Consultancy survey shows size isn’t everything and better qualifications don’t mean better pay

The 2004 edie.net and Environment Business magazine survey of environmental consultants is still in progress until the end of the month. The response has been so good, with over a thousand respondents in the first day, that we couldn't resist taking a peek and sharing some of the results with you.


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The findings below reflect the 1,741 responses received as of Monday 16 August. More precisely, they reflect the 1,002 responses from consultancy providers and consultancy purchasers. Over 60% of respondents are senior consultants, senior management, or company directors. 83% are edie users and 57% are readers of Environment Business. Unlike previous surveys, we have invited everyone involved in the provision or purchasing of consultancy services to take part rather than just getting one “official” response from each company. We think this adds value by presenting what people really think rather than just the official line.

Bucking recent trends, most consultants expect to see more growth in private than public sector work and CSR came in last of our 7 potential growth markets. Waste management was seen as the single biggest growth market, with nearly 70% of respondents placing this in their top four ‘most important’ categories. Unsurprising perhaps, given the recent restrictions on landfill and new packaging rules across Europe.


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How to choose a consultant
We asked consultants, and then their clients, which factors, of a list
including price, reputation, advertising, and proximity of local office,
they thought contributed most to decision making when choosing a consultant.

Reputation was the prime reason for both consultants and clients, followed closely by the specialised capabilities of that consultancy. Personal recommendation was the second highest reason for choosing consultancies from a client point of view, and tied in with the importance placed on after-care by the consultants.
Interestingly, all but two of the factors were rated higher in importance by consultants than by their customers – the exceptions being mainstream media coverage and price!



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Who has the best reputation?
So we took the 36 firms who turned over more than £1m in FY April
02-March 03 (according to the Environment Business survey, 2003 – apologies
to Arup and anyone else who wasn’t in that) and asked who has the best
reputation. The Top 5 according to customers were: Entec UK, Enviros Consulting,
Atkins, ENVIRON UK and ERM.

When you compare reputation to turnover, it is evident that some firms are punching well above their weight. Environ UK, for example, are one fifteenth the size of the largest firm in the industry but score significantly higher on reputation.


It is clear that environmental consultancy is a friendly and co-operative industry, as all but nine of these firms were rated higher by their peers than by the customers. It also looks we could all learn a lot from firms like Entec UK, and Enviros Consulting, and White Young Green, who were all rated significantly higher by customers than by consultants.



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Sizing up
In December 2003, Environment Business published a league table of consultancies
declared turnover in the environment sector. We asked people who they
thought had the highest turnover. Clients were firmly of the opinion that
Entec UK did the most business, followed closely by Atkins. Other consultants,
however, put Atkins at the top, followed by ERM, Environ UK, Enviros,
and put Entec fifth.

 

ranking Declared in EB 2003 Perception by customers Perception by consultants
1 RPS Group Entec UK Atkins
2 Atkins Atkins ERM
3 ERM Enviros
Consulting
ENVIRON
UK
4 Entec
UK
ENVIRON
UK
Enviros
Consulting
5 WSP ERM Entec UK
6 Casella
Consulting
RPS Group URS Corporation
7 Babtie
Group
Babtie
Group
WSP
8 Enviros
Consulting
Casella
Consulting
RPS Group
9 Mott McDonald
Group
White Young
Green
Babtie
Group
10 White Young
Green
Mott McDonald
Group
Arthur
D Little
11 Symonds
Group
WSP Casella
Consulting
12 Haswell
Consulting Engineers
Faber Maunsell Applied
Environmental Research Centre
13 RSK ENSR
Group
URS Corporation Mott McDonald
Group
14 ENVIRON
UK
Hyder Consulting White Young
Green
15 Parsons
Brinckerhoff
Arthur
D Little
Golder
Associates
16 Arthur
D Little
Golder
Associates
Hyder Consulting
17 Waterman Applied
Environmental Research Centre
WRc
18 Golder
Associate
Environmental
Technology Consultants
Carl Bro
19 Faber Maunsell Parsons
Brinckerhoff
Environmental
Technology Consultants
20 WRc WRc Faber Maunsell
21 Carl Bro Carl Bro Parsons
Brinckerhoff
22 Joynes
Pikes & Associates
RSK ENSR
Group
Corsair
Environmental Consultants
23 CPM Symonds
Group
Environmental
Simulations International
24 Terence
O’Rourke
EDGE Consultants UK RSK
ENSR Group
25 Hyder Consulting Environmental
Simulations International
EDGE Consultants
UK
26 Weeks Consulting ERT (Scotland) Waterman
27 Environmental
Technology
Waterman Terraconsult
Consultants
28 Southern
Testing Laboratories
Corsair
Environmental Consultants
Terence
O’Rourke
29 Corsair
Environmental Consultants
Terence
O’Rourke
Southern
Testing Laboratories
30 Environmental
Simulations International
Southern
Testing Laboratories
CPM
31 EDGE Consultants
UK
Terraconsult ERT (Scotland)
32 Applied
Environmental Research Centre
Joynes
Pikes & Associates
Symonds
Group
33 Terraconsult CPM Haswell
Consulting Engineers
34 Quintessa Weeks Consulting Joynes
Pikes & Associates
35 ERT (Scotland) Haswell
Consulting Engineers
Weeks Consulting
36 Quintessa Quintessa

Do you know who I am?
Apparently not, in many cases. Taking the same 36 firms we asked people
which firms they were aware operated in the environmental sector.

Atkins had the highest recognition factor, with 60% of consultants and 57.2% of customers knowing they are active in this sector. Entec UK had the second highest recognition among customers with 56.4%, followed by ENVIRON UK with 53.8%. The same two companies were listed by the consultants but with ENVIRON UK coming second, and Entec UK coming third. In both lists Enviros and ERM came a close fourth and fifth behind the others.



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How do people source consultancies
Both consultants and customers agree that industry websites are essential
for sourcing consultants. Customers actually said they used industry magazines
slightly more – putting them in the number one slot – while consultants
themselves put magazines in third place. There was a pretty clear consensus
that Yellow Pages and other paper directories are rarely used these days.


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Show me the money!
If you are a consultant or would like to be, the million dollar question
is: “How much should I be earning?” The tables below should go some way
towards answering this, though we plan to do some more detailed analysis
and cross referencing to produce more useful answers.
One thing, however, is clear. If you are planning on doing a PhD in order
to increase your earnings, you should think again. You might get a pay
rise when you publish your thesis, but from a financial point of view
those years of your life would be more profitably invested in gaining
work experience. Only 18% of those earning over £60K/year have a PhD or
equivalent qualification.

Rows How much do you earn before tax? Total
including benefits & bonus
Columns What academic qualifications/titles
do you hold MSc or equivalent


Rows How much do you earn before tax? Total
including benefits & bonus
Columns How many years relevant work experience
do you have?


Rows How much do you earn before tax? Total
including benefits & bonus
Columns What
is your job position


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© Faversham House Ltd 2022 edie news articles may be copied or forwarded for individual use only. No other reproduction or distribution is permitted without prior written consent.

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