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Perception Of Consultant Quality Trails That Of Permanent Staff

November 6 2007 - A recent survey finds that hiring managers are twice as likely to rate their permanent staff as 'excellent' than they rate consultants.

The survey of 899 randomly selected U.S. hiring managers was conducted by Yoh, a unit of Day & Zimmermann. The hiring managers were selected from outside Yoh's customer base. The survey asked respondents to rate the quality of their permanent employees on a report card scale, on grades 'A' for 'excellent' to 'F' for 'failure.' 513 of the hiring managers who used consultants rated their quality on the same scale. The survey found that:

  • Only 15% of hiring managers rated their consultants as 'excellent.'
  • Around 30% of respondents rated their permanent employees as 'excellent.'
  • Almost 58% rated their consultants as 'above average' - 'A' or 'B' grades
  • 83% graded permanent workers as 'A' or 'B' this year - compared to 80% last year.
  • 'D' and 'F' ratings were similar for both groups - 7% for permanent employees, and 8% for consultants.

According to Yoh's press release, a number of factors cause hiring managers to rate their full-time employees higher than consulting staff. For example, a reluctance on the part of many organizations to 'fully invest in or integrate their consulting staff with permanent staff.' Inadequate investment and assimilation may then lead to:

  • less-than-ideal hires
  • inefficient teams
  • a divided work force, and
  • mediocre output.

Some organizations will move consultants into jobs for which they are not qualified in order to 'retain consulting head-count' - e.g. allocating a software engineer to user support after launching new technology. Yoh state that this 'unfairly sets up consultants to potentially fail in their new role.'

Yoh places consulting and permanent professionals in companies. Yoh's Vice President of Strategy and Marketing, Jim Lanzalotto, commented:

"Consulting talent is not a commodity, yet many employers and staffing firms continue to view it that way. Companies stand to achieve optimal results from both consulting and permanent staff if they understand their business needs, communicate those to a capable staffing partner, integrate teams and commit resources to finding and training quality consultants."

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