The consulting industry offers a wide variety of career opportunities and a broad range of responsibilities and company sizes. Depending on what career you have in mind as a consultant, changing companies can offer many benefits after just a few years. Changing within the industry, rather than leaving consulting completely, can be a way to change the focus of your work, for example, or to move up within the hierarchy both within a firm and in terms of size or prestige of the firms. In this article we will highlight the benefits of such a change and explain why this can be a wise decision.
Greater challenges and a breath of fresh air
The consulting industry is incredibly diverse and offers a wide range of opportunities for graduates and experienced professionals. Simply deciding between areas such as management and strategy consulting or topics such as change management, leadership consulting or automotive consulting can take a back seat when choosing your first job and justify a change of company in the near future. If, for example, you find that your current area of responsibility has little to do with the topics you are interested in, it might be a good idea to look beyond the company's internal horizons.
Especially in view of your working hours, the daily workload and the effort that goes hand in hand with the job of a consultant and the pro's and con's in a top consulting firm, it is important that you can work on topics that you are passionate about and that motivate you again and again to delve deeper into areas of responsibility and to master them perfectly.
Higher salary and better career opportunities
If we're honest, no one works for the challenges alone. However, it is precisely within the first few years of a career that larger salary jumps can be achieved, especially when changing companies. While entry-level salaries are usually subject to a certain framework and are largely identical for all applicants or differ with a bonus or special payment, this is quite different with work experience and when applying for a job with work experience.
When changing jobs within consulting, consultants can easily expect salary jumps of 20 - 30%, as in addition to the base salary, a signing bonus and/or relocation bonus can be expected. Depending on what you have already achieved in your first one or two years, you can make even higher jumps in some areas.
For example, you can achieve the biggest salary improvements by:
If you were able to gain practical experience in a certain industry or a current topic in your first few years of consulting, or if your studies focused on areas that have only recently become more popular (consider, for example, the phenomenal rise of ChatGPT and other AIs), you have the best chance of being hired by a company that is looking for new employees in this area.
Have you spent much of your time on the road working on projects and demonstrating your skills to clients? If so, you've learned something valuable that you didn't have to show as a graduate. Use this to get yourself interviewed at larger or boutique firms and impress them with your enhanced skills!
Relationships & Networking:
Do you know more consultants now than you did two years ago? How many interesting companions, clients or colleagues have you met that could help you with valuable experience? Use your network and expand your relationships to benefit here as well.
Benefits can also be a deciding factor. From better insurance benefits to more extensive training programs, large consulting firms often offer a total package that is well above the industry average. This is not just about material benefits, but also offers such as mentoring programs that promote your personal and professional development.
Internationality and geographical advantages
If you are not tied to one location, a change can also offer regional advantages. You already know that good salaries are paid in the consulting industry, but what about the differences per city or per region and country? If you are free to decide here, a move abroad may be an option due to your connections and networks, or you can finally take the job in your dream city.
Depending on the country, the salary differences are greater, for example, from north to south or east to west than to the neighboring country. Especially the industrialized areas in Europe (Germany, France, Spain, Italy, UK) have a strong north-south gradient. Not to mention east-west salaries within Germany. In the U.S., the coasts are far ahead of the continental areas. A salary in San Francisco or New York is therefore significantly different from those in Cincinnatti, Omaha or Wichita. The situation is similar in Australia, Canada, Singapore or Russia and China, where the coastal regions are particularly popular, in addition to the country's capital city.
Work culture and environment
A move can also mean joining a firm with a culture and work environment that better fits your values and work expectations. Top consulting firms often invest in the continuing education of their employees, whether through internal training programs, workshops, or funding for advanced degrees.
With 1-2 years of experience, you may already be in a better position to assess your future career path. What do you think about a possible exit? If you are thinking of switching from consulting to business, you can gain important experience and at the same time prove that you can quickly familiarize yourself with new areas.
The work-life balance can also improve with a change. Consulting firms have different cultures and work models. If you're looking for a firm that offers more flexible hours or better remote/home office options, a switch could be the answer.
Why a change within the consulting industry can pay off
In addition to new challenges and a better work-life balance, to higher salaries and better career opportunities, a change within the first two years can offer many benefits. However, it's important to plan your change carefully and make sure the new company matches your professional and personal goals. A well thought-out change can take your career to the next level and open up new opportunities in consulting.