The profession of Consultancy

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Consulting, a very interesting professional sector for young people

Working in consultancy, have you ever thought about it? It is a sector that offers significant employment opportunities, as demonstrated also by the partnership that the Republic of Interns has entered into with Assoconsult *, the association that represents any of the sector’s most significant consultancy firms. There are approximately 19 thousand companies in Italy that deal with “Management Consulting”; all together they generate a turnover of just over 3.3 billion euros (0.2% of Italian GDP) and employ around 35,500 employees (0.16% of Italian employment). The sector is made up of a myriad of micro-enterprises and, on the other, a few very large consultancy firms. In particular, there are 35 companies with over 50 employees who make up almost half of the sector’s turnover and employ 27% of the employees. At the other end there are more or less 16 thousand (85% of the total) micro enterprises with less than 3 employees. Collectively, these companies generate around 22% of the sector’s total turnover. Why so many micro consultancy firms? First of all because Italy is a country strongly characterized by small companies: it is no coincidence that SMEs, small and medium-sized enterprises are said to be the backbone of the Italian economy. In addition, each person with managerial experience is potentially able to open his own consulting firm with a very limited overall investment. So there are many consultants who, at the beginning or more often during their professional career, opt for a self-employment solution.

The “magnificent 35”

As for the small and coveted group of the 35 largest consultancy companies, they can be differentiated first of all on the basis of size: there is a subset of “very large” ones with over 150 employees opposed by the subset of the “medium- large ”with a number of employees between 50 and 150. Another differentiation depends on “nationality”: a consultancy company can be of foreign origin, that is, be the Italian subsidiary of a large multinational group; or of Italian origin. The “foreigners” (almost all Americans) have the advantage of being able to use shared know-how and practices on the global market; but they tend to focus on large customers, sometimes neglecting medium-small customers.

The employment prospects

Management Consulting is a very vital sector from the point of view of profitability and jobs. In 2014, the overall turnover was around 3.3 billion euros, + 5.7% compared to the previous year. Obviously he has not been immune from the crisis, but he has been able to overcome it faster and better than many other sectors. The 35,500 employees in this sector are 84% of the cases “professional” figures, who develop problem analysis and offer solutions in response to customer needs. The remaining 16% is made up of support staff, not directly employed in the project activities (staff, marketing, human resources …). The employment trend is growing especially in large companies, which for example recorded an increase of + 6.9% between 2013 and 2014: many young people were added. An aspect that should not be underestimated is that the average RAL (gross annual remuneration) average at the beginning of the path in this professional sector, with or without a preventive internship path, is equal to 25-27 thousand euros – a significantly higher figure than the average salary of the profiles junior in Italy. In addition, salary increases can be greatly accelerated.

The types of consultancy

To discover the world of consultancy there are a fair number of interesting books; certainly of value is «Thanks … We will let you know», subtitle: «How to deal with selection interviews in consultancy firms», written by Andrea Iovene – former employee of a financial consultancy firm and today responsible for the job placement office Ipe (Institute for research and educational activities) – and recently published by the FrancoAngeli publishing house. In general, four types of consultancy can be identified: strategic consultancy, operational consultancy, IT – InformationTechnology, and finally financial consultancy. Below is a description of the different actions and purposes of each, based on the information reported in the book. from Iovene.

Strategic consultancy

These are consultancy companies to which companies submit requests for “pure strategy” support, to develop medium to long-term plans: «Assisting top management and helping them understand what are the main obstacles in the management of activities and organization and therefore, elaborate with them long-term plans and strategies that improve the company’s competitiveness “such as” redefining some basic strategies, improving business efficiency, optimizing resources, etc. “. As examples, the Iovene book reports the merger between two banking groups, the analysis of the business model of a telecommunications player, the evolution towards digital insurance of an insurance company.

Operational advice

This type of consulting company has as its first focus the verification that the company objectives are achieved: they therefore examine the most frequent activities of a company, such as the production and distribution processes, the allocation of resources, the speed of a process, customer support, CRM; and implement strategies to improve efficiency. This type of consultancy can concern for example the launch of a marketplace for a customer in the Retail sector, or the review of a bank’s front-to-end processes. “Given the close link between strategic and operational consulting, many consulting firms offer both services.”

