Abt Research Consulting Industry Pay Survey

Research Consulting Industry Pay Survey

Sponsored by Abt Associates

The Research Consulting Industry Pay Survey sponsored by Abt Associates is an annual survey of People Strategy; Organization Design, Talent Management and Total Rewards and Compensation Practices among research consulting firms. This survey provides insights into key human capital issues, talent management and pay program characteristics, and pay levels in this unique industry. Included in the report is information on pay levels for 26 different positions as well as practices for linking people and pay strategies to the overall objectives of the business. Participating firms include For Profit and Not For Profit Government Contractors, Scientific Research and Development firms, and other Business Research and Consulting organizations with revenue from less than $5 million to more than $500 million.

2012 Survey Results Now Available

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2012 Abt ResearchConsulting Survey Report

Summary of Key Findings of the 2012 Survey

The 2012 Report provides 165 pages of information we have gleaned from this year’s survey responses including the following data points:

General Industry

  • The industry is rather mature as indicated by all of you responding that your organization is either mature or somewhat mature meaning you have been in business for 15 to 100 years.

Business Strategy Findings

  • Less than half (43%) of your organizations are private, indicating a shift from last year’s predominately private (95%) group of participants.
  • Only 29% of your organizations are national in reach while half (50%) are global and 21% super-national (based on continents such as North America, Asia or Europe).
  • In terms of specific business strategies, the largest number of companies are going to build better customer relationships (67%) while more than half (58%) are going to focus on gaining market share.

Organizational Capabilities

  • In order to meet your strategic goals, 83% of your organizations need to be able to build better customer relationships and/or match services to client needs.
  • The required capabilities for the workforce most significantly (92%) are to attract and retain best employees.
  • The capabilities required of management by most (77%) of your organizations are the ability to organize around the customer/client/user and leverage core competencies.

People Strategies

  • Approximately a third of your organizations have been through a formal process to create their Organization Design (OD) Strategy (31%), Talent Management (TM) Strategy (29%) and Total Rewards (TR) Strategy (31%).
  • The majority of organizations with Organization Design, Talent Management and Total Rewards strategies indicate that it is too soon to tell if the programs are meeting their objectives.
  • The effectiveness of the internal hierarchy or direct reporting structure for executives is 3.7 on a scale of 1 (Poor) to 5 (excellent).
  • On average, the most prevalent organizational design model used by your organizations is project or program based, which is not surprising.
  • Creating plans/allocating resources/monitoring, managing key outside stakeholders, forming alliances with a variety of organizations and being flexible and responsive to change are the organizational processes that are judged to be effective by 36% of you.
  • Maximizing client/customer/user satisfaction is the sole focus of 64% of your organizations
  • Most you indicated that the target level for staffing was mostly median or 50th percentile.
  • In designing the Total Reward Program, most of your organizations (60-80%) target the median base pay in the market place for all employees
  • 90% of you report that your organizations use a formal on-boarding and succession planning program. In addition, the other 10% are looking to adopt one.
  • 50% of you report using traditional salary ranges. Of these, 88% find them effective as is.

 
 

2012 Position Descriptions

Executive Positions

(001) President and CEO
Responsible for the overall direction of the business and for achieving the company’s stated mission including profit goals and return on invested capital. Establishes current and long-range objectives, and represents the company with its major customers, the financial community and the public. Coordinates the efforts of the senior management/executive team and works with them and the Board of Directors to develop current and long-range objectives, policies and procedures for the organization. Serves as presiding officer of the Board of Directors.

(002) Chief Financial Officer
As the top corporate financial executive, provides financial, administrative, strategic planning, and general management guidance to the company. Directs the organization’s overall financial well-being, capital structure planning, financial and accounting practices, and the conduct of its relationships with banks, financial institutions, and shareholders. Directs treasury, tax, audit accounting, government contract compliance, purchasing, real estate, insurance, equipment leasing, pension programs and other corporate service functions. Serves as a member of the Executive Management Team.

(003) Chief Information Officer
Identifies changes and trends in computer and systems technology and interprets their meaning to senior management. Participates in overall business planning, bringing a current knowledge and future vision of technology and systems as related to the organization’s competitive position. Determines long-term organization-wide information needs and develops overall strategy for information needs, systems development and hardware acquisitions, and integration. Works to ensure integrity of organization-wide data, proprietary information, and related intellectual property through information security and access management. This is the highest interface with non-technical user functions in determining overall information systems approach. Serves as a member of the Executive Management Team.

(004) Vice President of Human Resources
An essential role in strengthening the firm’s approach to attracting, retaining, and developing the internal workforce. Responsible for developing a comprehensive people strategy bringing together all aspects of Recruiting, Professional Development, Employee Relations, Compensation and Enterprise Risk Management (including ethics and compliance).

