A consultant is a business or technical professional that is hired on contract to accomplish a specific task for a company in that consultant’s area of expertise. Companies hire consultants for jobs that are outside that company’s main area of focus. Over the last decade, the use of consultants and contract workers has grown dramatically in the United States. Companies like Microsoft have over 7,000 contract consultants working for them at any given time. In the United States there are about 3 million contract employees working.
Client companies generally cannot hire consultants directly. Instead, they must hire them trough consulting firms like MCC, Ajilon, Anderson Consulting, Manpower, etc. These consulting firms handle all the recruiting and manage all the benefits and payroll of the employee.

Industry Trends:
Outsourcing is a trend that is here to stay. Companies and government are beginning to outsource entire departments of their company to other firms to manage. Companies are choosing to focus on what they do best (their core competency) and hire other companies to manage the other functions of their business. General Motors outsources its entire information technology to EDS. The contracting market benefits both the consultant and the client company. For the client, it gives them the ability to adapt quickly to changing technologies by being able to put together quickly consultant teams that will get the job done. For the consultant, it offers the opportunity to work with the latest technologies in a variety of challenging.