The job market for consultants in the United Kingdom has grown steadily over the last decade. In the 1980s and 1990s, the term consultant was applicable to a much narrower band of niche areas, particularly within the defence and financial services sectors. Today, there are hundreds of specialised consultant positions that may be filled by experienced professionals and, in some areas, relatively recent graduates. Sales consultants work with sales people and departments to improve their pitch to customers. Technical IT consultants meet with IT departments, providing specialist knowledge and project skills across a huge range of applications and systems software. Consultants are often the key to success for a variety of firms because they provide an outsider’s opinion of internal business functions.
While the consultant job market has burgeoned in recent years, the competition for these positions remains exceptionally high. Young professionals who are perhaps trying to break into a particular industrial sector are working as freelance or long-term consultants; experienced professionals make a lot of money working within consulting firms that specialise in assisting defence, aerospace, manufacturing or other niche-market companies. There are hundreds, sometimes thousands, of applicants for each consulting position. Talented professionals need to learn the best ways of seeking out new jobs within their chosen fields
Young professionals who are lacking in contacts or experience should consider using a job agency to find temporary consulting jobs. Experience is king in many fields that value confidentiality and an ability to assess dynamic systems. As such, a young banking or telecommunications professional, with a few consulting jobs under their belt, goes into the interview process with an advantage over their competition. Job agencies are great incubators for talented consultants, as their clients provide opportunities for on-going professional development and coaching to their recruits.
However, more experienced professionals can pursue a wider course in order to find their ideal consulting job. Consultants in fields like financial services or defence often build connections through conferences, meetings, and partnerships constructed to complete larger projects. These connections comprise a resource that can be mobilised by consultants looking for a job, either as a means of discovering positions available or as references for future employers. However, experienced consultants should not shirk the obvious job listings available via publications or the Internet. Consultants in lower profile industries, like marine-engineering or publishing, may find a lot of jobs available on general job sites. Additionally, experienced workers can find consulting work by going directly to a firm’s career page online. Ultimately, it is extremely important for consultants to increase and maintain their connections in order to reap future rewards.