SURVEY: Trends in Sustainability Consulting (Part 2)

Continuing our series on the State of the Industry Survey (which is now open and runs until November 9th, so please participate if you are a currently practicing sustainability consultant while you have the 5 minutes now), we are delving into the sections of the survey that really paint the bigger picture by referencing some of the 2010 findings as an example. 

First things first: We like to start off the State of the Industry survey by learning more about you at the individual consultant level today.  We get a feel for how many years of sustainability experience you have so that we can start creating correlation models where appropriate.  Why?  Well, for instance, it’s interesting to see if groupings with more experience tend to attract more clients throughout the year … OR, better yet, if there are any surprises that are unrelated to experience and point more to what you are an expert IN. 

In 2010 almost 30% of sustainability consultants had between 2 and 5 years of consulting experience. Yet when asked how many clients they worked with for the year, amounts were slightly down when compared to 2009 and the majority reported back only a handful of clients (about 1 to 5).  It’s interesting to see if trends like this are widespread because we can start to ask ourselves questions as to why and better align with the possible answers.  Could this be because of the economy?  Maybe the answer isn’t that simple alone, are companies beginning to do this in house more and more? 

The survey also helps to bring to light trends for those in their first years of consulting experience … and that perseverance and a realistic awareness of what to expect during those first years of consulting can pay off.  In 2010, the average consultant made between $50,000 and $75,000 for the year.  But let’s keep in mind that this is pointing to the fact that most of you also had 2 to 5 years of experience.  The survey reflected the realities of initial “0- to 2-year experience” hump where 70% of this group made less than $10,000 a year.  This helps to paint the picture that initially you might not be able to rely on consulting alone full-time, but with some hard work and “stick-to-itiveness” things typically trend up.

At this point it probably goes without saying … BUT the study requires your participation in order to paint an accurate picture for all of us, and it only takes a few minutes of your time to answer 15 questions.  We know that in sustainability consulting your time is valuable so we’ve taken measures to make sure that every question asked in our study hones in on what’s important and gets to the point quickly!  We know you are ready to get started now while the survey is so fresh in your mind, so don’t wait another minute!