What Is A Consultant?
A consultant is someone who offers expert professional advice in their own special field of expertise to individuals and companies. They are there to offer assistance or extra support that their client is unable to provide for themselves, charging a fee to the client for their unique services. Operating on an independent basis, a consultant's role is to help the firm to reach their chosen objective by advising on the best method of achieving the desired result and helping the business' management team to implement strategies with this goal in mind. A consultant can bring an objective view to a problem that the business is experiencing and with their in-depth knowledge of their industry they will be able to point the company in the direction of an appropriate solution without being bound by internal company politics, taking decisions that the company's management are unwilling or unable to make.
What Types Of Consulting Jobs Are There In The UK?
A consultant may work within a consultancy company or may operate independently as a freelance contractor. There are around 300,000 consulting jobs in the UK in various fields, with around 63,000 of those positions being in the field of management consultancy. The main areas in which you will find consulting jobs in the UK are as follows:
Strategy Consultancy - a high level role focusing on strategic areas such as organisational strategy, economic policies, governmental policies and functional strategies.
Management Consultancy - sometimes known as an organizational adviser or business consultant, this role focuses on organizational concerns.
Operations Consultancy - a consultant with a focus on helping clients to improve their operation's performance offering hands on support with many areas of their organization such as production, marketing sales, financial operations, legal matters or even ICT.
Financial Consultancy - a financial advisory consultant deals with the financial capability of a company and often also the business' analytical capabilities too. This branch of consultancy tends to deal with tax, real estate, restructuring and risk management.
HR Consultancy - this role involves dealing with human capital problems within an organization, offering advice on how to improve the performance of the company's human resources department. Main areas of focus include advising on employment terms, talent management and organizational change.
IT Consultancy - a digital or ICT consultant operates with a focus on assisting clients to apply and develop IT within their business. Most IT consultants focus on implementation projects and system integrations as well as data analytics, IT forensics and cyber security issues.
Qualifications Required To Become A Consultant
Although there are no official qualifications required to become a consultant in the UK and, in theory, anyone can set themselves up as a freelance consultant, in practice you must have a fairly extensive level of expertise and knowledge within your chosen field. Most consultants have worked in their industry for some considerable time at a high level and have a track record of resolving business related problems and improving the performance of their company. Most successful consultants will have a minimum of a Bachelor's Degree in their field of expertise, for example in business management, and many of the most successful candidates will also have a postgraduate qualification in their discipline, usually a MBA. There are also some courses, approved and accredited by the International Council for Management Consultancy Institutes, offered by the Institute of Consulting which may also help candidates to obtain a consultancy job in the UK.
Where To Find Consulting Jobs In The UK
There are many places that you can begin your search for a consultancy job in the UK. The internet is a ripe source of employment opportunities, with many general job sites advertising vacancies all over the UK with a broad spectrum of different firms. Many higher level consulting jobs are also advertised in mainstream British newspapers like The Guardian. Many consultants prefer to register with one of the specialist consultancy agencies across the country that recruit talented consultants to work with companies all over the UK. Companies such as Mindbench and Freshminds match consultants with suitable experience and qualifications with vacancies in many different fields including management consultancy, IT consultancy and operational consultancy. If you are a recent graduate with an interest in becoming an entry level management consultant, you may be able to take the internship route.