(005) Executive Vice President, Global Business
The EVP of Global Business reports to the CEO and will acts as a member of the Executive Management Team. The EVP will lead the business strategy and have full P&L oversight. This includes the management of any and all Divisional Vice Presidents as well as the business development efforts in accordance with the organization’s long-term strategic plan.

(006) Vice President, Strategic Communications
Responsible for the development and delivery of multi-faceted internal and external communications programs that are aligned with the company’s strategic plan and are designed to build visibility, awareness, and understanding of the firm’s mission and brand. This position, in partnership with the company’s leadership team, will develop targeted communications to key constituencies including clients, employees and the media in ways that promote a positive company culture and positions the company as industry experts and thought leaders. This person will build a consistent message reflecting the company as a whole to strengthen traditional “within the lines” communications, standards, and practices, as well as the next “outside the lines” generation of strategic communications.

Management Positions

(007) Division Vice President
Develops and communicates the vision and strategic direction of the practice area. Manages the contract performance, client relationships and staff development of a practice area within a line of business. Some specific tasks may be delegated to subordinate positions, if applicable.

(008) VP, Reputational Capital and Technical Leadership
Responsible for systematically building Reputational Capital Activities in the form of quality, thought leadership, innovation, and visibility across the firm in order to attract and retain the strongest possible colleagues to ultimately achieve corporate growth and profitability. Works closely with division staff and the communications team to implement the strategy and meet firm objectives.

(009) Vice President, Operations
Directs the day-to-day operations of a research and consulting Division including compliance, staff issues, project oversight and liaison with departments. Formulates and implements policies and procedures to facilitate processes and/or clarify and correct procedural problems. Evaluates the feasibility of new or revised systems or procedures. Forms the Division management team with the Division Vice President and the Associate Division Manager. Reports to the Group Vice President.

(010) Partner/Vice President
This is the senior-most position for consulting professionals, unless they advance to executive management positions. Typically, it takes a minimum of six years of consulting experience to obtain partner/vice president status, with up to nine or more years not being uncommon. These individuals have direct input into decisions regarding the direction of the firm and are counted on for their leadership.

(011) Associate Partner / Principal/Director
All of the experience and competency requirements of the senior manager are typically required for this position, but it is one step away from partner status. Demonstrating leadership is an important part of the role. They may have limited input into the direction of the firm itself. At least a year of work in this position is normal, unless the firm does not have an equivalent post, and instead uses a career ladder that goes from a position comparable to that of senior manager to partner/vice president.

(012) Senior Manager
This position has all of the experience, education, and competency requirements of the manager/project leader position. Employees at this level tend to have two to three years of experience as a manager/project leader. Employees in this position will also have an even greater magnitude of responsibility for supervision of consultants, client account management, and business development. One to two years in this position is common.

(013) Manager/Project Leader
This position has all of the experience, education, and competency requirements of the senior experienced consultant position, but adds increased levels of supervisory responsibility. Employees in this position have moderate account management and may have business development responsibility. One or more years at this level is common.

Professional Positions

(014) Senior/Experienced Consultant Education
Typically has an MBA or other advanced degree. Employees holding this position already have at least 1.5 to 2.5 years experience in consulting or else have other substantial industry experience. Regular client interaction is the norm, and employees in this position often work on multiple assignments at one time. Those in this position may have limited supervisory responsibilities. Employees may hold this position for at least one to two years before they have the opportunity to advance.

(015) Consultant/Recent MBA
Typically has a recent MBA or other advanced degree. Obtaining this position requires little consulting experience, perhaps not much more than an internship, and is often considered to be the “starting” position within a consulting firm. The employee provides support to projects, often one project at a time, with a moderate degree of supervision and a moderate degree of client contact. A person may be in this position for 1.5 to 2.5 years.

(016) Entry Level/Analyst
Usually does not have more than an undergraduate college degree. No experience is necessary to obtain this position. The employee assists with research and analysis while developing the necessary competencies for operation effectively in the consulting firm. Individuals are often employed in this position for fewer than four years, if they do not advance within this allotted time or choose to pursue an MBA or other advanced degree. This position is heavily supervised and client contact is uncommon.

(017) Principal Scientist
Serves as a principal leader in business development in the areas of technical competence. Serves as the architect of the technical approach on the company’s most important and largest winning proposals. Designs studies through scientific leadership, technical and/or substantive expertise that address the clients needs. Typically requires a Ph.D. in a technical field with fifteen plus years of experience in the fields of contract/grant research and ten plus years in design and management of research projects.

