Career challenges for all of us in professional services

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The past two years have been tough ones for many individuals in the professional services area – and this year may not be much easier it seems. 

The challenges lie in shifting and contracting markets.  Past and prospective client firms have themselves been contracting, and have become far more “cost-averse” in a difficult economic environment.  Work previously requested of professional services firms has been taken in-house, or moved to boutique, lower cost suppliers, or in some instances outsourced offshore.  Acquisition and merger activity has also reduced substantially.

Will this economic context change in the next six or nine months? (doesn’t seem likely).  What is happening in the world of our client firms?  Should I be shifting my focus and anticipating quite different work, for quite different clients at some point?  Hard questions.

Given that our work is in the career change and career development space, we have been prompted to write a short paper on career implications for busy professionals in times like these.  It is called “Is the tide running out beneath your Career?” and can be found here in our website.

When each day is pressured – with active account development, with meetings, emails and calls to make – it can be really hard to sit back, take stock, and quietly lay the foundation for a career change.  There are several things to do, and a program of activity begun which will generally be spread over as much as a year, or even longer.  Hard to contemplate when “survival” and “keeping the treadmill turning” seem more urgent priorities.

I won’t repeat the messages of the short paper here.  However this endeavour needs as much project management and focus as delivering a major client assignment – with this time you as the “client”.