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Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Consulting clients put their weight behind flexible working

The majority of consulting clients (82 per cent) say having flexible working as part of a management consultancy proposal would not negatively impact their buying decision.

That was the key finding in a study by Research Now, which found that almost two thirds (65 per cent) of consulting clients had already engaged a consulting team on a flexible basis, with only two per cent finding it a negative experience.

Overwhelmingly, 85 per cent of clients felt that having the best consulting firm for the job was more important than their working hours.

Three quarters (76 per cent) also stated they would expect management consultancies to promote flexible working, as they change their own internal working practices, since they judge consultancies on the results of their work, rather than hours worked.

Alan Leaman, chief executive of the MCA, said: "Our research has found that consulting clients are willing to embrace more flexible working practices from their consultants - focusing on the results they achieve rather than the hours that they work. This comes at a good time, as firms across the industry are offering their consultants more job flexibility to provide a better work-life balance and to encourage the recruitment and retention of top talent."    

Consulting clients said that the biggest challenge of consultants working flexibly as managing them and their availability. However, those who had previously worked part time or reduced hours themselves said they thought communication rather than availability would be a challenge.  

Leaman added: "To help clients feel more confident about engaging consulting teams who work more flexibly, firms need to demonstrate their experience of managing flexible arrangements, and how they have overcome the perceived problems of communication and availability."

"As an industry which prides itself on the ability to refine, evolve, analyse and aid clients to implement new ideas, it has recognised the need to offer its talent the same benefits of flexible working as their peers on alternative career paths."


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