provide in-depth analysis of the business since they study all aspects of business and recommend opportunities for improvement. A consulting firm often works with various companies and provides expert advice on multiple industry issues.

Would working as a consultant suit your analytical skills? Then read on to find out what competencies and qualifications you need to thrive in a consultant role.

consultant jobs

average salary of a consultant

According to ONS, the average salary for consultants is £38,956 per year. Entry-level positions in consultancy attract a salary of £32,767 per year, while experienced consultants have a salary of £52,158 annually. Aside from the base salary, consultants enjoy various benefits, including medical insurance, pension schemes and paid vacations. Some companies motivate consultants with bonuses for successful projects.

what factors affect a consultant's salary?

Consultants' earnings depend on their area of expertise. For instance, consultants in engineering or construction are likely to earn more than health consultants. Financial sectors also pay attractive salaries to consultants. The company you work for also determines your earning potential. In-house consultants make more or less depending on the company size and financial resources. 

Working for consulting firms affects your pay structure; most consultancy pay is based on the clients and your experience level. Consultants with years of experience earn more since they bring transferrable skills and influence real change in a company using tried methods. Sometimes, you have to relocate to larger cities to increase your earnings. Working in big cities boosts your salary compared to small towns.



types of consultant

The types of consultants include:

  • business consultant: as a business consultant, you assist companies in solving problems by offering expert advice on ways to deal with business issues. You help companies boost performance by improving their processes, developing an HR strategy and providing operational support.
  • education consultant: as an education consultant, you help academic institutions deal with various issues in early childhood, secondary and higher education. You also assist organisations with education objectives like publishers, government agencies and non-profit organisations.
  • healthcare consultant: consultants in healthcare institutions aim to improve efficiencies and minimise expenses. You also recommend new procedures and ways to increase revenue and manage hospital risks.
  • it consultant: as an IT consultant, you analyse computer system threats and the functionality of programmes to improve efficiency. You also recommend ways for utilising information technology to improve business performance.
  • management consultant: as a management consultant, you provide advice and guidance to top-level managers in an organisation. You assist in developing strategies and business goals and help them make the right decisions.

working as a consultant

Curious to find out what a consultant does daily? Read on for insights on your career prospects and daily duties.


education and skills

Successful consultants have impressive academic qualifications. Some of the education requirements include:

  • degree: you can start your career as a consultant with an undergraduate programme in any field, including business, finance, science, IT or engineering. If you plan to be a consultant in healthcare, you need a degree in science or a related field. Without knowledge of the industry you work for, it is challenging to get a job.
  • postgraduate studies: while a master's or doctoral degree isn't compulsory, it improves your job prospects. Some companies prefer consultants with MBA or doctoral degrees.
  • work experience: consultancy is a competitive career, and commercial experience gives you an advantage. You can do internships or join graduate training programmes to improve your skills. You also need to register for membership with the Institute of Consulting (CMI).

skills and competencies

Apart from academic qualifications, you need the following skills and competencies:

  • creative thinking: solving business problems requires someone who thinks outside the box and comes up with unique solutions. As a consultant, creative thinking helps you brainstorm ideas and solve various issues in a company.
  • problem-solving skills: sometimes consultants are responsible for resolving conflict among the management and employees or saving a company on the brink of bankruptcy. Problem-solving skills help you identify ways to resolve disputes and find resolutions to revive a company.
  • communication and listening skills: as a consultant, you need to listen to employees and stakeholders to understand their concerns. When assessing the impact of a problem, you should listen empathetically instead of focusing on the numbers and bottom line. Once you have strategies for resolving an issue, communication skills help you communicate concisely.
  • time management: meetings and consultations are inevitable, but you will only make it to a few meetings without time management skills. As a consultant, organisational skills and managing time helps you achieve your goals and follow your schedule. Preparing for the day's activities is useful in optimising time and completing the items in your to-do list.



FAQs about working as a consultant

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