Is Consultancy an Appealing Option?

With job cuts coming, consultancy could become an appealing career option – but some skills are more sought after than others.

from voluntary sector network:

Is consultancy your next career move?

For voluntary sector professionals with a strong track record, switching to consultancy can be a tempting prospect.

… Some may be forced to consider consultancy after redundancy or early retirement. It’s also likely that many contemplate the move because they are unhappy at work. A survey by the Association of Chief Executives of Voluntary Organisations (Acevo) on pay last year found 70% of its members had seen pay frozen or cut. A quarter reported an increase in stress; the same proportion reported increased workloads.

Opportunities for managers who have steered organisations through mergers or restructures are likely to emerge. “There may be more demand in the near future,” says Seb Elsworth, head of policy at Acevo. “Organisations need to change. But they’re not yet sure what that change is – and that’s where consultants can come in.”

Fundraising skills are also in demand. “Clients losing public money want new income streams,” says John Baguely, chief executive of the International Fundraising Consultancy. “They want people who can both plan a forward strategy and help them carry it out.”

But consulting firms demand strong track records and solid experience, warns Tony Elischer, managing director of fundraising specialist Think Consulting. He says competition is tough: “We want a minimum of 10 years. Without that, it’s very hard to advise clients, who have increasingly high expectations.

“Too many people believe they can be consultants after two or three years of experience.”