A requirement for consulting experience? To an extent yes, but consulting isn't the only route - there are plenty of other routes to jobs like mine: if you know what you want it's pretty easy to position yourself to get it. None of my colleagues came from consulting.
And my pay is a result of public sector overinflation? Don't be so pompous. Yes, pay scales are less volatile in the public sector, but the organisation I'm with is looking to attract and retain the best people. I'm not naive enough to say I'll keep pace with consulting, but then my pay slip isn't the most important thing in my life - and with my work hours, I get paid significantly more per hour than I ever did in consulting!