How to survive 20 years in consulting

by Michael Bourke


2015 marks the 20th anniversary of Beamans. A lot has changed in that time, so we asked Michael Bourke - one of the original founding members - for his thoughts on the last 20 years in consulting.

“I remember our very first consulting assignment, I was so proud that I framed a copy of the cheque we received. Nowadays no one pays by cheque and if you don’t have a purchase order number you won’t get paid at all!

Interestingly, although the world of consulting has changed over the last 20 years I don’t think our model of consulting has changed much at all. As a small company we always realised our competitive edge was to offer clients real added value. We have always focused on delivering first class products and services – and so it has been our clients who promote our work.

Today we offer more services than we did in 1995, but our basic operating philosophy and ethos hasn’t changed, and most of our business is still driven by referrals from others. We are proud to say that clients we worked with 20 years ago, are still working with us today.

You don’t survive 20 years in this industry as an SME unless you feel passionately about what you do. The last 20 years have been hugely competitive, exciting and tiring! But winning projects - especially beating the big players to it - and seeing work that makes a real difference are what it’s all about for us.

Michael Bourke, Founder

So what has changed in consulting?

Of course, it is the nature and type of work we undertake that has changed. Although there are certain elements of business that remain as strong today as they did 20 years ago. When we started off, job evaluation and grading was the mainstay of the business. Fast forward 20 years later, and job evaluation and grading is still an important element of our business. Indeed, despite all the various management initiatives that we’ve seen over the last 20 years, job size still matters!

The nature of reward – particularly in the context of reward management – has also moved on. Reward is no longer seen in fairly narrow terms, but in the wider context of how it can be used strategically to support talent management. The trick now is to ensure that reward forms part of a wider, joined up set of HR approaches aimed at recruiting and retaining the best talent.

Nowadays our work with clients tends to be as much about the strategic, as it is about the operational nuts and bolts of reward management. What helps, of course, is knowing how those nuts and bolts fit together and can be made to work in a more strategic fashion.”

Did you know….?

  1. The name ‘Beamans’ is an amalgam of letters from the names of the original founding members – Andrew Nursey and Michael Bourke.
  2. Our very first assignment was with the Victoria & Albert Museum
  3. We’ve worked with every single Whitehall department – and for most of their predecessors
  4. All our consultants are volunteers in their spare time
  5. Beamans’ longest continuous client assignment was for 3 years running
  6. The furthest we’ve travelled for an assignment was to Ethiopia
  7. In total we have worked with over 300 different public sector clients
  8. We have delivered JEGS Job Evaluation Training for the UK Government continuously for 18 years
  9. We have visited a client site in every single English County
  10. Our Managing Director Jane Lonsdale has run drama sessions for children in Tanzania, Kilimanjaro and NZ

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Michael Bourke

Michael Bourke is Beamans' Managing Director and lead expert on Job Evaluation and Reward & Performance Management.

BiographyArticles by Michael Bourke

This article is filed under: Consulting Job evaluation