Job descriptions and industry overviews

Consultant: job description

21 Jun 2023, 15:37

Consultants aim to improve an organisation's position or profile by helping to solve problems, manage change and improve efficiency.

People talking, depicting a consultant job description

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The workload of a consultant can be heavy.

What does a consultant do? Typical employers | Qualifications and training | Key skills

Consultants (often referred to as management consultants) help organisations manage change and solve problems so they operate more efficiently and therefore profitably.

Consultants offer advice and expertise to client organisations to help them improve their business performance. Their work can focus on operations, strategy, management, IT, finance, marketing, HR and supply chain management across a wide range of industries and specialisms. As they work closely with clients, they may have to work on site or meet representatives from client organisations regularly.

Typical duties include:

  • working with clients to understand their needs and to agree the scope of each consulting project
  • conducting research, surveys and interviews and analysing data to gain insights into the business
  • analysing statistics
  • detecting issues and investigating ways to resolve them
  • assessing the pros and cons of possible strategies
  • exploring business problems and modelling different solutions
  • attending meetings and compiling and presenting information orally, visually and in writing to keep clients up to date on progress
  • making recommendations for improvement and presenting these to clients
  • implementing agreed solutions
  • developing and implementing new procedures or training to support the changes proposed.

Consulting is known for involving long hours and this is often true, despite recent home-working arrangements. While you may not need to travel as much, projects can still be complex and deadlines tight, and colleagues may be in other timezones.

Typical employers of consultants

Typical employers of consultants include:

  • international consultancy firms
  • strategy consulting firms
  • specialist consultancy firms in areas such as strategy, finance, HR and IT
  • small niche firms offering advice to specific industries, such as healthcare or the public sector.

Graduate consulting jobs are advertised here on, via careers services and on national job sites such as Guardian Jobs.

Salary survey websites suggest that salaries for graduate consultants start from around £37,000. Many firms also pay a yearly bonus on top of a salary.

Qualifications and training required

A career in consulting is mostly open only to graduates and those who have completed related apprenticeships.

If you are a graduate, your degree can be in any subject, although business, management, economics, mathematics or statistics can be advantageous. You usually need at least a 2.1 degree but some firms have recently opened their graduate roles up to people with lower degree classifications.

Competition for graduate vacancies tends to be fierce, so an internship or placement can boost your application. Look out for careers events run by firms too, as these will give you insights into the profession and whether it is right for you. The closing date for many consulting internships is in February. In addition, gaining membership of the IC by undertaking their qualifications shows commitment and may aid your application.

Key skills for consultants

  • Commercial awareness
  • Good numerical skills
  • Attention to detail
  • Analytical skills
  • Excellent interpersonal skills
  • Tact and persuasive ability
  • Teamworking skills
  • IT and presentation skills
  • Excellent communication skills, both written and oral
  • Self-motivation.

Foreign language abilities can also be useful.

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