Consultancy services

The past decade has seen a rapid growth in demand for consulting services, reflecting a long-term shift towards outsourcing and more flexible employment practices in the private and public sectors. Consulting firms and individual consultants can provide wide-ranging advice to client organisations. The services offered by consulting firms can be as diverse as agribusiness, health care administration, information technology, e-commerce, engineering, human resource management, financial management and investment.

The work

Within consulting firms, graduate opportunities can be found in business consulting services, including strategic business planning, corporate financial services, human resource management services and, increasingly, information management and e-commerce strategy development.

Joining a major consulting firm offers graduates the chance to work alongside more experienced consultants and undertake the preliminary research and analysis of business structures, processes and systems that are part of the consulting brief. As part of their induction, graduates usually gain broad-based experience by being exposed to a range of companies and industry sectors. Following this general introduction, they are likely to undertake more specialised assignments according to their interests, skills and qualifications.

Employment opportunities within the consulting industry are expected to remain stable, with most major employers recruiting graduates each year. Opportunities for graduates are still predominately found in the large management consulting firms, which all have well-established graduate recruitment programs. In addition, numerous other consulting firms recruit graduates – from international organisations to small, locally based operations.

What you need

  • A degree – typically Commerce, Law, Information Technology, Economics, or Accounting – is a basic requirement for entry into a graduate program at a major consulting firm
  • Generalist degrees welcomed
  • Ability to research and work in a team
  • Business analysis skills
  • Ability to deal confidently with clients Specialist knowledge or experience are highly valued, making consulting a good area for career progression
  • Consistently high academic results

Graduate salary ranges for selected relevant occupations are as follows:

  • Environmental consultant: $43,000–$55,000
  • Management consultant: $50,000–$68,000
  • Recruitment consultant: $40,000–$50,000

(Figures are taken from the Australian Graduate Survey 2008, GCA. Ranges refer to the middle 50 per cent of salaries for bachelor degree graduates with permanent residency, in full-time employment in Australia October 2007 to April 2008.)

Industry at a glance

  • 87% employed full time (corporate services managers)
  • 64% employed in NSW and Victoria (management and organisational analysts)
  • Positive outlook (corporate services managers, 2010–14)