Average consultant now spends about 96 days a year away from home
Consultants are earning significantly more frequent flyer miles in 2011—as clear a sign as we’ve seen yet that the recovery is in full swing. The average consultant is now traveling 96 nights per year, up sharply from the last two years and almost all the way back to pre-downturn levels, according to two recent surveys conducted by Consulting magazine.
While the overall average number of travel days is up, the number of road warriors has remained largely unchanged. In 2010, 36 percent of consultants reported traveling at least three days per week. In 2011, 37 percent of consultants report spending at least half their work week on the road.
Meanwhile, clients also are reasserting more pressure on travel costs. Approximately 20 percent of consultants report that clients are requesting less travel (up from 14 percent in 2010) and 16 percent are requiring lower overall travel costs (up from 13 percent last year).
While few consultants enjoy the heavy travel burden, and likely even fewer appreciate the micromanagement by clients, it doesn’t appear to be driving consultants away from the profession. Almost two-thirds of consultants say that are content with their travel requirements.
In contrast, just over ten percent say they’d prefer, or are actively looking for, a job that requires less travel. (Those results echo findings in a recently-published report series on staff retention, available from Consulting magazine Intelligence Reports . While consultants often complain about the heavy travel requirements at most firms, the research found that there is not a significant correlation between anticipated attrition rates and consultants’ satisfaction—or dissatisfaction—with their travel schedule.)
How to Lessen the Travel Burden
Consultants’ suggestions regarding how to improve their firms’ travel programs vary significantly, but there are some common themes. In general, consultants prefer simplification. Common suggestions included:
These suggestions are based on consultants’ collective travel experiences, which include some of the best and worst experiences of the traveling year:
On the Road Again: The Good
On the Road Again: The Bad
On the Road Again: The Ugly