IPA Provides Useful Information about the Management, Scientific and Technical Consulting Services Industry
Management, Scientific and Technical Consulting Services
- Although this industry ranks among the fastest growing through the year 2012, job competition should remain keen.
- Nearly one-quarter of all workers are self-employed.
- Seventy-two percent of workers have a bachelor’s degree or higher; 57 percent of all jobs are in managerial, business,
financial and professional occupations.
- This industry is one of the highest paying.
NATURE OF THE INDUSTRY
Management, scientific, and technical consulting firms influence how businesses, governments and institutions
make decisions. Often working behind the scenes, these firms offer resources that clients cannot provide themselves.
Usually, one of the resources is expertise—in the form of knowledge, experience, special skills or creativity;
another resource is time or personnel that the client cannot spare. Clients include large and small companies in
the private sector; Federal, State and local government agencies; institutions, such as hospitals, universities,
unions and nonprofit organizations; and foreign governments or businesses.
The management, scientific, and technical consulting services industry is diverse. Almost anyone with expertise
in a given area can enter consulting. Management consulting firms advise on almost every aspect of corporate
operations, including marketing; finance; corporate strategy and organization; manufacturing processes; information
systems and data processing; electronic commerce (e-commerce) or business; and human resources, benefits and
compensation. Scientific and technical consulting firms provide technical advice relating to almost all non-
management organizational activities, including compliance with environmental and workplace safety regulations,
the application of technology and knowledge of sciences such as biology, chemistry and physics.
Larger consulting firms usually provide expertise in a variety of areas, whereas smaller consulting firms
generally specialize in one area of consulting. Administrative management and general management consulting
services firms, for example, offer advice on an organization’s day-to-day operations, such as budgeting, asset
management, strategic and financial planning, records management and tax strategy. A manufacturing firm building
a new factory might seek the help of consultants to determine in which geographic location it would incur the
lowest startup costs. A family opening a new restaurant might hire a consulting firm to help develop a business
plan and provide tax advice. Consulting firms also might advise clients in the implementation and use of the latest
office technology or computer programs that could increase office productivity. Some clients might turn to consulting
firms to manage the financial aspects of their business. Consultants may provide insight into why a division of the
company is not profitable or may recommend an investment strategy that meets the client’s needs.
Effective management of a client’s human capital is the primary work of consulting firms that offer human
resources consulting services. Firms that focus on this area advise clients on effective personnel policies,
employee salaries and benefits, employee recruitment and training and employee assessment. A client with high
employee turnover might seek the help of a consulting firm in improving its retention rate. Consulting firms
might also be asked to help determine the appropriate level of employer and employee contributions to health-
care and retirement plans. Increasingly, firms are outsourcing, or contracting out, the administrative functions
of their human resources division to human resources consulting firms that manage timekeeping and payroll systems
and administer employee benefits.
One human resources consulting specialty is executive search consulting or executive recruiting. Firms in this
industry are typically referred to as "headhunters." Executive search consulting firms are involved in locating
the best candidates for top-level management and executive positions. Clients hire executive recruiters in order
to save time and preserve confidentiality. Executive search firms keep a large database of executives’ resumes
and search this database for clients in order to identify candidates who would likely complement the client’s
corporate culture and strategic plan. Information on these candidates is then submitted to the clients for their
selection. Executive search consulting firms also might conduct prescreening interviews and reference and background
checks. Some executive search consulting firms specialize in recruiting for a particular industry or geographic area,
while others conduct general searches.
Marketing consulting services firms provide assistance to firms in areas such as developing new products and
pricing, forecasting sales, planning and implementing a marketing strategy and improving customer service. A
pharmaceutical firm, for example, might seek advice as to whether it should remove a drug from the market, or
a retail clothing chain might seek advice regarding the most effective way to market and sell its clothes—in
a direct-mail or online catalog or over the telephone. Clients also might seek the help of a marketing consultant
to set up business franchises or license their products.
