There’s significant demand for external consultants in the profession, with the types of roles varying across the board. This page outlines what to expect if you're working as a self-employed consultant, and provides guidance and resources to help you make a success of your consulting career, from networks and career advice to HR tools and professional indemnity insurance.

Types of consultancy work

Here are a few examples of the types of contracts awarded to external consultants:

  • Defining the needs of a 50-employee-strong SME with no internal people function, and enabling that organisation to grow
  • An organisation design specialist working with an executive team to help translate their business strategy into an organisation that's fit for the future
  • An employee relations lead auditing the current set of policies and procedures in the organisation
  • A diversity and inclusion specialist helping define what the organisation needs to do in order to create a culture of inclusivity
  • A training provider running a management development course across three tiers of management in a larger organisation
  • A reward analyst carrying out an annual benchmarking review to support salary and bonus recommendations.

How does the CIPD support consultants?

Select from the icons below to explore the resources, support and networks we offer to help you make a success of your consulting career.

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News and resources

Real-life success stories

Browse through the stories of those who've worked as successful consultants, freelancers and self-employed. Find out what made them take the first steps towards independent consulting, the challenges they faced, and the skills they needed for their businesses to flourish.

Making the switch to self-employment

For Phil Marsland, moving from a successful in-house career to running his own limited business was a huge step. From tackling admin and upgrading technology to business mentoring and dealing with change, here's how Phil did it.

Read Phil's blog

External resources and support

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Career guidance

Information and guidance to help you excel in your role, transition into the profession, and manage a career break

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