Report Details Consultant Compensation

May 15, 2002 ( - Compensation in the consulting field ranges from more than $600,000 at the top end to $21,000 at the lowest run, a new survey found.

According to the report by Abbott, Langer & Associates, Inc. of 10 benchmark consultant jobs, salary levels in this industry can be affected by geography, type of service provided by employer, annual fees, number of employees, type of work performed, experience, education, experience versus education and responsibility.

Abbot, Langer draws this picture of the consultant atop the earnings ladder – a chief executive officer who owns a firm or is a major firm stockholder:

  • the individual typically has a master’s degree and five or more years of experience
  • while the median top dog has a total annual income of $172,676, the highest-income individuals reported in this group make well over $600,000
  • this person works at a firm that provides consulting services in management, energy management, research and development/scientific/statistics, economics, human resources management, or government
  • the firm receives more than $5 million in gross annual fees and has ten or more workers
  • the company is headquartered in or near Tampa/St. Petersburg, Nassau/Suffolk Counties, Los Angeles/Long Beach, Chicago, Boston, or Phoenix, or outside the metropolitan areas studied in New York and Virginia

Lowest Paid Consultants

At the far end of the income spectrum, excluding clerical employees, research associates have a median income of $40,000.

Earning $21,000 or less, the lowest-paid employees in this group usually are employed by firms providing consulting services in economics, accounting, management, and government. Their firms:

  • receive anywhere from under $500,000 to as high as $5 million in gross annual fees,
  • have from under ten to 99 employees, and
  • are headquartered in or near Chicago, Portland, Indianapolis, Washington, Detroit, or San Francisco/Oakland, or outside the metropolitan areas studied in North Carolina, North Dakota, or Florida.

The individuals usually have little or nor college training and little or no experience.

Other Median Salaries

In addition to the incomes of the benchmark jobs already discussed, the median total cash compensation nationally for some of the other 14 benchmark jobs included in the survey report are:

  • Senior or Executive Vice Presidents, $125,581
  • Vice Presidents, $110,000
  • Chief Marketing/Sales Executives, $94,375
  • Chief Financial Executives, $84,000
  • Branch Managers, $72,916
  • Senior Consultants, $71,756
  • Chief Human Resources Executives, $71,000
  • Principal Consultants, $70,914
  • Consultants, $64,793
  • Junior Consultants $42,660

The report covers 107 consulting firms with 1,400 employees.