Another specialty within management consulting is process, physical distribution, and logistics consulting
services. Firms in this industry specialize in the production and distribution of goods, from the first stages
of securing suppliers to the delivery of finished goods to consumers. Such firms give advice on improvements in
the manufacturing process and productivity, product quality control, inventory management, packaging, order
processing, the transportation of goods and materials management and handling. A domestic manufacturing firm might
hire a logistics consulting firm to calculate shipping rates and import duties for goods being exported or to
determine the most cost-effective method of shipping products. Consulting firms in this industry also advise on the
latest technology that links suppliers, producers and customers together to streamline the manufacturing process.
Finally, firms in the industry might suggest improvements to the manufacturing process in order to utilize inputs better,
increase productivity or decrease the amount of excess inventory.
While some management consulting firms specialize in a particular business process, others provide a range of business
services specific to one industry, such as health care. Many professionals—for example, doctors—lack the business
expertise to manage their practice effectively. Consultants advise these clients regarding the same management issues
as they do other businesses, such as staff recruitment, compensation and benefits, asset management, marketing and other
business operations. Some consultants offer advice on matters pertaining directly to the industry in question—for instance,
for the healthcare industry, compliance with biohazard removal and patient confidentiality regulations, avoidance of
malpractice suits, and methods of dealing with managed care and health insurance companies. Industries such as legal
services, telecommunication and utilities also have consulting firms that specialize in specific issues.
Scientific and technical consulting services firms provide services similar to those offered by management consulting
firms, but the information is not management related. One of the largest specialties in scientific and technical consulting
services is environmental consulting services. Environmental consulting firms identify and evaluate environmental problems,
such as inspecting sites for water contaminants, and offer solutions. Some firms in the industry advise clients about
controlling the emissions of environmental pollutants, cleaning up contaminated sites, establishing a recycling program,
and complying with government environmental laws and regulations. A real estate developer, for example, might hire an
environmental consulting firm to help design and develop property without damaging natural habitats, such as wetlands. A
manufacturing or utilities firm might hire environmental consultants to assess whether the firm is meeting government
emissions standards, in order to avoid penalties before government regulators inspect the property in question. Finally,
many government agencies contract work out to environmental consulting firms to assess environmental contamination in a
particular geographic area or to evaluate the costs and benefits of new regulations.
Safety consulting services firms provide services similar to those offered by government agencies and private businesses,
identifying workplace safety hazards and ensuring that employers are in compliance with government worker safety
regulations. Safety consulting firms might identify hazardous materials that may cause illness or injury, assess safety
risks associated with machinery, investigate accidents and assess the likelihood of lawsuits resulting from safety code
violations. Some might specialize in a particular type of hazardous material, while other consultants might specialize
in a particular industry’s safety, such as that of construction, mining or food processing. As with environmental
consulting firms, many government agencies contract work out to safety consulting firms for help with safety engineering,
technical projects and various kinds of assessment.
Security consulting, by contrast, seeks to ensure the safety and security of an organization’s physical and human
assets that may be threatened by natural or manmade disasters. Clients might hire security consulting firms to assess a
building’s security needs. The firms may then protect the building against theft and vandalism by installing security
cameras, hiring security guards and providing employee background checks. Other security consultants study a building’s
design and recommend measures to protect it from damage from fires, tornadoes, floods, earthquakes or acts of terrorism.
Security consultants might also recommend emergency evacuation procedures in the event that these disasters occur.
Increasingly, clients are hiring security consulting firms to protect their confidential computer records against
hackers and viruses. Most recently, government agencies have hired security consulting firms to advise them on how to
protect national monuments and the national transportation, utility and defense infrastructure—airports, bridges,
nuclear reactor plants, water treatment plants and military barracks—against terrorism.
