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Why Are Consultants Paid So Much? Solved!

Average starting salaries for consultants are around $61k to $85k. This rises to around $150,000 at the senior consultant level, and partners make anywhere from $300,000 to over a million!

But why are consultants paid so much?

Consultants endure a high workload, and stressful working environment. They are skilled employees that are able to drive results and cause large impacts on companies with their projects.

Employers think ex-consultants are the bees-knees! Strategy consultants across the board tend to be deemed extremely capable employees. There are lots of reasons for this. 

In this post, I’ll take a look at why both consultants and ex-consultants are:

  • In demand as employees
  • Why they are paid so much
  • The recognition of consulting
  • The intensity of consulting
PwC building in London

The Consulting Experience – Why Consultants Are So Valuable

In principle, consulting is an incredible grounding in business. A consultant who does two or three years is likely to be exposed to all sorts of commercial situations. 

Those might include solving problems with distribution, marketing, leadership, or even the profit loss account. 

Over a 2 year program, a consultant would engage with 8-20 projects, generating an immense breadth of experience across these areas. 

Compared with going straight into industry, this is a much wider set of opportunities.

Even better, consultancies often only really expect their junior employees to hang around for those two years. 

Compared with other industries, very few people enter consulting at a young age and stay there for their whole careers.  It is totally acceptable to let people know that you just want this grounding before heading off. 

Watch McKinsey’s video on how consulting is a perfect place to start out.

The Recognition of Consulting

As a result, being a management consultant has become a stamp of value.  Simply succeeding in the arduous competition to become a consultant can mean that you have the potential to be a great employee. 

The highly limited places and rigorous application process mean that you have done exceptionally well to get a job. 

Because other businesses value consultants so highly, it is generally understood by top firms and their employees alike that many people want to work there for the CV points. 

To most people, a grad job in a top consultancy is a platform to get somewhere else. 

The Skills You Learn By Consulting

Part of this “credentials” hunting is the available skills too.  

Anyone who has worked as a consultant will have highly developed abilities in problem-solving, presentation, and numeracy.  

This just means that when you hire a consultant, there is a tacit guarantee that they bring an exceptional level of analytical proficiency.

In addition, because of this breadth of project work, consultants have a reputation for being creative. 

 Compared with other jobs in financial services, there is a much higher emphasis on innovation. Their job is literally to go into a situation where other people have been unable to find a solution. 

So when a company hired an ex-consultant, they bring with them a certain creativity that allows them to challenge the status quo. 

The Intensity Of Consulting

Finally, consultancy is intense.

Anyone who hires an ex-consultant is likely to pay a premium because they come with the gold star that they have probably survived massive pressure from demanding clients.

Of course, bankers and lawyers face a similar situation. But they will carry out lots of the same tasks under pressure whereas consultants might carry out a whole range of different things. 

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  • Will Bennett

    Will Bennett is a Cambridge graduate. He worked as a Consultant and Senior Consultant at Boston Consulting Group (BCG) in London. Will is the Founder of The Cambridge Consultant.