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One of the great things about consultancy is the breadth of experience and skills you develop. Most consultants will, at some point, work with every function in a company (finance, marketing, sales, technology etc.). As such they have a huge choice of potential functions in which to ply their trade after consulting. We wanted to look into which functional areas are most exciting for consultants, so we analysed how consultants were behaving on our site (including over 100,000 data points). We were very surprised to see that “strategy” wasn’t top of the popularity index; instead, being replaced by more functional roles. Is it really time for consultants to get a “proper job”! And if so, what does that mean for employers?
Functional roles are even more popular than traditional strategy roles
Strategy roles are always very popular on Movemeon and garner a lot of interest from the top-tier consultants. However, when we looked in detail at which jobs the Movemeon community were finding most interesting, we were fascinated to see that strategy wasn’t top of the list: the top 5 most popular functions were all functional roles. In short, responsible for “getting things done” and not strategizing around the right answer. Consultants want an opportunity to have control over a business and see personal impact, even if they can utilise less of their experience from consulting.
Equally as fascinating were the less attractive functions: organisation, analytics, marketing and programme management. With the exception of marketing, these are all areas that don’t have an immediate impact on the bottom line: they are “middle” or “back” office, responsible for influencing other areas of the business.
Some functional roles are better suited to generalist consultants than others
Looking into this a bit further, we were interested to see that the ratio of application to views varied dramatically: after reading a job description, candidates were three times more likely to apply for a product management role than an operations role.
The conversion of applications to view can be driven by a number of factors. However, in its simplest terms it is a good indication of both how qualified the consultant feels they are and how well the role suits their skill set. Whilst there are some other interesting trends to pull out I wanted to focus on two: the very high conversion rate for product management and the very low conversion rate for operations roles.
Product management is a very interesting career given it didn’t exist 15 years ago. We’ve had many discussions with hiring managers around how product management can be a great fit with consultants: the fundamental skills of analysis, insights, strategy and implementation fit very closely with that of a strategy consultant. It’s great to see that consultants applying for these roles agree – and also find them exciting opportunities. There’s a huge demand, and a lack of supply, in this growing area: it might be consultants are well equipped to help fill this skills gap.
The low conversion rate for operations was also a very interesting insight. After some reflection, and further digging, our hypothesis is that this is driven by a lack of specific operational skills required for these roles. Whilst these roles are often attractive at the highest level (hence the very high click through), only consultants with operational expertise are capable of delivering what’s required.
What does this mean for hiring? Develop functional leadership programmes
First and foremost, to attract the best talent companies are going to have to ensure they offer roles that really impact the business. In addition to strategy roles, companies will have to develop “leadership programmes” where ex-consultants can start learning about how to really impact a business. We’ve worked with a number of employers to help think about different leadership programmes, from commercial through to operations, and we expect to see many more joining them over the coming years.
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