Working as a consultant

There are more than 300,000 consultants working in the UK, according to the ONS, making the consulting market the largest segment in the professional services industry, larger than, for instance, engineering, accounting or law.

Consultancy, or advisory, spans of a wide spectrum of activities, ranging from strategy and management consulting to HR, procurement and technology consulting. Around 80% of the consultants in the UK work as independent advisors / freelancers – the rest of the advisors work at consultancy firms, from mammoths to tiny boutiques. A further (large) group of consultants work as internal consultants at organisations outside the consulting industry.

The section ‘Working as a consultant’ provides an overview of how it is to work as an advisor. The chapter kicks off with defining the consultancy industry order to gain a better understanding of what the industry entails. The following section looks at what consultants do, and why clients hire them, spanning advisory and implementation. The following section elaborates on the activities consultants perform and, lastly, the section 'types of consultants' takes a closer look at the different roles consultants play in the market.