Salaries – What do you really want?

The nervous candidate twitches throughout the job interview. The prospective employer grills the interviewee, probing skills, strengths and weaknesses. Then the dreaded moment comes, the interviewer asks, “So, why do you really want this job?” The candidate pauses and replies: “Why, for the cash of course”. And with those words the candidate’s chances are torpedoed. Naturally, few job seekers would be foolish enough to offer such an answer. But every one of them thinks it. Don’t they?

The Management Consultancy/Computron Careers and Salary Survey begs to differ on that point. Financial compensation is no longer the biggest attraction when it comes to applying for a job. The exclusive research carried out among readers offers a valuable insight into what job seekers are really looking for and the realistic heights they aspire to. The survey also outlines the industry areas that consultants believe are going to offer real growth with regard to employment. Over 100 readers responded to the survey and we can now offer you an invaluable overview. Where do you fit into the big picture?

Who responded?

The typical respondent in our survey was a middle-ranking to senior consultant, earning approximately #30K-#50K. There was also a smattering of readers earning over #100K but they were primarily working for themselves. The size of the consultancies they work for ranges from the Big Five to the smaller niche-based consultancies. About 16 percent work in organisations with over a thousand consultants and 35 percent are involved in practices with only a handful.

Whatever the size of company they work for, it appears that the consultancy profession is generous with its provision of benefits within a total remuneration package. Half of the respondents are driving company cars, the same amount are provided with private healthcare, 60 percent are receiving pension contributions, and nearly a quarter are holding some number of company shares. In a market where consultants are much in demand, companies are doing their utmost to maximise the temptations. However, it is interesting to note that profit-related pay and flexible working hours hardly registered among the benefits offered.

The survey seemed to attract responses from those who had been in the consultancy profession for some time. Only a quarter of responses were from readers who had been working for just a couple of years, with the bulk of responses coming from those who had been consultants for between five and 10 years plus.

Historically, consultants have had the reputation of being hired guns, going wherever the money is. But this myth is not borne out in our survey, where the majority of consultants have only worked for a couple of companies.

Indeed, only 13 percent have worked for five or more consultancies.

The industry has long debated the merits of MBA-qualified consultants.

Is it the only benchmark of business nouse and quality? Three quarters of our readership say no. Only 17 percent of those with an MBA are members of the Association of MBAs.

The consultants primarily work in the IT sector of consultancy. Change management, financial services and BPR and Year 2000 operations are also high on the list.

How skilled are you?

On the evidence of the research results, companies are not reneging on their duty to train staff. Training represents one of the biggest temptations that can be put in front of a potential employee. Eighty percent of respondents admitted to receiving training in the last year. We drilled down for more information to discover that well over a third of readers received IT training of some description. Project management skills are much in demand, so it is not surprising that a quarter of readers had been put through relevant training in this area. A fifth of respondents had been put through general in-house training, primarily ongoing induction courses.

As we look further down the list of training courses provided, there is some cause for concern. Among those courses registering only a handful of responses were communication skills, leadership skills, recruitment, and financial. Why aren’t consultancies providing a more all-round “education” for consultants?

Are you looking to move?

Over a third of respondents admit to having itchy feet and are looking to change jobs within the next year. If we examine this statistic in more detail, we find that a higher proportion of job seekers are within the larger consultancies. It’s also interesting to note that those consultants who have been practising for less than two years are more likely to move than the more seasoned practitioners.

Overall, half of those who admitted to wanting to move had only been looking for a matter of weeks, and the greatest response was from those who had been “on the market” for less than three months. Once one has accepted that the consultancy industry is snapping up consultants with voracity, it isn’t surprising that only 6 percent had been scouring the job market for more than a year.

We asked readers to rank those factors which are of most importance when considering a new job. Less than 40 percent raised their hands to admit to financial factors. The location of the business and career progression seem to be the real driving forces behind the acceptance of a job. Surprisingly, training scores lower than one might have expected. Only 13 percent of responses acknowledged the provision of training as being a deciding factor in the acceptance of a new job.

What are you looking at?

We asked readers to identify the areas of consultancy that they would be most attracted to in the coming year. Once again, IT was the sector most hankered after. Readers described the sector as “exciting”, “dynamic” and thought that those working in it would “never be short of work”.

Strategy, SAP and change management were also tempting areas for readers to move into.

Everybody harbours dreams of the ideal job. We asked readers to state which companies they admired and would love to work for. The captains of industry are going to have to hold their horses as the biggest response – 15 percent – came from those who dream of working for themselves. McKinsey, Virgin, Andersen Consulting, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Microsoft, Shell and Hewlett Packard are also held in high esteem. Only 2 percent of readers could admit to being happy where they are.

Reading habits

Which sources do readers consult in order to stay in touch with the latest consultancy trends and news? Three responses dwarf the rest. Articles in the trade press, word-of-mouth and in-house research represent the most vital sources of information. The consultants canvassed do not admit to being that influenced by information presented at exhibitions, or by direct mail. However, a notable 15 percent of consultants cited their own customers as being important sources of information.

Management Consultancy magazine is used as a vital information tool, with 37 percent reading the title as soon as it’s pulled from its polywrap bag and then filing it for future reference. A third of readers were photocopying articles and distributing them throughout the organisation.

Within the magazine, the cover story and news claimed the greatest reader interest, with appointments, as one might expect, also scoring highly.

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