{ "media_type": "text", "post_content": "How are your “support functions” (HR, marketing, finance, etc) treated? We are second class citizens, with less: training, growth opportunities, inclusion in firm leadership calls/gatherings, etc.", "post_id": "5ccdc079d86dff001b66408d", "reply_count": 33, "vote_count": 10, "bowl_id": "552d1d24dc1c586b09d2d051", "bowl_name": "Consulting" }

How are your “support functions” (HR, marketing, finance, etc) treated? We are second class citizens, with less: training, growth opportunities, inclusion in firm leadership calls/gatherings, etc.

likehelpful
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As an EA, I can speak from personal experience that it varies greatly practice to practice. Most people have been wonderful to me, but I am overqualified and am not the demographic that the firm has hired historically for that role. There are people who honestly expect and prefer their admin to be poor, uneducated, and from a lower socioeconomic class. I would like to say they are bad people but it’s more of a reflection of their insecurity than on a diverse group of people making an honest living. And yes, one of those guys admitted that to my face.

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There is Us vs Them to some degree re support functions in every professional sales and service firm - from banking through law to advertising to consulting. Having seen many of these firms, consulting is certainly better than law, while banking (with the rise of risk and compliance) has balanced out a bit. That said, the roles are different, the talent pools are different, the trajectory and expectations are different, so to expect the same is somewhat naive. Here for the last 3 years (out of 20) I’ve found most support staff reasonably well treated, at least by the senior partners I work with.

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Take this in a most respectful way....overhead functions are always treated differently from revenue generating groups.

likesmart

As someone in a support role now who used to be a sales rep, I wholeheartedly agree and accept that

Same dynamic at all consulting companies. If you aren't revenue creating you are a second class citizens. Internal corp strategy groups are a bit different. Better treatment there, but you have CEO/CSO/CFO backing.

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Everyone is respected. But don’t for a moment think that an HR colleague gets the same comp, investment and training as a consultant. They will get what is needed for their role, and every role is different.

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Thanks McK2. For sure not everyone is respected. That’s kinda obvious. While logically correct that a counter example invalidates a proposition, it misses the point in the real world. To state my prior point more accurately, I would assert, based on personal experience and over data over 20 years as a non consultant with McK, across 3 regions, that most consultants treat most non-consultants respectfully. We could have an interesting conversation about which consulting populations are the worst; it might or might surprise you (depending on your own biases and assumptions).

I am confused. Are you a consultant or are your working at ATK in one of the support (non-client facing) functions? At my firm the internal group is non-client facing (eg working in HR, Finance, etc.) and is known for their steady WLB, so it’s a trade off. They don’t generate $$$ but support the firm’s operations. Very different career path and would assume same in most consulting firms.

likesmart

I work in a support function. I don’t expect compensation to be the same but there is a low level of respect and an us vs them mentality.

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All people should be treated with respect but you can’t be surprised that there are more opportunities for the consultant (or other revenue generating / client facing functions) are higher. The ROI on those investments are just higher. At BCG we invest in training for many of our BST staff (courses for finance folks, leadership training for internal mgrs etc) but only because it’s relevant for their roles. They still get less than our consulting team.

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Definitely treated as back office, slow track. That said we have a respectful environment for everyone.

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They’re treated well at Accenture. Path to MD is possible, compensation is on par with those who are on the line, and work-life balance is great

likesmarthelpful

...I’d like to switch companies but don’t want to sign up for the same dynamic. Wondering which firms value their people and see them as the engine which keeps the machine running-not as overhead they constantly want to reduce. TIA

likehelpful

Do not go to McKinsey then.

likefunny

You’ll get a bit of that at all firms because internal services don’t generate revenue. At Deloitte I believe that for services folks, once they hit a manager equivalent level, they have access to things like specialized training and milestone trainings, etc. But as a rule of thumb, the overhead planned into those roles is very slim on purpose.

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I am in the business process group and in my 5 years at KPMG I have always felt appreciated. Office leadership makes it a point to be inclusive and recognizes all groups regardless of function.

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KPMG 3: In what capacity?

I think your answer is at none of the firms listed above. I think there are firms where the client-facing roles recognise that they depend on support from these internal functions to do their revenue-generating work. In my group, we try to include admins in some of our celebrations/team events (although we probably should more)

uplifting

People at Slalom seem happy overall. Maybe it’s just bc the market I’m in is smaller, so there doesn’t seem to be a sense of hierarchy.

There are no second class people at top western companies, only second class (and lower) skillsets.

What are you expectations? What kind of treatment do you think you deserve? Everyone respect HRs and support functions. There are trainings for the relevant role. But this does not mean they will suddenly get invited to shareholder council meetings. I don’t get what else are you looking for here?

I believe that our support staff get the same training and benefits that the client-facing staff do (EAs might be different). My old manager actually took a job integral because it seemed interesting and wouldn't have any impact on her salary or benefits, but writings have a better wlb.

OP: What type of role are you in now?

Sure

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