Salary rises are back – but how much more are you worth?

There has been a fivefold increase in management consultancy recruitment over the last year, according to the latest analysis by Much of the rebound has been in the UK market, but in the US an upturn is also gathering pace – and globally firms are now firmly turning their attention back to the issues of effective recruitment & retention.

Pay has always featured highly in consulting firms’ retention strategies. During the dot-com boom, salary rises of 20%+ per year became commonplace, as consultancies fought to prevent their staff defecting to an investment bank or an e-business start-up. Bonus payments reached new highs too. Efforts were made to improve work/ life balance and to introduce greater career flexibility, as another means of improving retention. But there’s only so much room for manoeuvre here when a firm is stretched to meet the needs of an expanding client list. Somewhat inevitably, cash became king and consulting firms’ remuneration bills rocketed.

What we are all asking ourselves today is “will spiralling pay become the norm again in 2004/ 5?” After years of redundancies, pay freezes and a lacklustre environment for growing a consulting business, what will happen now that the market is taking off again?

Well alongside the considerable growth in recruitment activity, word has it that a number of firms are beginning to sanction sizeable pay rises to stem the growing exodus of experienced consulting staff.