Tech Consultants: Prepare to Get Paid (and Work Harder Than Ever)

2014-Q1 Tech Consulting Wages BLS FINALIf you’ve ever wanted a job advising companies on their technology choices, now might be the perfect time to jump into the field: according to a Dice analysis of data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average hourly salary for tech consultants hit $42.17 in February—an all-time high.

Average pay for tech consultants has crept slowly upward over the past few years: In 2006, average hourly earnings tended to fluctuate around the $36-$37 range. A few years later, the number had gusted up to roughly $40 per hour. Now it’s rising yet again, driven in large part by growth in technology segments such as mobility and the cloud.

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“It pays to be in tech. We saw it with a rise in annual salaries and now with hourly earnings hitting an all-time high for tech consultants,” said Mike Durney, president & CEO of Dice Holdings. “Wages may have fallen for the U.S. overall, but tech professionals are reaping the reward of long hours, hard work and the value they provide to America’s businesses.”

He’s not kidding about the long hours: the average tech consultant worked 38.8 hours per week in February—also an all-time high, albeit only by a few minutes. (Dice has found that, over the years, tech consultants tend to work a tad over 38 hours per week.) And given how that’s an average, it’s certain that many consultants are working far longer in order to keep their clients happy.

2014-Q1 Tech Consulting Hours Worked Final

As companies around the world plan for technology upgrades in 2014, the market for consultants will surely increase; recent surveys suggest that the financial services, retail, and pharmaceutical industries in particular will boost consultant spending.

What will those companies want in a tech consultant? Communication, as with so many other things, is key: Asking good questions before the consultancy begins, and setting out the project’s parameters in a way that all stakeholders can understand, will prevent things from imploding later on. “You have to be able to deliver,” Brandon Smith, a workplace coach and founder of Atlanta-based The Worksmiths, recently told Dice. “That means having specific goals and time frames in mind.”

Taking the initiative, keeping a positive attitude in the face of inevitable course-corrections, and being a team player are also vital traits. Another important factor: fostering a good relationship with recruiters, which can translate into continuing gigs. “You have to understand the recruiter needs you as much as you need them,” Deb DeCamp, vice president of recruiting for Experis, a division of Manpower, also told Dice. “We want people to work for us on more than one project.”

Although tech consultants can bill top dollar for their work, the job can prove stressful at moments. Fortunately, there are ways to strategize in advance in order to ensure that goals are clear and payment arrives on time—because as a consultant, your time is more valuable than ever.

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9 Responses to “Tech Consultants: Prepare to Get Paid (and Work Harder Than Ever)”

April 09, 2014 at 9:31 pm, amv6 said:

My pay rate was actually much higher in 2000 then it is now. I do not think that this reflects an increase in pay simply the shortage of job killing H1rs


April 10, 2014 at 9:34 am, Jack said:

No kidding – lower cost of living and my bill rate is the same…..oh and I didn’t work as hard or feel my job was in jeopardy (every single day!)


April 10, 2014 at 11:38 am, Tom said:

I agree. We will probably never see a repeat of the Y2K bonanza but I am making substantially more as a FTE than this rate mentioned in the Article.


April 10, 2014 at 11:57 am, Brian said:

“He’s not kidding about the long hours: the average tech consultant worked 38.8 hours per week in February—also an all-time high, albeit only by a few minutes. (Dice has found that, over the years, tech consultants tend to work a tad over 38 hours per week.) And given how that’s an average, it’s certain that many consultants are working far longer in order to keep their clients happy.”

Isn’t the average work week 40 hours? I highly doubt there are really many consultants working many more hours than 40 given a very strong reluctance from company to pay overtime, especially with hourly wages that high. I could be wrong given there could be a highly disproportionate number of consultants making more than $40/hour working part-time, but we know that greed runs companies, not intelligence. And if it is true, I would be inclined to bet that the people who work the most, get paid the least (and visa versa) and that the average pay to hours worked ratio reflect very few (if anyone’s) average work week. But even if that is true, 39-hours doesn’t meet the 40-hour “average” work week, therefore “long” isn’t an accurate description for the average tech consultant’s work week.


April 10, 2014 at 7:07 pm, Todd K said:

First, there is no “average” work week for someone who works project based employment (your thinking employee for which the consultant is not).
Second, there would be no such thing as “overtime pay” for a consultant. The time needed for most projects would have been determined before the work started. As long as the time to complete the project does not run over, which of course almost always does, then the amount of time stated is adjusted accordingly. The dollar amount usually does not get adjusted in most cases. That’s how the average hours per week went up. I am still not sure how they get that the average pay increased though. I sure haven’t seen it!


April 10, 2014 at 7:06 pm, Bob Plugh said:

$40/hr as a consultant? Are you kidding me? At 40 hours per week that translates to $80k/year is you work 50 weeks out of the year. Then, lop off both the employee AND employer portion of FICA, Health Care will kill you now that Obozocare is here – hopefully you get your health care from your spouse, but this is such a low wage that it’s ridiculous.

Back in the 1990’s and early 2000’s I was making well over double this and I wouldn’t even think about leaving my full time gig (which right now pays substantially over this too, with paid vacation, sick time, personal time, plus 401k with employer match, etc etc etc), so who are they kidding?

Just look at what a teacher with 10 years makes, or a Cop with 10 years on the force makes and they get full bennies and you’ll realize that $40/hr for a tech worker is about as bad as it can get.


April 11, 2014 at 11:39 am, Chris said:

I find this sort of meaningless. What is tech consulting wages? Most consultants charge an hourly rate (and a lot more than $40)

This article is just a waste –


April 11, 2014 at 12:09 pm, Cicuta said:

Peanuts for a 24×7 job and be ready to go on a sick leave after 3 month. Some doctors in the country are making 18 to 20 million dollars a year through Medicare which by the way had ties with crooked government’s officials, not to mention any names. Tech contractors probably can do the same and my guess is that large Tech companies will do it especially with elections around the corner on 2016.


March 21, 2016 at 11:02 am, meaningless article said:

This article is meaningless – all types of “consultants” are lumped together while some are making 15 per hour and others 100 per hour… plus geographic areas make a huge difference – one can live on 80k per year almost like a king in some areas of US while in NYC it is barely enough…
40/hr for who exactly? If it is BA, PM and programmers average, the rate is way above that, for example 1.25 – 2.5 times that.. (in US)
38 hrs a week is a funny piece of info – no comments.
Authors – please think what you post and do real research.


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