No doubt consulting firms are looking at overhead expenses and cutting away. The impact can be positive with less middle management and a return to focus on client delivery. However, those consultants looking for full time salaried positions at a firm will be hard pressed to find a great bench benefit package. Unlike the old days, were 90 days at full pay was the norm, firms are now pushing hourly project based employment with little to no benefits and with no bench policy at all.
I had hoped to list 15+ firms and their current bench policies. I started collecting information over a month ago from friends and colleagues. The struggle to collect the information was a combination of the majority of consultants being hourly project based, with no benefits, or simply not knowing their bench policy as it keeps changing. Not surprisingly, the vast majority of consultants I spoke with said they don’t have a concrete bench policy, it’s at the discretion of the firm.
A simple snap shot: smaller boutique firms are offering 30 to 60 days bench at full pay. There is still a focus on employee culture, retention, and quality. The bigger you go, you’ll find no bench policy and no interest in culture or retention. Only wording that states “employment at the end of engagement is at the discretion of management.” Obviously that is not really reassuring. Several firms do offer a reduction in pay when on the bench.
I collected information on companies including Encore, Accenture, Beacon Partners, Logic, HCtec, CIS, ICG, HSM, ACS, and ESD. I can’t share any complete summary because the majority keep changing their minds by either reducing days, altering % of salary pay, or removing the benefit all together. With that said, don’t count on finding a firm that offers extended bench benefits. 30 – 60 days is the best you’ll find, and they’ll likely offer a lower base salary. Average hourly pay for Epic consultants is $90. I can’t believe I am saying this, but it seems hourly is the way to go.