Scientific and technical consulting firms also advise on a diverse range of issues relating to the physical and social
sciences—issues having to with agriculture, biology, chemistry, economics, energy, and physics. Agricultural consulting
firms might advise on different farming techniques or machinery that increases agricultural production. Economic
consultants might develop forecasting models and advise clients about the potential for a recession or an increase in
interest rates that could affect business decisions. Energy consultants might advise clients on how to reduce costs by
implementing energy-saving machinery. Finally, biological, chemical and physics consultants might give theoretical or
applied expertise in their chosen field.
Management, scientific, and technical consulting has grown rapidly over the past several decades, with businesses
increasingly using consulting services. Using consultants is advantageous because these experts are experienced, are well
trained, and keep abreast of the latest technologies, government regulations, and management and production techniques.
In addition, consultants are cost effective, because they can be hired temporarily and can perform their duties objectively,
free of the influence of company politics.
The vast majority of firms in the management, scientific, and technical consulting industry are small, primarily because
new firms can enter the industry quite easily. Licensing, certification, and large capital outlays seldom are necessary
for an individual to become a consultant, and the work can be quite lucrative for those with the right education,
experience and contacts. As a result, many wage and salary workers in management, scientific and technical consulting
services eventually leave established firms to go into business for themselves. In addition, after developing specialized
expertise, people working in other industries often start their own consulting businesses and some experienced workers
perform consulting work after retiring.
Working conditions in management, scientific and technical consulting services are generally similar to those of most
office workers operating in a team environment. The work is rarely hazardous, except for workers in a few types of firm
performing certain types of jobs—for example, environmental or safety consultants who inspect sites for contamination
from hazardous materials. In 2002, the industry had only 1.7 injuries and illnesses per 100 full-time workers, compared
with an average of 5.3 throughout private industry.
Not all employees in this industry work under identical conditions. In 2002, workers in the industry averaged 35.3 hours
per week, a little above the national average of 33.9. However, most consultants who frequently must meet hurried deadlines
work long hours in stressful environments. Consultants whose services are billed hourly often are under pressure to manage
their time very carefully. Occasionally, weekend work also is necessary, depending upon the job that is being performed.
In addition, some projects might require many executives and consultants to travel extensively or live away from home for
extended periods. However, new technology, such as laptop computers with remote access to the firm’s computer server and
videoconferencing machines, allow some consultants to work from home or conduct meetings with clients in different locations,
reducing some of the need for business travel.
Most firms encourage employees to attend employer-paid time-management classes. The classes teach participants to reduce
the stress sometimes associated with working under strict time constraints. Also, with today’s hectic lifestyle, many
firms in this industry offer or provide health facilities or clubs that employees may use to maintain good health.
The management, scientific, and technical consulting services industry had about 732,000 wage and salary workers in
2002; an additional 241,000 workers were self-employed. The largest segment of the industry is administrative
management and general management consulting services, which employed 38 percent of workers in the industry in 2002.
Human resources and executive search consulting services made up the second largest employer with 14 percent of
workers, followed by marketing consulting, and process, physical distribution and logistics consulting services.
Environmental consulting services was the largest scientific and technical type of consulting and employed about 8
percent of workers.
The vast majority of establishments in the industry were fairly small, employing fewer than 5 workers. Self-employed
individuals operated many of these small firms. Despite the prevalence of small firms and self-employed workers,
large firms tend to dominate the industry. Approximately 35.3 percent of jobs are found in only about 1.4 percent of
the establishments, and some of the largest firms in the industry employ several thousand people.
Although employees in this industry work in all parts of the country, many workers are concentrated near large
OCCUPATIONS IN THE INDUSTRY
Most management, scientific, and technical consulting services are fairly specialized; still, the industry comprises
a variety of occupations. Some of these occupations, such as environmental engineers, are specific to only one segment
of the industry, whereas others, such as secretaries and administrative assistants, can be found throughout the industry.
Compared with other industries, the management, scientific and technical consulting services industry has a relatively
high proportion of highly educated workers. About 43 percent have a bachelor’s degree, compared with 19 percent of the
workers throughout the entire economy. Nearly 30 percent have a master’s degree or higher, compared with 9 percent of
the workers throughout the economy. Certain jobs may have stringent entry requirements. For example, some management
consulting firms prefer to hire only workers who have a master’s degree in business administration (MBA). Other positions
can be attained only after many years of related experience.
