The War for Talent: The Longest War in History?
By John Furth
For many senior leaders “The War for Talent” is about pitting consulting company against consulting company in the vicious run-off to get the best, most creative and accomplished individuals possible, train, retain and keep them happy and productive …. and far away from the competition.
However, a recent study by AMCF shows that although “The War for Talent” is still being waged between consulting companies, the real battle is between the consulting industry and other industries such as finance (esp. private equity), technology companies and other more “entrepreneurial” options. Gen X, Y, Z are just not as into consulting as we’d like them to be.
Many of the under-30 generation’s complaints are well-known – too much travel, too much work and unclear career paths without an acceptable ROI over the long-term. “Why hit the road four or five days a week and deal with antagonistic clients when you can start a family, keep your travel manageable and make $1 million within the first few years as a PE banker, tech wizard or founder of that great new start-up?” the high-potential recruits say.
Recruiting Trend: Diversity the Nature of Work
The fact is we have been working on these issues both on an individual firm level and as an industry for decades. Collectively we have made a huge commitment to diversity in the workplace, not only along gender, ethnic, political, cultural, religious and sexual-orientation lines, but also in the nature of the work and thinking we do. Many companies have also developed regional models to service clients closer to home that dramatically lessen the need to travel. Firms increasingly give consultants exposure to non-profit and private equity work as part of their development and, in some cases, even provide assistance and capital for consultants to start their own ventures.
But let’s not forget the nature of consulting projects themselves. While hard work is still the name of the game – and why shouldn’t it be? – the variety of client exposure and learning in our industry is unparalleled. The chance to make positive change and improve our clients’ businesses, organizations and ultimately their lives is for many a great reward. And, let’s face it, the money is not bad at all. Consultants are some of the best paid professionals in the world.
As the trade association and voice for the industry, AMCF is committed to supporting all efforts to improve the attractiveness of the industry and, more importantly, highlight the benefits of a career in consulting. The association will be rolling out programs in the Fall to address these issues both within the consulting profession and with the institutions of higher learning that feed our industry with the lifeblood of our business – talented, committed young people.
John Furth is President and CEO of the Association of Management Consulting Firms
(www.amcf.org). AMCF is the premier international association of firms engaged in the practice of consulting to management. Founded in 1929 as AMCE (Association of Management Consulting Engineers), AMCF today remains in the forefront of promoting excellence and integrity in the profession.