What is a Senior Consultant?

A senior consultant provides expertise in a particular area to a company.
Consultants should be experienced and experts in their field.
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  • Written By: Andrea Campbell
  • Edited By: JD
  • Last Modified Date: 08 September 2014
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Sometimes, a business hires an outside consultant to help troubleshoot problems, improve efficiency, and cut costs. The consultant is there to advise on human capital and can suggest changes and policies that will slowdown high employee turnover. In addition, he may teach the company leaders new ways to help them save money on re-training staff. Senior consultants in the health care industry may suggest how to better allocate and payout employee contributions, in order to get the best health plan possible.

Whether it’s a small firm with a few partners or a giant corporation with millions of employees, at one time or another, businesses may have used the services of a consultant. The areas that consultants generally work in are management, financial, scientific and technical, or professional. They might oversee a scientific program, update technical services, or provide new tools that their clients cannot get for themselves.

There are different ranks of consultancy as well. Senior consultants will have generally been promoted from a regular consultant position after having demonstrated creativity and success with their casework. Their position in terms of hierarchy may be higher than an analyst or associate consultant. The chief difference between principals and seniors, is they allot more time to actual casework, while spending fewer hours on managing client relations. The principal in the firm is more of a manager type and holds a higher position.


What a senior consultant brings to the table is expertise and a special proficiency, or knowledge, of a particular condition. The business owner or CEO of a corporation will bring one when he doesn’t have the time or resources to be as effective. Government agencies on all levels make use of them just as the private sector does, and other clients include institutions, universities and colleges, hospitals, unions, and nonprofit organizations.

Anyone with great knowledge, education or expertise in an area can become a consultant, and 25% operate on their own. More often, businesses are outsourcing the administrative duties of their firms to someone like this who may specialize in what they cannot.

This type of consultant may only be on the job for a limited period of time and will bill his client for the hours worked. Many work on a contractual basis, guaranteeing tight deadlines and pulling long hours to meet their demands.

A senior consultant is a highly educated person and about 42% have a bachelor’s degree, while 32% have a master's degree or higher. Many are required to have a masters in business administration (MBA). Workers can advance through the ranks from research associate to consultant, management consultant, senior consultant, junior partner, and, after many years, senior partner.


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Post 3

In our organization, a senior consultant has grey hair.

Post 2

That is interesting, because we have taken the exact opposite approach. When searching for candidate for our senior level IT consulting jobs and management consulting jobs we favor the interpersonal skills and communication skills. Our senior consultants need to be generally versed in their fields but do not need detailed knowledge of the latest technology or trends. We want our senior consultants to see the bigger picture and motivate the people reporting to them to push the technology envelope.

Post 1

We use more and more consultants and rely on fewer full time managers these days, often because it is easier to terminate a contracting consultant than it is to terminate a full time manager. Yet it is getting tough find true Senior Consultants and Senior Analysts. Becoming a senior consultant is often as simple as declaring yourself one. Also, businesses tend to hand out titles to people that they might not deserve, so a previous job title might not mean much. Too many people know the business buzz words but do not really know their business. Our interview process has become very technical, as a result. A candidate’s technical prowess is now more important than their communication or interpersonal skills. This, of course, causes its own problems.

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