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.
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.
Lisa Farthing moved from a career in talent acquisition to HR consulting. This is her story.
The choice between going it alone or aiming for the top is a tough one. We chat to those who've travelled both paths.
Phil Marsland left a successful in-house career to run his own limited business, here's how he did it.
See how CIPD membership benefits independent consultants, freelancers and the self-employed.
External resources and support
Access helpful resources provided by the Federation of Small Businesses:
The data protection fee is a charge levied on organisations that process personal data. Every organisation or sole trader who processes personal information needs to pay a data protection fee to the ICO, unless they are exempt. The fee is paid to the ICO and the proceeds go towards its work enforcing GDPR.
Explore other areas
Explore the many rewards of working in the people profession
Explore the different types of environments you can expect to work in as a people professional
Explore the twelve career areas within the people profession, and the typical activities you may find yourself doing