A large share of consultants drives around in a company car. As engagements typically require travel to and from client offices, consultants spend a considerable number of hours commuting per week. In support of their travel needs, the majority of consulting firms provide their consultants, across all levels – from junior consultants to managers and partners – access to a company car scheme.
International research shows that in countries where lease arrangements are a common part of mobility plans, more than half of the consultants tend to have a company car. At the larger players in the consulting industry, such as the Big Four, the percentage of firms that have a company car scheme tends to be higher, commonly at 70% or above.
Similar to mobility policies in other sectors, the company car allowance is typically tied to seniority. Consulting firms generally work with a nominal lease budget per level – this amount determines how much a consultant can spend on a company car, accessories and other add-ons required. At some firms, consultants are not allowed to exceed the budget, while at others, overriding is allowed yet the difference is charged out to the consultant. A portion of consultancies ask their consultants to contribute a certain percentage (fixed monthly amount) of the lease budgets.
The height of a company car allowance and the percentage of consultants that make use of the scheme differs significantly per level. Data from Consultancy.uk reveals that, in the top of the consultancy industry, on average between 70% to 90% of consultants drive a lease car. Partners are the exception, they more often opt to make use of a cash benefit and buy their own car instead.
Junior consultants nearly always lease a car within their allowance budget, while Directors and Principals more than other levels drive a company car with a value above their standard allowance.
Most popular company cars
Data from mainland Europe shows that Volkswagen is, with a market share of 25%, the most popular company car brand among consultants – data for the UK is not available. Important to keep in mind is that consulting firms typically through lease catalogues determine the portfolio of available brands and cars, particularly so if mobility schemes are procurement teams are centralised. Some firms work have exception policies in place, while other offer no room for choosing a company car that is not part of the catalogue.
After Volkswagen follows Audi and Renault, with Volvo and BMW concluding the top five. Between genders the top five is relatively consistent – most important difference is that women prefer Volkswagen, while men more often drive an Audi.
With the rise of company car allowances come also changing car preferences. At the junior and medior consultant level, nearly one third of professionals drive a Volkswagen. From Manager level onwards, Audi gains popularity, with also Renault and Volvo seeing their popularity pick up. Other cars that rank as a top 10 company car in the consulting industry are BMW, Skoda, Peugeot, Seat, Ford and Toyota.
In the past years sustainability has been playing an increasingly growing role in the mobility strategies of consulting firms. This has sparked two major trends within internal operations.
Firstly, consultants are more and more stimulated to use public transport because the transport mode is more environmentally friendly. It is estimated that between 40% to 50% of consultants in the UK possesses a public transport card, while in highly urban regions (e.g. Greater London) this percentage rises up to around 80%. An additional advantage of public transport is that travelling by train can boost productivity as, contrary to travelling by car, trains offer consultants the opportunity to work while commuting.
The shift towards a more flexible mobility approach also follows from the rise of new ways of working, such as smart working or remote working. Consultants are used to work remotely and off premise, implying that such modern ways of working are ideally suited for consultants. Many locations which facilitate remote working are based close to metro and/or train stations.
The second major trend is that of more focus on sustainability in the vehicle leasing value chain. As part of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) agenda's, consultancies are actively busy with greening their vehicle operations. With the aim of lowering their carbon footprint from business cars, a large share of consulting firms have added more environmentally friendly cars to their catalogues. In many cases the move brings along financial benefits to consultants too in the form of a lower tax burden.