In management, scientific, and technical consulting services, workers in management and business and financial
operations occupations and in professional and related occupations make up 57 percent of employment. These same
occupations account for about 30 percent of workers across the entire economy. This group of workers makes up a
disproportionate share of jobs in the industry, because workers with education and experience in business management
and workers with scientific, engineering and other technical backgrounds conduct most of the consulting work in the
Top executives, the largest managerial occupation in the industry, includes both the highest-level
managers—such as chief executive officers and vice presidents—and many top managers with diverse duties. In consulting
firms, top executives with partial ownership and profit-sharing privileges might be referred to as partners. Top-level
managers or partners shape company policy, often with the help of other executives or a board of directors. They
oversee all activities of the firm, coordinate the duties of subordinate executives and managers and often bear ultimate
responsibility for a firm’s performance. Midlevel managers or partners may oversee all the activities of one department
or all the activities of one or more clients.
Management analysts, also called management consultants, is the largest occupation in the
management consulting industry. Their work is quite varied, depending on the nature of the project and the client’s
needs. In general, consultants study and analyze business-related problems, synthesizing information from many
sources, and recommend solutions. The solutions can include overhauling a client’s computer systems, offering early
retirement incentives to middle managers, recommending a switch in health plans, improving just-in-time inventory
systems, hiring public-relations firms or selling troublesome parts of businesses. Because of the varied nature of
these jobs, firms hire workers with diverse backgrounds, such as engineering, finance, actuarial science, chemistry
and business. Many firms require consultants to have MBA’s, whereas others hire workers who have only bachelor’s
degrees. Many workers have experience in other industries prior to entering management consulting work.
Other management and business and financial operations occupations include administrative services managers,
who typically administer a consulting firm’s support services. These managers oversee secretaries, data entry keyers,
bookkeepers and other clerical staff. In the management consulting services industry, they also often supervise a
client’s clerical and support staff and do consulting work in that area. Advertising, marketing, promotions, public
relations, and sales managers oversee the consulting firm’s marketing and sales departments, researching and
targeting new clients and also helping on consulting projects having to do with marketing. Computer and information
systems managers ensure that the consulting firm’s computer and network systems are fully operational and oversee
other computer and technical workers, such as computer support specialists. These managers might also supervise certain
consulting projects involving computer and information technology. Financial managers prepare financial
statements and assess the financial health of firms. Often, they must have at least a bachelor’s degree in accounting
or finance. Human resources, training, and labor relations managers and specialists supervise the
activities of a consulting firm’s human resources department, managing personnel records, payroll, benefits and employee
recruitment and training. These managers might also supervise projects for clients in the human resources consulting
industry. In scientific and technical consulting firms, engineering and natural sciences managers oversee
the engineers and scientists working for their consulting firms. Accountants and auditors monitor firms’
financial transactions and often report to financial managers. More recently, accountants and auditors have been involved
in consulting projects for clients involving the preparation of financial statements, tax strategy, budget or retirement
planning and the implementation of accounting software.
Workers in professional and related occupations are employed mainly in the scientific and technical consulting portion
of the industry. Many of these workers are engineers and scientists who utilize their expertise through consulting.
For example, environmental engineers and environmental scientists and geoscientists are
employed by environmental consulting firms to evaluate environmental damage or assess compliance with environmental
laws and regulations. Other engineers, such as agricultural, biomedical, chemical, mining and geological, nuclear,
and petroleum engineers, and physical and life scientists, such as agricultural and food scientists,
biological scientists, chemists and materials scientists, as well as physicists and astronomers,
are employed by consulting firms specializing in their scientific disciplines. Architects and civil
and industrial engineers are sometimes employed by safety and security consulting firms to assess the construction
of buildings and other structures, such as bridges and to make recommendations regarding reinforcing these structures
Other professional and related workers include economists, market and survey researchers and lawyers
. Economists are employed by economic consulting firms to conduct economic research and advise clients on economic
trends. Market and survey researchers are mainly employed by marketing consulting firms to conduct surveys and research on
various topics. Lawyers are employed in virtually all management, scientific and technical consulting industries to represent
their consulting firms in case of a lawsuit and to advise the firms, as well as clients, on changes in laws and regulations
pertaining to their areas of expertise.
