Management consultants are known for their challenging work-life balance, and it's no surprise why. Studies conducted around the world have confirmed that consultants often work long hours, with the average weekly hours ranging from 50 to 80. But what does a typical work schedule look like for a consultant? And what factors affect the amount of hours they work?Research conducted by Consultancy.eu shows that 77% of consultants at the top of the market work more than their contracted hours. On average, they work 9.3 hours per week more than they are paid.
Hours within the consulting industry can range from extremely long and exhausting (16 hours a day) to the typical 7-8 hours. The wide variation in working hours is due to a number of different factors that affect a consultant's working day. Consultants often have to work long hours due to time and budget constraints on projects, and this is especially true in cities and markets that experience greater competition for work due to the number of smaller consultancies found there. Some consultancies and field offices have encouraged teams to implement a “one night a week off” policy that allows consultants time for personal interests or to rest.
This has become increasingly common over the past decade, as consultancies recognize the need for their employees to take time off work to relax and recharge. Male consultants in positions of responsibility tend to work longer, averaging 9.9 and 12.4 hours per week. However, data also reveals that consultants with a longer tenure in a company work fewer overtime on average, highlighting the investments that consultants often need to familiarize themselves with a new environment. In short, consulting (especially in MBBs) is not a 9-to-5 job and most applicants are fully aware of how difficult a career in consulting is. But with the right policies in place, it is possible for consultants to achieve a healthy balance between their professional and personal lives.