‘A year in consulting is worth two in industry,’ is one of the assumed truths about the choice between a career in industry vs. consulting. What are the pros and cons about this very important choice?
Scope of Work
Consulting has a wider scope of work because the core projects of a consulting company, efficiency and process improvement, are a part of every industry and every department. Consultants who specialize in one industry, which is becoming more common, will still work with a wider variety of departments than an employee of the company. Industry employees can specialize more in building their expertise and their value within one company and one industry.
Pharmaceutical Commercial Analytics Executive Recruiter, Eda Zullo, says “Consultants will have the opportunity to work across all areas of commercial analytics – brand analytics, sales operations, forecasting and data management. Employees are typically siloed into one of these areas.”
While the initial benefits of consulting include a broader breadth of experience and exposure to a variety of projects and industries as well as being a key player on a variety of teams in a variety of settings, your career tends to plateau as there is no structured advancement up a corporate ladder like there is in industry.
Industry employees become more valuable the longer they are with a company or within an industry. This type of commitment is rewarded within the organization. If you would like to be trained for other specialty areas within the company, the company will support that. Recruiter Zullo says, “Because they know you, you’ve developed relationships within the organization that are long lasting, they are more receptive to supporting you in moving outside your original silo. With my commercial analytics candidates, I often explain how moving into marketing is only possible WITHIN an organization. Trying to make that change through an external move is virtually impossible.”
According to Movemeon.com at junior levels you will earn less in industry vs. consulting. Senior Analysts make 35% less, Associates 21% less and Managers 8% less. This gap narrows as you become more senior within an industry. Senior level consultants are paid 10-30% less than their peers in industry. Surprised? It’s all about long term incentives. At levels above manager 92% of the total compensation for a consultant is in base plus bonus, in industry it accounts for 73%. Share allocations don’t tend to kick in until one gets above the manager level and then they represent 19% of total compensation.
Starting out in consulting and then moving to industry is the more common career path, if you want to try both. As a consultant you will have dealt with the industry and the skills needed for a variety of applications making you a valuable hire. You know how to stand out, but to move to industry you have to figure out how to fit in and develop relationships and career growth over time.\
It is much more difficult to work in industry and then move to consulting. Your ability to develop relationships in a short period of time and sell solutions to a variety of people will be questioned. Zullo has seen some of her senior level commercial analytics specialists move over to consulting. “They seek the more flexible hours and hybrid work location. In Industry they manage staff, and that requires being in the office.”
Interested in talking about your career? Contact Smith Hanley Associates’ Commercial Analytics Executive Recruiter, Eda Zullo at firstname.lastname@example.org.