Management consultants are renowned for their long hours and challenging work-life balance. But how many hours do they really work a week? According to research, the average consultant works 56.6 hours a week, and a quarter of single consultants usually work between 60 and 70 hours. Male consultants in positions of responsibility work even longer, averaging 9.9 to 12.4 hours per week. The longest hours are usually worked in strategic consulting firms, where the weekly average is 60 hours.
The data also reveals that consultants who have been with a company the longest work, on average, less overtime, which highlights the investments that consultants often need to familiarize themselves with a new environment. However, it wasn't easy to achieve it and the big lesson learned was that a bad lifestyle as a consultant may not be triggered by those around you, but by yourself, specifically by your own ambitions and insecurities. You, as a consultant, are the one who needs to identify your own needs, set limits, respect them and communicate them effectively. The sector is divided into the “big three” strategic consulting firms (McKinsey, Bain, BCG), the “big four” professional services firms (PwC, Ernst & Young, Deloitte and KPMG), which are mainly engaged in operations consulting (as well as auditing and accounting), and a large number of small “boutique” companies, which often specialize in a particular type of situation or topic.
Within Europe, Eastern Europe is associated with a worse lifestyle because there are fewer large clients, they have smaller consulting budgets, and limited experience working with consultants. Consulting firms take staff training very seriously: most consultants receive regular feedback, mentoring opportunities, and opportunities to seek advice from senior consultants. Plus, there's almost no downtime in consulting, which means you'll rarely be able to take a 30-minute break to drink coffee, make important phone calls, or go to the pharmacy to buy the deodorant you need.
McKinsey vs Big4: Who Works Longer Hours?McKinsey, Bain, and BCG are known to have heavier work schedules than Big4 and other consulting firms, although there are significant differences between regions.
It's important to remember that while working long hours is part of the job for many management consultants, it's also important to take care of yourself and set boundaries when necessary. By understanding how many hours you're expected to work each week and how to manage your time effectively, you can ensure that you're able to maintain a healthy work-life balance.