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What You Need to Know for a Graduate Job in Consulting
The demand for consulting services has rapidly increased over the past decade which reflects on a long-term shift towards outsourcing and more flexible employment practices in both private and public sectors. Consulting firms and individual consultants can provide wide-ranging advice to client organisations and offer a diverse set of services in agribusiness, health care administration, information technology, e-commerce, engineering, human resource management, financial management and investment.
Joining a major consulting firms gives graduates the chance to work with more experience consultants and take on part of the consulting brief which include the preliminary research and analysis of business structures, processes and systems. Graduates also get exposed to a range of companies and industry sectors of consulting, allowing them to gain broad-based experience and are likely to undertake more specialised assignments that suit their interests, skills, and qualifications.
Consulting firms offer graduate job opportunities that can be found in business consulting services which include strategic business planning, corporate financial services, human resource management services, information management and e-commerce strategy development.
The basic requirement for entry into a graduate program at a major consulting firm is to have a degree, typically in commerce, law, information technology, economics or accounting, however generalist degrees are also accepted1.
Other requirements may include general skills such as:
- Ability to research and work in a team
- Analytical skills
- Strong communication skills
- Problem-solving skills
- Solid business acumen
- Ability to work to deadlines
- Strong writing and negotiating skills
What to Expect
Consulting firms include occupations such as management consultant, recruitment consultant, environmental consultant, and many more. Roles and responsibilities for each of these occupations differentiate from one another.
Management consultants work with a variety of clients and provide advice and guidance to improve an organisation’s position or profile or a particular section such as IT, human resources or production. Management consulting have a range of services and industries and can operate as specialists or generalists, however larger consultancy firms specialise in a particular function across a number of industries while niche firms specialise in one function and one particular industry. The industry sectors, also known as practices, areas of expertise, and sectors include2:
- Financial services
- Healthcare and pharmaceuticals
- Media and telecommunications
- Natural resources
- Public sector
- Retail, consumer goods, transport, hospitality and leisure
With services, also known as functions or specialist capabilities such as:
- Corporate finance
- Customer-relations management
- Human resources
- Change management
- Operations and supply-chain management
The role of management consulting may include tasks such as3:
- Fulfilling business needs that cannot be undertaken successfully by the client due to lack of time or other resources
- Manage difficult or political situations, often using change management expertise and human resource knowledge
- Gaining an independent and innovative overview of businesses in order to identify areas of improvement or development
Recruitment consultants find candidates for client companies to fill temporary and permanent job positions. Responsibilities for this role include4:
- Attracting people to apply and guiding them through the application process
- Making job offers and checking references on candidates
- Writing and advertising vacancies on the job boards
- Coaching and leading candidates and clients throughout the hiring process
- Helping candidates identify and achieve their career goals
- Screening, interviewing and short-listing potential candidates
Environmental consultants provide advice on environmental factors such as pollution, contaminated land and environmental policy. Those in this line of work are usually in small teams and the role can include tasks such as5:
- Conducting tests and surveys
- Gathering and presenting environmental data
- Preparing reports for companies, environmental agencies and government bodies
- dealing with legislation issues concerning the environment for clients
An additional requirement for environmental consultants is to have a primary degree in environmental and earth sciences, environmental engineering, geography, geophysics or chemistry.
The industry at a glance shows that 87% of graduates are employed full time at 64% are employed in NSW and Victoria. The median base salary for a profession in consulting is $100,000 with the upper quartile of $140,000 and lower quartile of $72,0006. Graduate salaries vary on the occupation and the following show the graduate salary ranges of:
- Management consultant: $50,000 – $68,000
- Recruitment consultant: $40,000 – $50,000
- Environmental consultant: $43,000 – $55,000
1 Graduate Careers Australia, Consultancy services, 2015
2 targetjobs.co.uk, How do I get a graduate job in management consulting?, 20153 Gradireland, Management consultant, 2015
4 Gradireland, Recruitment consultant, 2015
5 Gradireland, Environmental consultant, 2015
6 LiveSalary, Consulting & Strategy¸ 2015
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