Designers in this industry are mostly graphic designers who use a variety of print, electronic, and film
media to create designs that meet clients' commercial needs. Using computer software, these workers develop the overall
layout and design of magazines, newspapers, journals, corporate reports and other publications. They also may produce
promotional displays and marketing brochures for products and services and may design distinctive company logos for
products and businesses. An increasing number of graphic designers develop material to appear on Internet homepages.
The rapid spread of computers and information technology has generated a need for highly trained computer specialists
to design and develop new hardware and software systems and to incorporate new technologies. Systems analysts
design new computer systems or redesign old systems for new applications. They solve computer problems and enable computer
technology to meet their organization’s particular needs. For example, a systems analyst from a management consulting firm
might be hired by a wholesale firm to implement an online inventory database. Computer software engineers,
by contrast, can be involved in the design and development of software systems for the control and automation of
manufacturing, business, and management processes. Other computer specialists include computer support specialists
, who provide technical assistance, support, and advice to customers and users and database administrators,
who work with database management systems software and determine ways to organize and store data. Computer
specialists such as systems analysts, computer scientists, and computer engineers sometimes are referred to simply as
Technical workers also include computer programmers, who write programs and create software—often in
close conjunction with systems analysts—and engineering technicians, who aid engineers in research and
development. Like systems analysts and engineers, these workers are found primarily in the business and management
consulting segments of the industry.
Administrative support positions in management, scientific, and technical consulting services resemble those in other
industries, and account for 27 percent of industry employment. Particularly numerous are secretaries and
administrative assistants and bookkeeping, accounting and auditing clerks, who record and classify
financial data. The industry also employs many supervisors and managers of office and administrative support
workers, who oversee the support staff, often reporting to administrative services managers.
Management, scientific and technical consulting services firms do not produce any goods and, as a result, employ
relatively few services, sales and production workers, who, together with the remaining occupational groups, make up
only about 11 percent of industry employment.
TRAINING AND ADVANCEMENT
Training and advancement opportunities vary widely within management, scientific, and technical consulting services,
but most jobs in the industry are similar in three respects. First, clients usually hire consulting firms on the basis
of the expertise of their staffs, so proper training of employees is vital to the success of firms. Second, although a
bachelor’s or higher degree generally is preferred by employers, most jobs also require extensive on-the-job training
or related experience. Third, advancement opportunities are best for workers with the highest levels of education.
Most consulting specialties provide a variety of different ways to enter the profession. Whereas very few universities
or colleges offer formal programs of study in management consulting, many fields provide a suitable background. These
fields include most areas of business and management, such as marketing and accounting, as well as economics, computer
and information sciences, and engineering. Some schools offer programs in logistics and safety that relate directly to
consulting jobs in those areas. Some college graduates with a bachelor’s or master’s degree, but without any previous
work experience, are hired right out of school by consulting firms and go through extensive on-the-job training. The
method and extent of training can vary with the type of consulting involved and the nature of the firm. Some college
students might have an advantage over other candidates if they complete an internship with a consulting firm during
their studies. Other workers with related experience are hired as consultants later in their careers. For example,
former military or law enforcement workers often work for security consulting firms. Similarly, some government workers
with experience in enforcing regulations might join an environmental or safety consulting firm. Consultants in
scientific fields often have a master’s or doctoral degree and some previously have taught at colleges and universities.
