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Consulting Platforms - The End of Traditional Employment

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Published:
October 30, 2020
Reading Time:
8 minutes
Leo Saini
Experienced copywriter who spends a lot of money at restaurants and regrets it later.

Did you know that the consulting industry is going through massive changes right now?

As time passes, almost every industry gets disrupted. Uber changed how people drive taxis, online banking changed how people exchange money, and now, consulting platforms are changing how consultants work and get hired.

In this article, we’ll discuss how the consulting industry used to be before, how it is now, and how it’s likely going to be in the future.

How Consultants Have Worked Until Recent Years

Ever since the consulting industry emerged in the 20th century, consultants have been competing hard to secure employment at the big firms. There are many reasons behind this. First of all, it’s a badge of honor that one can carry with them throughout their lives. There are heaps of YouTube videos that start with “I’m an ex-BCG consultant” or “I worked at McKinsey for 10 years”. There’s a sense of accomplishment attached to it. The other reason is the stability and financial confidence that the big consulting firms provide.

Of course, if a company has been in business for decades and generates billions of dollars every year, potential candidates will work hard to get into it. Not to mention the growth and training opportunities that come along. However, it’s not as easy as it sounds. Competition gets tough even in the organization and some big consulting firms are notorious for their ‘up or out’ policy. Bureaucracy might also affect the overall results and may hinder the consultant from putting their best foot forward—which might affect the client’s business at some point.

"There is nothing permanent except change." - Heraclitus

How Online Consulting Marketplaces Are Disrupting the Industry

Back in the day, consulting engagements were reserved for big companies. Small to medium-sized businesses had to solve their problems themselves. But now, more and more people who identify as ‘ex-(big consulting firm name)’ are emerging in the market. Online consulting marketplaces have given consultants a chance to work on a freelance basis. More and more consultants are leaving big firms. However, they’re not leaving the consulting world behind or retiring early. We'll discuss the actual reason why consultants are saying goodbye to their full-time jobs at big firms further in this article.

Consultants can now sign up with freelance platforms that can connect them with clients. The way these consulting marketplaces work is similar to recruitment agencies—the latter help you find the best employees, whereas the former can connect you with some of the finest consultants in the world. Expert advice from top consultants has never been more accessible. And the best part is, businesses don’t have to spend crazy amounts of money to find a problem solver. What was considered a luxury reserved for giant corporations is now available to every small mom-and-pop business. Businesses are realizing this and don’t hesitate to approach freelance platforms to find a consultant. The disruption is real and it won’t be long before freelance consulting becomes the norm.

How Freelance Platforms Benefit Consultants

The online marketplace for consultants is growing rapidly. In the UK, for example, one-fifth of all the consulting work is handled by independent consultants, a 2018 report revealed. These consultants often use the online consulting marketplace to find new clients.

consulting marketplace, Consulting Platforms – The End of Traditional Employment

Working as a freelance consultant comes with its own perks—which cannot be experienced while being an employee at a big firm. Usually, when a consultant works for big firms, it might take them years to get more job responsibilities. In almost every case, the seniors are the ones with bigger responsibilities, and they guide juniors during the initial years. Even though it’s not ideal for many candidates, it’s necessary for the big firms to have a hierarchy in order to maintain their structure, reputation, and the brand image that keeps them in business and generates billions of dollars. However, too much bureaucracy blocks creativity, and not having more serious responsibilities might affect a consultant’s job satisfaction.

But as a freelancer, a consultant is the captain of their own boat, and not requiring approval for every task they do will most certainly improve job satisfaction and confidence. And last but not least, the online marketplace for consultants has given freelancers an opportunity to build their own consulting brand. So, all those hours spent on different projects will be credited to the consultant, not some big firm. And if a freelance consultant wants to take a break after a consulting engagement, they can surely go on a vacation before jumping on to the next project. These things are almost impossible while working as a full-time consultant at a big firm.

How Online Consulting Marketplaces Benefit Businesses

Sometimes, it’s impossible for businesses to complete certain tasks internally. Expert advice and an external perspective are needed from time to time. However, if businesses go the usual route, they might end up spending way more than necessary and work with a consultant who they don’t really know. Because big consulting firms come with price tags, and they’ll assign you the consultant who is available, not the one you want to choose. Nothing wrong with it, that’s just how they operate.

But when businesses hire freelance consultants from online consulting marketplaces, they can actually meet and check the previous work of a consultant. If the potential consultant doesn't meet the business’s expectations, the consulting platform can recommend a lot more consultants to the business.

The ability to handpick a consultant is something that was unheard of until recent years. Also, because a freelance consultant’s career depends upon recommendations from previous clients, they will put their best foot forward to wow their clients. And here’s the best part: A lot of consultants who have worked for big firms before but quit the rat race are now available to share their knowledge with small to medium-sized businesses. When navigating through choppy waters, businesses can now onboard consultants who have already been there several times. Not too shabby.

Conclusion

Consulting isn’t what it used to be decades ago. The change is now happening and is evident. For years, the big consulting firms had monopolized the consulting industry. They did produce exceptional results and gave employment to thousands of people around the world. However, freelance consultants are now disrupting the market, and a lot of these freelancers have actually worked for big consultancies before.

As a result, small to medium-sized businesses who couldn’t access top experts before can now hire one from a freelance consultant platform. Sometimes, their project might even get staffed within a couple of days. Not only in the consulting industry, but freelance work is taking over in other professions as well. It’s highly likely that the vast majority of the workforce will operate on a freelance basis in the future, including consultants, of course.