Management consultants are close to average when it comes to happiness. According to CareerExplorer, who survey millions of people and ask them about their satisfaction levels, consultants are among the poorest 49% of careers. However, a study conducted by EVA Dimensions, a New York-based software and training services company, revealed that the majority of independent advisors experience high levels of contentment. The research involved 251 independent management consulting professionals active in Europe, as well as a smaller sample of their employed peers. The survey showed that independent consultants highly value the autonomy they experience in having a strong opinion about what they do and where and when they can do it.
In traditional consulting firms, particularly when the project portfolio is not complete, consultants can hire staff for tasks they would rather not work on, or be forced to reside in places that are at the bottom of their wish list. Moreover, more than half of the independent consultants surveyed expect to continue working as freelancers for more than the next three years, indicating that this is a professional choice rather than a temporary movement. The survey also revealed that independent consultants believe that their work offers better value for money, has a greater impact and is more likely to be implemented compared to the work they did in a traditional company. Additionally, they claim that they are motivated in their work and that they can work more efficiently since they don't bear the burden of all kinds of policies and guidelines that may arise when they work through a consulting firm. It is worth noting that EVA Dimensions outperforms 81 other firms in average hours worked per week, with 75. This means that consultants are often overworked and tired. However, despite this fact, many still choose to remain independent due to the freedom and control it offers them. In conclusion, while working in companies such as McKinsey, BCG or Bain & Company can build credibility and encourage consultants to work in the boardrooms, when they are self-employed, independent consultants tend to work harder to open the doors to more prestigious contracts.
Despite being among the poorest 49% of careers in terms of happiness, many still choose to remain independent due to the freedom and control it provides them.