Most organizations require their employees to possess a variety of skills. To a large extent, a degree is only one
desired qualification; workers must also possess proven analytical and problem-solving abilities, excellent written
and verbal communications skills, experience in a particular specialty, assertiveness and motivation, strong attention
to detail and a willingness to work long hours if necessary. Consultants also must possess high ethical standards,
because most consulting firms and clients will contact references and former clients to make sure that the quality of
their work was of the highest standard.
Management and leadership classes and seminars are available throughout the United States. Some are hosted by volunteer
senior executives and management experts representing a variety of businesses and industries. A number of large firms
invest a great deal of time and money in training programs, educating new hires in formal classroom settings over several
weeks or even months and some even have separate training facilities. Small firms often combine formal and on-the-job
The Institute of Management Consultants USA, Inc. (IMC USA), offers a wide range of professional development programs
and resources, such as meetings and workshops that can be helpful for management consultants. The IMC USA also offers
the certified management consultant (CMC) designation to those who meet minimum levels of education and experience,
submit reviews from clients, and pass an interview and exam covering the IMC USA’s code of ethics. Management consultants
with a CMC designation must be recertified every 3 years.
Other areas of specialization, such as logistics and safety, also offer certification programs for professionals, but
these programs are not necessarily designed for consultants. Still, consultants might find it beneficial to receive
designations from these programs as well. Although certification is not mandatory for management consultants, it may
give a jobseeker a competitive advantage.
Entry-level positions within the management consulting industry involve very little responsibility at the beginning.
Striving for and displaying quality work results in more responsibility. Most management consulting firms have two
entry-level positions. Workers who hold bachelor’s degrees usually start as research associates; those with graduate
degrees generally begin as consultants. Successful workers progress through the ranks from research associate to
consultant, management consultant, senior consultant, junior partner, and, after many years, senior partner. In some
firms, however, it is very difficult for research associates to progress to the next level without further education.
As a result, many management consulting firms offer tuition assistance, grants or reimbursement plans so that workers
can attain an MBA or some other degree.
Almost all workers in management consulting services receive on-the-job training; some have prior work experience
in a related field. Most managerial and supervisory workers gain experience informally, overseeing a few workers or
part of a project under the close supervision of a senior manager. Workers who advance to high-level managerial or
supervisory jobs in management services firms usually have an extensive educational background. Less commonly, some
large firms offer formal management training.
The management, scientific and technical consulting services industry offers excellent opportunities for self-
employment. Because capital requirements are low, highly experienced workers can start their own businesses fairly
easily and cheaply; indeed, every year, thousands of workers in this industry go into business for themselves. Some
of these workers come from established management, scientific, and technical consulting services firms, whereas others
leave industry, government, or academic jobs to start their own businesses. Still others remain employed in their
primary organizations, but have their own consulting jobs on the side.
Earnings in management, scientific, and technical consulting services typically are considerably higher than the
average for the entire economy. Non-supervisory wage and salary workers in the industry averaged $809 a week in 2002,
compared with $506 for workers throughout private industry.
Also, both managerial workers and high-level professionals can make considerably more than the industry average.
According to a 2002 survey by the Association of Management Consulting Firms, the average total cash compensation
(salary plus bonus or profit sharing) for research associates was $47,826; for entry-level consultants, $61,496;
for management consultants, $78,932; for senior consultants, $112,716; for junior partners, $168,998; and for senior
According to a 2003 survey conducted by Abbot, Langer and Associates, the median annual cash compensation for junior
consultants was $48,248; for consultants, $58,817; for senior consultants, $80,000; for principal consultants, $98,000;
and for senior or executive vice presidents (with an ownership interest in the firm), $144,200.
Besides earning a straight salary, many workers receive additional compensation, such as profit sharing, stock
ownership, or performance-based bonuses. In some firms, bonuses can constitute one-third of annual pay.
Only about 2 percent of workers in management, scientific, and technical consulting services belong to unions or
are covered by union contracts, compared with 15 percent of workers in all industries combined.
