Working as a consultant

There are 20,000 consultants working in South Africa according to the Development Network Africa, making the consulting market the largest segment in the professional services industry, larger than, for instance, engineering, accounting or law.

Consultancy, or advisory, spans a wide spectrum of activities, ranging from strategy consulting and management consulting to HR, procurement and IT consulting. A majority of the consultants in South Africa work as independent advisors / freelancers – the rest of the advisors work at consulting firms, from mammoths to tiny boutiques. A further (large) group of consultants work as an internal consultant at organisations outside the consulting industry.

The section ‘Working as a consultant’ provides an overview of how it is to work as an advisor. The chapter kicks off by defining the consulting industry in order to gain a better understanding of what the industry entails. The following section looks at what consultants do and why clients hire them, spanning advisory and implementation. The following section elaborates on the activities consultants perform and, lastly, the section 'types of consultants' takes a closer look at the different roles that consultants play in the market.