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The consulting services industry includes firms providing consulting on practically every aspect of corporate operations including specialized services such as human resources, environmental, IT, logistics, e-commerce, manufacturing processes and marketing consulting. The major consulting services sectors are strategic management consulting, business strategy and planning consulting, and marketing management consulting. Scientific and technical consulting companies provide technical advice to nearly all non-management company activities such as application of technology and the application of sciences including chemistry, biology and physics.

Technology plays an increasingly vital role in consulting services. Consulting firms often pitch and develop sophisticated software solutions such as customer relationship management (CRM), enterprise resource planning (ERP) and sales force automation (SFA).

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Consulting Services Industry Facts
  • The U.S. consulting services industry has approximately 130,000 firms (First Research, 2011 report)
  • The U.S. consulting services industry has a combined annual revenue of about $140 billion (First Research, 2011 report)
  • The top 50 consulting services firms account for less than 30 percent of total industry revenue (First Research, 2011 report)
  • The worldwide consulting services industry produces more than $250 billion on an annual basis (First Research, 2011 report)
  • In 2008, the administrative management and general management consulting sector had the largest number of establishments in the management, scientific and technical consulting services industry with a 39.7 share (Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS))

Consulting Services Industry Employment Background

The management, scientific and technical consulting services industry is very diverse and includes a wide variety of occupations. Just about anyone with expertise in a specific area can be a consultant.

Job opportunities are available in the three major types of consulting firms: Large diversified companies, medium-sized management firms and boutique companies. Boutique companies have focused areas of consulting expertise in specific industries, technologies, functional areas or regions of the world.

Management consultants provide advice to senior and middle managers regarding the operations or strategic direction of various functions in the business, including finance, IT, virtual management, marketing, HR, and operations.

Scientific and technical consultants offer advice related to environmental, security, safety and other issues. Environmental consulting services is one of the largest specialities in the scientific and technical consulting services industry.

The broad consulting services category also includes jobs in consulting sectors such as political, trial, public affairs, foreclosure and communications.

Consulting Services Industry Employment Statistics

  • The average annual revenue per worker is about $140,000 (First Research, 2011 report)
  • In 2008 the management, scientific and technical consulting services industry had about 1 million workers (BLS)
  • In 2008, 35.8 percent of employees in the management, scientific and technical consulting services industry had management, business and financial occupations (BLS)
  • 26.2 of employees in this industry had professional and related occupations in 2008 (BLS)
  • 14.6 percent of employees in this industry had management analyst positions in 2008 (BLS)
  • In 2008 the vast majority of firms in the industry were fairly small, employing less than five workers (BLS)
  • About 41 percent of the positions are provided by firms with 50 or more employees and some of the largest companies have several thousand employees (BLS)

Consulting Services Industry Employment Outlook

The management, scientific and technical consulting services industry is forecasted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics to be the fastest growing industry over the next decade. However, due to the number of people seeking work in the industry, competition for jobs is projected to remain high. The BLS projects an 83 percent employment growth in the management, scientific and technical consulting services industry from 2008 to 2018.

Increased merger and acquisitions activities are projected to keep IT consultants busy as companies integrate different network systems. Projected employment growth is based primarily on economic growth and the continuing complexity of business. The increasing use of new types of technology and computer software is a major factor in the growth in all areas of consulting. Globalization and the trend toward outsourcing will also provide opportunities for consulting companies.