Between 2002 and 2012, wage and salary jobs in the management, scientific, and technical consulting services
industry are expected to grow by 55 percent—three and half times the 16 percent growth projected for all industries
combined, ranking the industry fifth among the most rapidly growing ones. All areas of consulting should experience
strong growth. Still, despite the projected growth in the industry, job competition should remain keen because the
prestigious and independent nature of the work and the generous salary and benefits attract more jobseekers than
openings every year. Because of the high degree of competition, those with the most education and job experience
will likely have the best prospects.
Projected job growth can be attributed primarily to economic growth and the continuing complexity of business.
A growing number of businesses means increased demand for advice in all areas of business planning, as consultants
draft business plans and budgets, develop strategy, and determine appropriate salaries and benefits for employees.
The expansion of franchised restaurants and retail stores will spur demand for marketing consultants to determine
the best locations and develop marketing plans. The expansion of business will also create opportunities for
logistics consulting firms trying to link new suppliers with producers and to get the finished goods to consumers.
Finally, businesses will continue to need advice on compliance with government workplace safety and environmental
laws. Clients need consultants to keep them up to date on the latest changes in legislation affecting their businesses,
including changes to tax laws, environmental regulations, and policies affecting employee benefits and health care and
workplace safety. As a result, firms specializing in human resources, environmental and safety consulting should be in
The increasing use of new technology and computer software is another major factor contributing to growth in all
areas of consulting. Management consulting firms help clients implement new accounting and payroll software, whereas
environmental and safety consulting firms advise clients on the use of computer technology in monitoring harmful
substances in the environment or workplace. Consulting firms might also help design new computer systems or online
distribution systems. One of the biggest areas upon which technology has had an impact is logistics consulting. The
Internet has greatly increased the ability of businesses to link with their suppliers and customers, increasing
productivity and decreasing costs. Technology-related consulting projects have become so important that many traditional
consulting firms are now merging with or setting up joint ventures with technology companies so that each firm has
access to the other’s resources in order to serve clients better.
The trend toward outsourcing and mergers also will create opportunities for consulting firms. In order to cut costs,
many firms are outsourcing administrative and human resources functions to consultants specializing in these services.
This should provide opportunities in human resources consulting for firms that manage their clients’ payroll systems
and benefits programs. At the same time, increasing competition has led to more business mergers, providing opportunities
for consulting firms to assist in the process.
Globalization, too, will continue to provide numerous opportunities for consulting firms wishing to expand their
services, or help their clients expand, into foreign markets. Consulting firms can advise clients on strategy, as
well as foreign laws, regarding taxes, employment, worker safety and the environment. The growth of international
businesses has created numerous opportunities for logistics consulting firms, because now businesses have an
international network of suppliers and consumers, which requires more coordination.
Most recently, an increased emphasis on protecting a firm’s employees, facilities and information against
deliberate acts of sabotage has created numerous opportunities for security consultants. These consultants
provide assistance on every aspect of security, from protecting against computer viruses to reinforcing buildings
against bomb blasts. Logistics consulting firms also are finding opportunities helping clients secure their supply
chain against interruptions that might arise from terrorist acts, such as the disruption of shipping or railroad
facilities. As security concerns grow, rising insurance costs, as well as the threat of lawsuits, are providing
added incentives for businesses to protect the welfare of their employees.
Growth in management, scientific and technical consulting services might be hampered by increasing competition
from nontraditional consulting firms, such as investment banks, accounting firms, technology firms, and law firms.
As consulting firms continue to expand their services, they will be forced to compete with a more diverse group of
firms that provide similar services.
Economic downturns also can have an adverse effect on employment growth in consulting. As businesses are forced
to cut costs, consultants may be among the first expenses that businesses eliminate. Furthermore, growth in some
consulting specialties, such as executive search consulting, is directly tied to the health of the industries in
which they operate. Still, some consulting firms might experience growth during recessions because, as clients
look to cut costs and remain competitive, they might seek the advice of consultants.
Industry data is republished with permission by the Bureau of Labor Statistics