I-O Career Paths in Consulting
The career paths for Consulting were found to have five job levels (see figure above). Those hired as an Individual Contributor often take one of two different tracks: an Expert Individual Contributor track where they became a specialist in a given area(s), or a Management track where they are responsible for supervising others within the organization. Oftentimes the decision on which career path to take is dependent on the individual employee, but other times it depends on the organization’s needs and structure.
Within these tracks, additional career paths could be further delineated for Project Consultant and Research Consultant. Many I-O consulting organizations mix the research and project career paths- consultants are responsible for both client-facing and research-based projects, while others maintain a separation between the two. Where there is a separation, Project Consultants are primarily responsible for client-facing duties, whereas Research Consultants often conduct internal-facing work and do not regularly interact with clients.
It should be noted that not every consulting organization is large enough to create this extensive of a career ladder and thus may only have 3-tiers consisting of Individual Contributor, Manager, and Executive.
Across all levels of the Consulting career paths the following competencies and experiences were identified as most important.