We find ourselves in the middle of a viral pandemic, where the optimist’s hopes of a V-shaped recovery have turned into nothing. The pessimist’s predictions of a deep and prolonged recession appear more and more likely.
We’re looking at a downturn on a scale that most have never experienced and hasn’t been seen for almost one hundred years.
This is a recession that’s expected to be so far-reaching that previously secure sectors of the workforce will be affected. Those white-collar workers who have managed to ride out the earlier hard times while working-class jobs disappeared may be in trouble this time.
People’s livelihoods and businesses are in the firing line. While economists and reporters talk in figures and use charts and graphs to illustrate the change, real life is much more harrowing.
So, let’s get into the meat of the discussion to find out why the rational thing for you to do at this point in 2020 is to sit down to consulting math practice and learning about issue trees and the Pyramid Principle for the notoriously tough interview process.
Not Your Usual Recession
Recessions have typically affected the lowest paid, working-class sector of the economy the most, but the coronavirus’s effect has been far more widespread.
Countries worldwide have intervened to help struggling citizens, and this has helped to maintain jobs. But where that money is being spent is changing. High street shops are struggling, while online retail has boomed.
The ability of companies to continue trading by moving their staff onto home-working is a double-edged sword. Yes, the companies survived, and the workers kept their jobs, but the flip side is that the same companies now realize home working is feasible. This opens the floodgates to anyone in the world that can offer cheaper labor costs than Western countries.
Developing countries have moved quickly into the digital world, capturing a great deal of market share thanks to the savings to be made.
Professionals in the finance sector working from home may find they are part of the cost-saving measures in the future.
Working-class or Professional Classes
There are stark differences between the current crisis and that of 2008, for example. The crash of 2008 is seen by the public to be a direct result of bankers and the financial system gambling and losing. But the general public also observed that the people causing the crash were bailed out by governments. It didn’t go unnoticed that the same bankers generally kept their high salaries and big bonuses.
Things are likely to be different this time around.
The manufacturing industry had moved much of its supply chain and workforce to cheaper economies. But the same companies have realized that during a pandemic, those supply chains are particularly vulnerable, and they are considering moving some of it back.
On the other side of the fence, higher-paid office workers may find their jobs being off-shored. Even during a pandemic, the internet is always on, and moving high-paid roles such as accounting and sales off-shore offers a huge wage saving.
Using cloud systems such as Skype and Zoom, team meetings can easily be held anywhere, while sophisticated software is available for employee login tracking and work rate. The current crisis has really focussed business owners’ minds on the potential gains of off-shore and remote working.
Maybe a Temporary Career Change?
If you are considering that your chosen career is not quite as secure as it once was, maybe it’s time to consider a change. A financial investor is a great analogy. During times of uncertainty, they will move their funds to more secure assets such as government bonds and gold.
In an uncertain job market, it could be a good idea to find a safe new employment sector, even if it’s only a temporary move.
Finding that gold-plated employment opportunity in a sector that is growing may not be easy. Perhaps you’ve had enough and want a complete career change? Trades, such as a plumber, or electrician are well paid and always in high demand. But they require a substantial amount of retraining and qualifications.
If you’re not ready for a complete change, but want a professional, well-paid job in an industry that is growing, what are your choices? Clearly, to change quickly, your new role can’t demand specific qualifications or degrees, or even experience in the industry.
So what is this mythical job?
Have You Considered Management Consultancy
Is management consultancy something you have ever considered? If not, then you may be surprised to learn that it can be a great career choice during a recession.
Management consultancy companies are in the business of helping struggling firms to restructure and survive. It really is one of the few growth industries in a recession.
During the 2008 recession, one of the top three consultancies, McKinsey, experienced strong growth, recruiting many new consultants as its client base of struggling businesses grew rapidly. Consultancy is definitely an excellent place to be during a recession!
Checklist for Becoming a Management Consultant
What Degree and Experience do you need?
Landing a place at one of the top consulting firms is extremely difficult, with huge competition. The advantage is that the roles are”mostly “generalist,” meaning you don’t need specific experience, qualifications, or degrees.
Most of these firms’ recruitment goals are to find people with good degrees from top universities or demonstrable achievements in your chosen industry. Your problem-solving and communication abilities are of the highest importance.
A short time at one of the top firms, such as McKinsey, can really enhance your future employment chances. Many people only spend a couple of years as consultants, before using that experience to take a senior role in their old industry.
Having McKinsey or another top consultancy in your employment history can open some doors.
The Salaries are Not Bad, Either!
Consultancy work is exceptionally well paid, of that there is no doubt. With your undergraduate degree, it is entirely possible to earn over $100k in your first year. If you have an MBA or Ph.D., you could be looking at $200k per year.
Consultancy is a significant recession beating role, with high salaries, and open to anyone with an excellent degree or experience. Even better, when the recession ends, consultancy is a fantastic springboard back to your old industry.
But don’t wait, competition is stiff and the sooner you start, the better.