A career in corporate consulting can be a long and winding road, but a growing number of businesses are turning to the consulting firm model to attract talented professionals.
Key points:Employers are now paying consultants to manage the business process for the long termThe industry is becoming increasingly dependent on consultants to help manage the day-to-day business of businessSome firms are using a model of a ‘business consultant’ for long-term supportThis could mean long-time employees are left out of the loopThe business consultant is a key part of the business strategy of a company and can be the face of the company for the rest of the organisation, or at the very least be an important asset to the organisation.
It is a lucrative career and there are more opportunities than ever for new graduates to enter the field, according to the Association of Corporate Directors of Australia.
“We’re looking for a variety of types of people to join our firm,” said Andrew Henson, managing director of the Australian Business Consulting Association.
“There’s also a lot of new graduates, people who’ve never been in business before, and a lot more young people.”
In the past two years, there has been a steady increase in the number of firms offering consulting roles to employees, according the Business Consulting Australia Foundation (BCA).
This is in line with a nationwide rise in the amount of people looking for work in the industry, particularly in regional and remote communities.
“What I see with our new graduates is that they’re looking at this as a career path for the future,” said Mr Henson.
“Some of them are already working in the business and there’s a lot to learn in that area and some of them want to work in a different area.”
Some companies have started to employ the consulting model, using a process of “backup” to help keep employees and staff on their toes and on track for long term success.
This is the first time BCA has seen such a rise in demand for business consultants, Mr Hanson said.
“It’s something that is starting to be adopted and it’s an industry that is growing,” he said.”[Companies] are looking to find ways to get their consultants up and running as fast as possible and as efficiently as possible.”
But it’s not just long-serving employees who need to be on the up-and-up.
Some of the newer companies that have begun to employ a business consultant model are looking at other roles for the people that have already joined the firm.
“You can’t go into a new business without having a business development person and they’re often quite senior,” said John O’Brien, vice president of external affairs for the Australian Retailers Association (ARPA).
“It gives you a greater opportunity to see how things work out.”
The ARPA is one of the major trade bodies for retailers and the ACCA is a major lobbying group for the industry.
“The industry as a whole is starting a transition and we’re in the process of looking at what role the industry can play in helping our members grow,” Mr Hynes said.’
Business consultants are vital’The business consulting model is a flexible model where you can be involved for up to three years and can also work in various roles.
There is a range of jobs that you can perform that involve consulting, and many of these positions are within the role of a business associate.
“If you’re doing something with a client or a supplier, a business person might be working on your behalf,” Mr O’Connor said.
For many people in the field of business consulting, there are opportunities to take a role that’s outside the firm and the work is done from home.
“I think it’s a great career opportunity and I definitely think that there’s more opportunities for people in our industry than there are for people who have gone into business,” Mr Todman said.
But there is also an important distinction between the role that a business consultancy provides and that of a real person.
“Business consultants provide support, and if you need to get out of a situation or have a meeting, that’s all they’re doing.
That’s not what they’re there to do,” Mr Kilday said.
Business consultants may not always have the same skills as a real-life professional, but there are some important points to consider before taking up a job in the corporate world.
“That’s really the main thing,” Mr Clements said.
If you need a business consult, it’s important to know that you’ll be working from home for a limited period of time.
“And if you’re an executive, you’re not necessarily going to be spending that time working with a team of consultants,” Mr Moller said.