(018) Principal Associate
Serves as a sales leader who takes responsibility for generating and managing a multi-million-dollar revenue base annually. Directs proposal efforts, conducts sales briefings, and manages client relation/development activities. Maintains excellent business development relationships and is regarded within targeted markets as an industry expert. Oversees the planning, design and implementation of project protocols and procedures. Serves as the primary client contact. Typically requires a Ph.D. with fifteen plus years of experience in the fields of contract/grant research and ten plus years in design and management of research projects.

(019) Senior Scientist
Assumes the lead role in the development of new business through the contribution of scientific/technical expertise. Directs and manages the planning, design and implementation of technical project protocols and procedures. Serves as a primary client contact for methodological and technical expertise and translates client needs and/or objectives into specific deliverables in a timely and cost efficient manner. Ensures that research projects are conducted with sound methods and approaches. Typically requires a Ph.D. with eight to ten years of related experience.

(020) Senior Associate
Assumes the lead role in the development of new business, including managing proposal efforts and identifying sales opportunities. Directs and manages complex components of large projects or a series of smaller projects with responsibility for budget management, project deliverables, client relations, and staff supervision. Ensures that all research projects are conducted with sound methods and techniques. Typically requires a Master’s degree with thirteen to fifteen years of related experience or Ph.D. with ten years of related experience.

(021) Scientist
Leads and coordinates particularly complex scientific/technical components of large projects or series of smaller projects with responsibility for the application of advanced methods and techniques in a particular field of specialization. Makes significant technical contributions to proposal efforts and serves as a scientific/technical resource in a particular field or specialization. May supervise less senior staff in the application of quantitative and qualitative analysis, techniques and methods. Typically requires a Master’s degree with seven to ten years of related experience or a Ph.D. with four to six years of related experience.

(022) Associate
Leads and coordinates complex components of large projects or series of smaller projects with responsibility for the application of advanced methods and techniques in a particular field of specialization. May collaborate with others including applications programmers to design and develop questionnaires, instruments, and databases. Makes significant contributions to proposal efforts including coordinating and reviewing the contribution of less senior staff and troubleshoots problems or questions throughout the proposal process. Typically requires a Master’s degree with seven to ten years of related experience or a Ph.D. with four to six years of related experience.

(023) Senior Analyst
Leads project management teams and performs/manages a variety of research analysis tasks. May provide training and technical supervision to less experienced staff. Reviews and analyzes collected data using standard practices and techniques in the field(s) of specialization. Applies quantitative and/or qualitative analysis techniques and methods. Independently works on assignments that are complex under indirect supervision where there is latitude for independent action and decision-making. Demonstrates capabilities in managing project tasks and budgets, technical expertise and supervisory skills. Typically requires a Bachelor’s degree or equivalent with a minimum of six years of relevant/related experience or a Master’s degree or equivalent and three years of relevant/related experience.

(024) Analyst
Independently performs a variety of research and analysis tasks and may provide training and technical supervision to less experienced staff. Collects, compiles, validates, interprets, and analyzes data and trends using standard practices and techniques in the field(s) of specialization. May perform computer modeling or simulation or simple to moderately complex forecasting using standard software packages. Applies quantitative and/or qualitative analysis techniques and methods. Works on assignments that are moderately complex under indirect supervision where there is latitude for independent action and decision-making. Typically requires a Bachelor’s degree or equivalent and a minimum of three to five years of relevant/related experience or a Master’s degree in an appropriate discipline with no previous experience required.

(025) Associate Analyst
Assists experienced professionals in a variety of research and analysis tasks. Independently collects, compiles, checks and analyzes data using standard practices and techniques in the field(s) of specialization. Under direction, may perform computer modeling, simulation or simple forecasting using standard software packages. Applies quantitative and/or qualitative analysis techniques and methods. Works on assignments that are simple to moderately complex under direct supervision. Typically requires a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree with up to two years relevant experience.

(026) Research Assistant
Assists experienced professionals in a variety of research and analysis tasks by collecting, compiling and checking data using standard practices and techniques in the field(s) of specialization. Under close supervision, may perform computer modeling, simulation or simple forecasting using standard software packages. Learns to apply specialized quantitative and/or qualitative analysis techniques and methods. Works on assignments that are simple to moderately complex under close supervision, implementing standard policies and procedures. Typically requires zero to one year of experience or the equivalent combination of education and experience.

 
 

2012 Participant List

  • Abt Associates, Inc
  • ACCION International
  • Advocates for Human Potential, Inc
  • American Institutes for Research
  • Education Development Center, Inc.
  • Industrial Economics, Inc.
  • Management Sciences for Health
  • New England Research Institutes, Inc.
  • National Opinion Research Center (NORC)
  • PATH
  • Pact, Inc.
  • Pathfinder International
  • RAND Corporation
  • SRI International
  • Westat, Inc.

For more information, or to request to participate in the survey, contact Michael Dennis Graham or Judy Newman.