As employers grow their businesses, they may come across some roadblocks that they have difficulty overcoming. This is where a consultant comes in. Consultants are people who excel at a particular field; they hence have the skills and expertise necessary to offer advice to individuals or organizations. They are growing increasingly popular as businesses try to seek out experts who can offer a new perspective. Over the last 5 years in the US, the management consulting industry’s market size has increased by 1.4% annually on average.
The global management consulting services market is expected to be valued at $895.46 billion in 2021 and is expected to grow to a value of $1201.06 billion in 2025. Consultants can be immensely helpful depending on the type of work employers are interested in delegating to them and are therefore highly valued in a number of different industries.
The Consulting Industry
Employers and organizations from different industries seek out consultants to make use of their expertise and propel their business to greater heights. Consultants can be found in just about every industry; it is common for them to provide professional services relating to market research, engineering, accounting, public relations, or legal matters, among others.
The main segments in the consulting industry include Management Consulting, Human Resources Consulting, Technology Consulting, Strategy Consulting, Operations Consulting, and Financial Advisory Consulting. About 85% of consultants work on a freelance basis, with the remaining 15% working in consulting firms of varying sizes.
Benefits of working with a consultant
There are multiple benefits to be reaped when an employer decides to work with a consultant. Depending on the type of work that employers are planning to delegate to consultants, consultants can be immensely helpful. In most instances, the skills and expertise that consultants have honed during their careers are viewed as valuable and capable of assisting employers in realizing their goals.
One of the more obvious benefits of collaborating with a consultant would be the fresh perspectives they bring in. Being an outsider, they are likely to have less knowledge about an employer’s organization as opposed to a permanent staff member. However, it is this that allows them to assess an organization with a more objective mindset, allowing them to make impartial judgements and provide new insights that would prove valuable to the employer and organization, uncovering new avenues for growth.
Due to their skills and expertise, consultants are more capable and can complete a project more efficiently. Since their past experience allows them to have a better grasp of whatever project they are tasked with, they are able to complete the project within a significantly shorter span of time. Due to them using up less time, it essentially translates to higher cost-effectiveness for the organization. Compared to hiring new permanent staff who will need time and money to train, consultants are already equipped with the necessary skills to complete projects they are hired to work on, helping organizations to save on training costs.
Greater access to more valuable information and tools
Consultants are also likely to have access to more valuable information and tools that are normally harder to come by. Since many of them are experts, they would be more willing to invest in resources and tools that they use more frequently than others who could have fewer chances to work with such tools. With the new information that consultants bring to a table, employers can gain new insights that would help them boost their business. In addition, employers also have no need to spend money on new equipment that might not be used much in the future, helping to cut down on costs.
Having worked with other clients, especially those who have been in the consulting field for a period of time, most consultants have already learnt the best practices from their past experiences with previous clients that they worked with. They are likely to understand employers’ needs and wants better and can hence help employers to achieve their goals more quickly, ultimately leading to a smooth collaboration between the two parties that bring the project to fruition more efficiently.
Achieving short-term goals
While working with consultants for longer periods of time may not be entirely sustainable due to the cost differences in hiring a consultant and hiring a permanent employee, consultants are still a great choice for employers who need help with completing a short-term project. Their skills and expertise will help employers determine what needs to be done to achieve the goal, as well as help them with more speed and efficiency.
Possible gaps in working with a consultant
While working with consultants does come with a large handful of benefits, employers can first pause to consider if a consultant is really what they need and if a consultant is suited for carrying out the work that they need assistance with. If their usual permanent staff is up to the task or can be trained easily for a project that the employer has in mind, then it might not be the best decision for employers to spend unnecessarily on a consultant.
Expensive in the long run
As mentioned, consultants are great for helping employers meet their short-term goals since their fees would be less than the amount a company would need to invest in new equipment and permanent staff members. However, working with a consultant for extended periods of time may not be as financially viable if the project will take up more time since consultants are usually more expensive than full-time employees. It might be more efficient if employers were to put time and money into training their permanent staff for projects of a similar nature in the future.
Might not always be available
In addition, employers need to keep in mind that consultants could be servicing a number of different clients at any one time. As such, when an employer urgently needs the consultant’s help for a project, the consultant may not always be available since they might be working with another client. This could spell trouble especially if there are pressing issues that an employer needs to take care of promptly. For employers who foresee themselves needing prompt assistance on a more regular basis, they might want to reconsider working with a consultant since such a work arrangement may not be entirely suitable.
As the demand for consultants continues to grow, employers may be interested in sourcing out consultants who are cut out for working on a project that they have in mind. When doing so, employers should weigh their options carefully to make sure that the consultants they choose to work with are a good fit for the job and can meet expectations. The main and most common benefits of hiring a consultant would include:
- The new and fresh perspectives that consultants bring in as outsiders, as well as the objectivity they promote in a workplace
- The improvement of a company’s cost-effectiveness since consultants can finish projects more quickly with their skills and expertise
- The access that consultants have to more valuable information and tools that might be harder for companies to procure or come across
- The best practices that consultants have already learnt and honed over time due to their experience with previous clients
- The ability for an organization to achieve their short-term goals more efficiently with the consultant’s help