what is an advisor?

An advisor is a person with specialised talents and experience in a particular field. They use their deep knowledge to counsel others in developing their own multidisciplinary and cross-functional expertise.

As an advisor, you consult with clients but are not a consultant. Consultants are fixers and provide concrete answers, analyses, expert opinions and practical recommendations. As an advisor, you guide your clients to help them identify issues in their business and develop the best solutions, rather than dictating the steps they should take.

what does an advisor do?

An advisor supports planning processes without necessarily providing answers. Instead, they offer guidance and suggestions to help their advisees reach conclusions about their options and strategies. The advisor's goal is to help find solutions through reason and interaction. Advisees develop professional relationships with advisors and gain access to their expertise, experiences, networks, education and more on a personal level.

Good advisors know how to communicate efficiently. They listen constructively to grasp all aspects of a situation, then access and use their history to provide relevant information. Most importantly, advisors exude a strong sense of leadership.

advisor jobs

average advisor salary

As an advisor, you work in various industries and specialise in diverse fields. Hence, your remuneration package will depend on your area of expertise. The median salary of an advisor is $92,000 per year. Entry-level roles usually attract $68,500 annually, while experienced advisors take home over $100,000 yearly. Financial advisors earn an average salary of $69,000 annually, with top professionals taking home a remuneration package over $105,000 annually. Aside from the base salaries, most advisors receive lucrative bonus packages for successful projects. 

what affects the salary of an advisor?

Advisors' salaries mainly rely on their field of expertise. For instance, advising people on financial matters is complicated and requires in-depth knowledge of the financial world. Hence, the complexity of the role increases the remuneration package. Specialising in a particular industry, such as the mining industry, also increases your salary prospects since you can provide expert knowledge.

Working in metro areas improves your salary prospects due to the high demand for advisors in large cities. The cost of living in big cities also increases the remuneration package for advisors.

close up, smiling female
close up, smiling female

types of advisors

Some of the common types of advisors include:

  • advisory consultant: as an advisory consultant you provide advice and guidance to businesses and individuals. You offer your expertise in a particular area, such as marketing, financial planning, or human resources. Advisory consultants typically have a wide range of knowledge and experience, and they use this to help their clients make informed decisions.
  • business advisory consultant: as a business advisory consultant you provide advice and guidance to businesses to help them improve their operations and bottom line.
  • environment advisor: as an environment advisor you provide advice and guidance on environmental issues.
  • development advisor: as a development advisor you provide guidance and advice to individuals and organizations on how to improve their performance and achieve their goals. Development advisors typically have a background in psychology, human resources, or management.
  • project advisor: as a project advisor you provide guidance and advice to a project manager or project team.
  • political advisors: as a political advisor, you strategise and plan. You are intensely involved in political campaigns and also work with elected officials. Advisors attend meetings, manage schedules, suggest next moves and identify the elements needed to influence parties to support a politician. You also conduct and analyse polls to better understand the political landscape.
  • academic advisors: your role is to keep students on track, advising them through academic accomplishments and promoting smart choices concerning career goals. As an academic advisor, you work with students, providing honest assessments of interpersonal and academic interests, skills, weaknesses and strengths.
  • financial advisor: as a financial advisor, you assist companies and businesses in meeting their short-term and long-term financial goals. You discuss your client's financial status and desired objectives. You also make recommendations on the investments and insurance that will improve their financial situation.

working as an advisor

Working as an advisor allows you to utilise your analytical and problem-solving skills. It is a rewarding role that lets you assist businesses with expansion and growth opportunities. Read on for details on the duties and work environments of advisors.


education and skills

To become an advisor, you need the following qualifications:

  • diploma or bachelor's degree: to be an advisor, a bachelor's or diploma in a relevant field is vital. The course should help you gain knowledge in a specific area. For instance, if you want to become a financial advisor, you can pursue a course in financial planning, business or accounting.
  • gain work experience: when you finish your bachelor's degree, you can start with internships and entry-level positions to gain skills and work experience. Most advisors begin in administrative roles at the bottom and work their way up as they gain work experience. In some specialisms, advisors need a licence to advise people on specific matters.

advisor skills and competencies

Some of the skills that an advisor needs include:

  • client relationship skills: as an advisor, you need client relationship skills to retain your clients. You should maintain professionalism and positive working relationship to grow your network and foster trust. As an advisor, you need emotional intelligence to be mindful of the clients' situations and ensure your recommendations are appropriate.
  • research skills: as an advisor, you need exceptional research skills to assist your clients effectively. For instance, if a client needs financial advice, you must research their history. You investigate previous money management strategies that led to their current situation.
  • analytical skills: advisors rely on analytical thinking to find the ideal tools for adjusting to changing circumstances. For instance, analytical skills help advisors find the perfect strategies for improving client outcomes. You analyse data to offer data-driven decisions on useful strategies.
  • communication skills: communication skills are vital for maintaining client relationships. Active listening helps you understand the clients' expectations, while verbal communication lets you clearly explain your findings and research to a client.
  • empathy: as an advisor, your empathic qualities enable you to develop meaningful connections with clients. Empathising with clients ensures you are sensitive to their situation since you have access to personal information. When providing recommendations, you should ensure they cater to the clients' needs.

FAQs about working as an advisor

Here are the most asked questions about working as an advisor:

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