Monday, November 25, 2013

Should You Take That Consulting Role? Here's Why or Why Not

As many companies are keeping a tight rein on headcount costs, I’m seeing an uptick in available consulting positions. An increasing number of the marketing analytics positions we’ve been working on have been with consulting firms. Although outsourcing to control headcount is not a new trend, the increase means that there could be more opportunities available to someone who is open to the possibility of a consulting role.

In our recent Burtch Works Study: Marketing Research Professionals and Burtch Works Study: Big Data Professionals we discovered that consulting pays well for both groups, and I am interested to see how the current trend affects salary and demographics over the coming years.

For someone whose lifestyle can accommodate a heavy travel schedule there are certainly advantages to taking a consulting position; since your clients may be in a wide variety of industries it is a great way to gain exposure to different industries. It is also a great opportunity to build a network beyond your colleagues. As you gain exposure with high level corporate professionals keep in mind that these connections will benefit you throughout your career.

There are several things to consider however, before pursuing a consulting position. There will almost always be heavy travel involved, with a typical schedule of Monday through Thursday traveling and Friday working in the local office. So if you have a young family or your lifestyle cannot accommodate a rigorous travel schedule, then it might not be the best choice for you.

In addition, as you take on a more senior role you will be expected to drive business and revenue, and contribute to the growth of the business, at which point business development skills will be crucial for success.

For quantitative and marketing research professionals alike the increase in consulting positions could present a lot of opportunities, but it’s always important to consider and balance your lifestyle goals with your career goals before committing to anything.

Regardless of your career goals however, you should position yourself in a way where you are the asset – your knowledge, your skills, and your unique perspective. I always advise my candidates to make sure that you are a value-add to your organization; by doing so you ensure that you will always be marketable, whether your goal is a promotion or a job change.

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