Over promising and under delivering – why some consultants are giving the industry a bad name

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New research from Institute of Consulting.

Nine out of ten of the 350 consultants recently surveyed by The Institute of Consulting (IC), said their clients had been previously let down by consultants who had over promised, failed to add value, lacked the right skills and charged too much – giving the industry a bad image.

The root of these problems seemed to lie in the recruitment processes used by companies. The consultants said that businesses often didn’t know how to source good consultants, which consultants to trust or where to go to hire effective consultants at affordable prices.

Almost 4 out of 10 consultants (39%) said that if more consultants had professional qualifications, it would improve the image of consulting and over half (54%) said businesses would be more confident about hiring consultants if the consultants belonged to a professional industry association.

To find the right people, businesses should look for consultants who are good at what they do, have excellent people management skills and can demonstrate leadership ability and project management know how, said the consultants.

They also said that companies should look out for signs of professional development. 84% of consultants said that regular training and development was important to them and key to their ability to provide good consultancy services.

Nine out of ten of respondents had undertaken some form of professional development since starting out. A third had completed the IC’s Certified Management Consultant (CMC) accreditation, the highest level qualification available for consultants, 20% had undertaken leadership and management courses, with similar numbers taking networking and marketing courses and specific project management courses such as Prince2.

Huw Hilditch-Roberts, Director in charge of the IC says: “Clearly, many companies have had a bad experience finding consultants they can trust and who deliver results. We want to take the pain out of hiring consultants.”

“We are launching a National Consultants’ Register – the first of its kind in the industry. We want this to be the first port of call for any company looking to procure first class consultants. The majority of our members have between 10 and 20 years’ experience; they are committed to professional development and many are accredited by us. We also provide them with a range of first class tools and training to ensure they are at top of their game.”

In terms of the opportunities for consultants this year – the jury was out. 34% of consultants said they were more optimistic about the market this year than last, 43% were unsure and 23% said the market felt worse. They predicted that the most opportunities would be in professional services, followed by IT, sales and marketing and general management.

Hilditch-Roberts added, “From what we have seen so far this year, there will be plenty of opportunities for consultants in 2012 even in this ‘zigzag’ economy. There seems to be a greater reluctance to hire senior level permanent employees and instead companies are bringing in specialist consultants for projects and on a needs-must basis. However, more than ever, consultancy will need to be about quality and value for money this year. Companies will be only looking for consultants who can demonstrate genuine value-add – we hope they will turn to us to provide them.”

Media contacts:
Jaspal Sahota, jas(at)vitispr(dot)com 0121 242 8048
Kathryn Hughes, kathryn(at)vitispr(dot)com 0208 547 4022 | 07801 823 839 http://www.vitispr.com/

About the Institute of Consulting:
The Institute of Consulting (IC) is the professional body for consultants and advisers in the UK, representing over 5,500 members. The IC offers members a comprehensive range of practical products and services including online resources and the National Register. It is the only organisation in the UK able to award the Certified Management Consultant and is accredited to do so by the International Council of Management Consulting Institutes

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