Over the past five years there has been an exodus of high caliber players leaving the Health & Welfare consultancy side of the table. This is a movement that has perplexed many. Of all places, they are moving back from whence they came. They are moving back to the carriers.

During that period of time I received many calls from individuals in consulting firms inquiring about opportunities on the carrier side of the table. Whenever I probed to ascertain what has prompted this motivation and the specific roles of interest, I often got many vague and convoluted replies. I could not fully wrap my arms around what specifically was the appeal.

I contacted one of the earlier adopters of this move for further insights.
Here is the short answer:

“Carriers are better positioned to provide consultative advice to employers; they have existing relationships, immediate access to claim and other data, so they can easily implement disease, care management and other product offerings.
When I question the possible conflict of interest of a business model that solicit and compete against their own clients, I was told another answer. The short answer is money.

Here is the long answer; it is called the consulting trap:

Picture a Coke bottle



The width of the bottle represents the amount of people working in all consulting firms.
The length of the bottle represents the number of years to work in consulting firms. (Lets say from age 22 to age 65).
If you take a good look at the bottle, you will see that it is pretty large at the base, and it starts to curve and become narrower as it approaches the top.

At the point where it starts to become narrow, it means that there are fewer jobs available at that level to support the number of people working in consulting firms.

Many of the more seasoned consultants essentially will be let go. This occurs right around age 40 to 55 where we see the bulk of lay-offs. This age group is an easy target for lay-off because they are making too much money, they’re considered over qualified, and have eroding skills; they have health issues, they’re less flexible because of family commitments, and they can easily be replace by someone younger, and at a lower salary.

If you took an x-ray of this bottle, what you will see is an organizational chart!
As you can see there are many jobs at the bottom rung and very few at the top.
That’s because there is only one National Head, one Regional and one Office Head. Below are Practice Leaders, then senior consultants, project managers; then a slew of lower level Analysts.

How do you avoid this trap?
The first thing that you need to do is to make that commitment to go all the way to the top. That means that you have to go back to school, get more training and make yourself more marketable to your employer and in your industry. Or you can transition your career to a different side of the healthcare space like a carrier or corporate by leveraging your consulting experience.