- The management consulting market declined by $30 billion due to decreased client demand during the coronavirus pandemic, but certain areas are still growing.
- Experts told Business Insider that technology, healthcare, and strategy consulting remain steady areas of growth for major firms like KPMG, McKinsey, and Boston Consulting Group.
- Consultants with specializations in digital transformation, corporate turnarounds, and cybersecurity are in higher demand right now.
- Here are the practice areas that will expand in response to the coronavirus and how much they pay.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
If you’re looking for a job in management consulting right now, it pays to be in a booming sector.
The coronavirus pandemic has upended the management-consulting industry. The market for consultants has declined this year to an estimated $132 billion from $160 billion because of decreased client demand, according to research platform Statista. The crisis put a strain on corporate budgets, forcing some to cancel or pause projects with major clients.
But even in the midst of an unstable financial market and a rapidly-spreading virus, there are certain areas within consulting that are growing in demand.
While consultants working in the motor, manufacturing, aerospace, and travel industries are among the most impacted by the health crisis, there are certain areas, such as turnaround and bankruptcy, strategy, and healthcare that are set to grow.
This means consultants may have to be flexible about the jobs they take on. For example, workers previously handling operations for an airline might be moved to strategy operations for a high-growth client. Stephan Chase, partner and US consulting leader at KPMG, said there’s also been “an explosion of opportunity” in specialized areas such corporate turnarounds, cybersecurity, and government-related work.
“We tend to flow toward where those opportunities are being generated, and we’ve been pretty good about moving folks around to fit those needs,” he said.
Below, we listed the most prominent practice areas that will expand in response to the coronavirus, what those consultants do, and how much each specialization pays.
Turnaround and corporate restructuring
Turnaround specialists help struggling companies understand what’s at stake, prioritization, and how to stabilize operations. They also help companies address legal issues around bankruptcy laws. Restructuring services can range from helping companies through mergers, takeovers, and acquisitions during economic downturn.
Right now, turnaround firms are on a hiring spree. AlixPartners, for example, is expecting its restructuring practice to play a bigger role than it ever did before, Business Insider’s Samantha Stokes previously reported. The boutique firm said turnaround projects accounted for 30% of its work in 2020, up from 20% in all of 2019. It just hired 50 new employees.
“This is the time when our operational turnaround skills really come into play as we’re working with companies way ahead of any court process to help them plan for a range of potential outcomes,” said Lisa Donahue, managing director and joint global heads of turnaround and restructuring at the firm.
Business school graduates can make a salary of up to $250,000 at AlixPartners, according to Management Consulted. Alvarez & Marsal is another firm that’s known for involvement in corporate turnarounds. It pays senior associates up to $90,000. Senior consultants specialized in mergers and acquisitions at Mercer can earn $112,240 to $247,400.
But nearly all consultancies — like the so called “Big Four” firms and McKinsey, Bain, and BCG — have bankruptcy, restructuring, and turnaround practices. These giant firms are known for paying six-figure salaries to employees right out of business school.
Digital implementation and business process transformation
Soren Kaplan, cofounder of strategy-consulting firm InnovationPoint, predicted an uptick in consulting services related to change management, organizational development, and cultural transformation that results from remote work.
“There’s a level of strategic thinking in just getting people up and running virtually in a remote work world, like getting everyone onboard with video conferencing and helping people adapt to the new processes,” he said.
Mauro Guillén, Zandman professor of international management at University of Pennsylvania’s The Wharton School, said companies are going to need help making big transitions to remote or flexible workplaces. Consultants can meet this need.
“Most companies are functioning remotely right now, and remote work isn’t going anywhere — even after the pandemic,” he said. “Companies are going to need help in integrating online tools with their existing physical channels of how things were done before.”
Cybersecurity threats are also growing and private data, intellectual property, online systems, and even military and national information can be compromised. Leading consultancies like Accenture, Deloitte, and McKinsey have departments dedicated to handling those threats.
The average annual pay for a digital transformation consultant in the US is $123,796, according to ZipRecruiter, an online platform for job seekers. Consultants can earn a ranging $91,000 to $122,100 at Deloitte. Booz Allen Hamilton, a government-focused consulting firm that’s increasingly focused on cyber systems for federal agencies, paid their leading associates $123,317 to $189,567 in 2019.