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Has consulting lost its luster? Anyone notice the declining caliber of talent in consulting? …

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Does not have the cache it once did:
- remote = no jetset lifestyle, points perks, excitement of going many different places
- social media = everyone realizing consultancies work us to the bone, 60+ hrs/week is normal for not great pay (especially when you look at $/hr!)
- lots of giant implementations projects instead of cool strategy explorations
- SO much competition, so many other cool companies to work for

So yeah, the gig is up. Consultancies need to rethink their entire DNA to remain relevant and attract talent. Re-examine model of “work as many hours as it takes to please the client”—even they don’t know WTF they want and the Partner is following them around catering to their indecision while making us all work like mad. No thank you.

likesmartfunny

This is the type of analysis that resonates with me. I also think there's something to be said about advanced analytics and the general shift in technological solutions providing the biggest competitive advantages. Pure strategy work still exists and will always to an extent, but consultancies are clearly shifting focus to higher growth areas e.g. McKinsey Digital.

Another point to bring up is the democratization of knowledge. Business consultants aren't gatekeepers of some "secret sauce" since anyone can dig deep on topics on the internet. While the experience and expertise still makes a difference that wall is definitely weaker now than in the past.

likesmart

I don’t understand the “tech pays more” critique.

I graduated from college ~20 years ago. Back then… tech paid more. This is not some sort of new phenomenon.

NFL quarterbacks get paid more. Physics PhDs who become quants at hedge funds get paid more. Top software engineers get paid more. Brad Pitt gets paid more. Also, most people in consulting can’t do those jobs well because very few people have the skill and talent to do so.

My dream of quarterbacking the Carolina Panthers ended when I realized I was overweight and unathletic. I stink at coding, so software engineering was a dead end too. Fortunately, those don’t get in way of solving business problems. Find something you’re good at and that you like and quit worrying about prestige or trying to compare with what other people who have other talents and interests are doing.

likesmart

This is the comment! 🙏🏾

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That’s what happens when you fast track careers and think 2 years of experience gives someone knowledge that used to take a decade to build. No offense to folks here and don’t mean to generalize. Just because information flow is faster, doesn’t mean candidates can absorb quicker or develop the maturity and emotional intelligence needed to advise and develop strategies impacting millions of human beings. I see a lot of consultants like fish out of water, some with manager titles, and output that is recycled at best and full of impractical and disastrous recommendations. When you dig deep, you see that they have not been given time to mature their research and problem solving skills. They do look the part, however.

likesmarthelpful

Totally agree. Would also add that those who came from industry tend to have more empathy for their clients bc they have lived through the frustration of many of their issues. They also often have better foresight to make recommendations that take into consideration work culture and industry politics.

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I’m noticing it a lot in this post, yes

likefunnysmart

It was certainly more attractive two years ago when it came with all the travel perks and points. Now it’s just like every other job. Every day looks the same. That was why I left my previous job. I couldn’t take doing the same thing from the same office around the same people day in and day out. I needed to change to keep life interesting. If I get bored or stagnant at work then I am in the rest of my life too. I have to love what I do for 2/3 of my time I spend at work haha. I miss the chaos of travel to my core.

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Good god this thread word for word expresses my consulting frustrations since the pandemic.

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I'm curious if there's any data on differences in generational values. One of the things that I've always searched for in consulting and haven't been able to find is a feeling of ownership of long term outcome - it's really the only thing that draws me to a potential jump to industry. In general I think this sentiment is held more strongly by younger generation (millennial and younger) although I have no data on this

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@EY2: I don't regret it at all. I got to go build a larger network, see how things work on the other side of the fence, and get more practical experience with data science.
I came back in where I probably would have been rank-wise if I'd stayed and had solid performance, but better comp I think. They don't want to publicly reward people leaving.

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Pay peanuts 🥜 get monkeys 🙊

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Monkey monkey

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I’m pretty good w consulting

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Folks are leaving consulting for industry for lower long-term income growth. They just don’t know it yet.

likefunny

All these replies give examples of tech industry, which notoriously has high pay. There are many other industries that exist…

I notice that many partners have an inflated sense of consulting compared to the market and reality. They seem oblivious to the current workforce trends and changes in generational preferences. When you have been striving and grinding for partnership it’s understandable that you would have a biased view of the career. Yes, it does pay well. But it doesn’t carry the same swagger it used to, especially without travel. Many of the best in consulting are leaving and we don’t seem to be getting the best coming in the door. From my view the work looks immense compared to the compensation with only darker skies in sight.

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Fully agreed. There are a lot of old guard partners that need to retire and make way for younger, but seasoned leaders to fill the ranks

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I think so. No travel perks, tech pays more, talent declining due to competition from tech.

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Agreed with this. Meanwhile as the good talent leaves we hire anyone we can guven how oversold we are

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was there ever any luster to begin with?

likesmartfunny

People become consultants, they leave consulting to join tech, they leave tech to be entrepreneurs, they exit their business and become VC/PE, they leave VC/PE to become CEO’s, the CEO’s hire consultants, the cycle repeats.

likefunnysmart

I honestly thought being a consultant was going to be fun . Wfh takes all the perks of meeting with your team and the clients and removes them. My experience and understanding of what being a consultant means is probably dramatically different then someone in my position 3 years ago .

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Completely feel this. My first day as a consultant was Feb 2020… quit after a year and 3 months because all the perks were gone and it was also extremely hierarchical and political. Current job also has the latter but I work 9-5 on a bad day whereas in consulting I worked 9-10 every day for 3 months in my last project…

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I left Deloitte for HashiCorp. I left a cloud strategy role.

With RSUs I will make $90k more a year for my first 4 years of vesting.

Also I don’t have a fixed utilization rate and resource
Managers hovering over my schedule now.

No brainer to go to big tech.

likesmart

Yup! Come to Gartner. Lots of interesting tech strategy projects. 30-40 hours / week max. Great work/life balance and culture! Msg me for referral.

likefunny

Hey, I have sent you my resume at the address you provided. Thanks in advance for referring me.
Harsh Desai

The talent isn’t declining in caliber. The work that consulting firms do is declining in quality and impact.

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Talent hasn’t been so great either. I have had analysts join my team who couldn’t even put together a decent slide deck or status report. Idk how they got the job. I had to take several admin jobs to network my way into consulting and then work my way up and I definitely could put together a presentation, report, etc. It’s like recruiting is going downhill too

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I think decks (slide decks? Where are you living? The 90s 😂) are one of the biggest reasons people are quitting consulting. When I worked in consulting, I hated making decks and I hated it when I became senior enough to “make” associates do it. Too much time is spent impressing clients, too less actual work gets done.

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Idk i know a lot of folks leaving, and also a lot of folks entering who always wanted to be consultants but have no idea what it really is. I think that’s what youre experiencing, sort of a burnout induced talent rotation.

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With so many consultants exiting into industry we can't impress our former brethren anymore 🤣🤣 gotta figure out new tricks.

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