Freelance consultants, firm jokers

Few people use freelance consultants, according to strategy consulting firms. “We make very limited use of freelancers”says the manager of a Paris boutique. Likewise at a larger law firm in the capital: “We use freelancers very littlewe are sure we shoot with two or three profiles representing three or four missions a year. » Consider another structure “unaffected” according to the subject.

Not surprisingly, independent consultants make firms less productive: if the use of outside consultants is common, the practice is generally prohibited in contracts by clients. Alice*An independent consultant, who did not want to be named, explains that when firms offer him a mission, they present him as an employee: “It is systematic. » He concludes: “At first, when we were still on the busy side of the commercial offer, the client didn’t know we were freelancers. He figures it out sometime after the mission is sold and we go to his house…” Therefore, companies generally do not want to dwell on their appeals to freelancers. Especially since they do everything to keep their employees, they are not interested in seeing them establish themselves and flourish independently.

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1800 euros per day for the manager

However, there are many freelance consultants and the people we meet make a very good living. Alice*, who left a firm as a manager after 8 years of experience, estimates that she will double her earnings. “normal business hours”. It was founded on its own about two years ago. As for Andrea*, who asked to remain anonymous and left the workforce after becoming a manager, she assesses “earn at least 60% more” while working during the past year “very little, very little indeed”, after a year and a half of freelancing. It partially corresponds to: “I wasn’t on BCG’s salary before either, but it was still a good amount. » According to a firm manager, a consultant with 8 years of experience needs 1,800-2,000 euros per day. Alice further judges that prices at this rank are between 1,700 and 1,900 for a short mission of one month, and for longer missions the calculated prices go down to 1,350 euros per day. As for a less experienced consultant, with two years of experience, he can earn around 1,000 euros per day.

Manager is the degree where the willingness to work independently is greatest. According to Andrea, “It’s a very painful price: below you have to put up with bad consultants and a partner who doesn’t want to work anymore”. Right now, he doesn’t want to go back to the office. “I no longer want to depend on the agenda of the person who is above me, who often does not give a damn, and I insist on this word.. »

Parallel projects

Alice* is less categorical, but like Andrea* emphasizes the organizational freedom offered to her by her new status, time saved, more pleasant hours, and increased wages. And they don’t miss the social life associated with the firm: interacting with clients or other consultants they meet is enough for them. Both are developing other projects in parallel. They didn’t think about it when they left their firm, but the free time allowed them to think about it, and their mission funded them.

Then each situation has its own characteristics. Missions for Alice* are more interesting now than when she was working. Instead, Andrea finds those freelancers “restore missions that employees don’t want to do”. For example, for due diligence, firms often call outside consultants rather than their own employees.

“2023 May Be Less Fun Than 2022”

However, freelancing also has some downsides. “When you’re on a mission at a firm, you can look for experience left and right. Alone, it’s more complicated, you have to find your own resources and data. And the missions are smaller in scale.”, laments Alice*. A problem connected to another is also associated with the lack of command: “We have to do the job of intern, consultant, manager and partner at the same time: it’s demanding…”

And after the post-covid hiring wave, firms are using them a little less. The decline in activity is only beginning, and the evolution of each is difficult to predict. But Andrea* expects: “Things are slowing down so bad right now, 2023 may be less fun than 2022…”

*First names have been changed.

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