Consultants are known for their long hours and challenging work-life balance. But how many hours do they actually work per day? According to research, the average consultant works 56.6 hours per week, with a quarter of single consultants routinely working between 60 and 70 hours per week. About six percent of consultants have an average of 70-80 hours per week. Strategy consulting firms have the longest hours, with an average of 60 hours per week.
On the other hand, millennial management consultants work as little as 50 hours a week. So what does a typical work schedule look like for a consultant? Generally, it consists of 8-9 hours of work per day, not including a 1-hour lunch break. Male consultants in positions of responsibility tend to work longer, averaging 9.9 and 12.4 hours per day. This is comparable to the average overtime of partners in the consulting industry. In order to give consultants time for personal interests or to rest, some consultancies and field offices have implemented a “one night a week off” policy. Data also reveals that consultants with a longer tenure in a company work fewer overtime on average. It's important to note that consulting covers a wide range of job functions and there are many different types of consulting firms.
As such, most management consultants have to work 50-80 hours a week to satisfy the job requirements. Junior management consultants who worked 50 hours a week were comforted by the idea that the strategy consultants of the Big Three (McKinsey, Bain, BCG) were working much harder. 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. Over the past decade, consultancies are increasingly implementing policies that give consultants the space to take time off work to relax and recharge. This helps to ensure that consultants can maintain their work-life balance while still meeting their job requirements.