IT Consulting – Information Technology

In this type of consultancy, the client company is assisted in the profound evaluation of IT strategies (global or in a part of the company) with the aim of aligning technology with the business process. There are also operational IT consultants who physically perform the activities established also through the creation of customized software or applications. “IT consultancy projects often last long, even longer than operational consultancy projects, even reaching 18 or 24 months.” Those who work in this type of consultancy company can be called upon to carry out a functional analysis for the development of software for their client, for example; or a risk mapping job.

Financial advice

This segment has developed a lot in recent years both because of the consequences of the financial crisis and due to the continuous new regulations (especially in the Risk area), which require continuous adjustments that force banks above all to ask for help from consultancy firms to deal with new situations. There are mainly three types of financial advice:
– Risk management (especially Banking), where the customer is helped to cope with risk situations: credit, market, operating, liquidity, rate, counterparty, etc. – Corporate finance, in which the client is assisted in the correct management of capital, in the evaluation of investment projects, in management control.
– Corporate restructuring or “turnaround” (Corporate restructuring), which involves the restructuring of a company’s strategies and activities. At this stage, often the consultant temporarily enters the corporate management to deal with extraordinary operations.

Consulting clients

The 2014/2015 Report of the “Management consulting in Italy” Observatory shows that consultancy in the tertiary sector represents 53% of the market, mainly concentrated on “Banks and Insurance”, “Telecommunications and Media”, “Energy and Utilities “. Smaller consultancy firms concentrate their business mainly on other services. Another strategic sector for consultancy firms is the manufacturing sector. On the contrary, public sector turnover continues to fall: from 2010 to today, the public sector, especially as a result of spending reviews, has reduced consultancy spending by almost 27%. In fact, therefore, consultants work much more for private clients than for public bodies.

The role of Assoconsult

Assoconsult is the association that represents the most significant consultancy companies in the sector. It belongs to Confindustria and the European Federation of Management Consulting Associations. Assoconsult has about 150 consultancy firms associated with it. Together they participate in the development of initiatives, thematic meetings, meetings, exchange of experiences, working groups, research, networks and events for their own sector of specialization. Every year, Assococonsult in collaboration with the University of Roma Tororata publishes the results of the Observatory on the consultancy market. It provides data on the performance of the sector and on individual consultancy practices to develop competitive analyzes and measure the value created by companies in terms of turnover, use of intellectual resources, impact on the economy and modernization of the country.

The partnership between Assoconsult and the Republic of Interns

Over the years, many consulting companies have chosen to join the network of virtuous companies in the Republic of Interns, the “RdS network”, which pays tribute to companies that recognize themselves in the values ​​promoted by the RdS: respect for young people, investment in human resources, the responsibility (also social!) of offering good internship and working conditions. Joining the network allows you to reach readers of the Republic of Interns, many of whom are potentially interested in a career in consultancy, through a visibility that is not “self-referential”, but conveyed through a tool that makes itself “guarantor” of quality. the internship and working conditions offered. At the end of 2015, Assoconsult and the Republic of Interns chose to enter into a partnership. The consultancy companies adhering to Assoconsult can therefore join the RdS network with a reduced membership fee and give visibility, also through the Republic of Interns, to the internship and job opportunities that open in their offices: they can also make known their interview and selection procedures, the presence at career days or special events dedicated to recruiting, and in general all the initiatives (business games, projects, competitions …) that they dedicate to young people. For the Republic of Interns this is the first partnership with a reality affiliated to Confindustria; the extremely positive factor is that of bringing on the website the internship and job opportunities of companies operating in a lively, expanding sector, and continually looking for new talents also for the marked turn-over (greater than in other occupational sectors ) which allows the almost continuous opening of new positions. Without forgetting that the economic conditions offered by consultancy firms are also very interesting. To date, there are a dozen consulting companies belonging to the network of companies in the Republic of Interns, half of whom are members of Assoconsult. It is no coincidence that companies in this sector have often won one or more AwaRDS, the awards that each year – since 2014 – the Republic of Interns has given to companies that have distinguished themselves in the internship policy and in the recruitment of Young people.

Source: Repubblica degli Stagisti