Best Management Consulting Firms to Work For 2014

15 September 2014 Consultancy.uk

The Boston Consulting Group is according to more than 10,000 consultants the best employer in the consulting industry. Bain & Company, which won the award for 11 consecutive years, surprisingly falls out of the top 15. Other large and well-known names in the prestigious ranking include Deloitte Consulting, EY, PwC, L.E.K. Consulting and Protiviti.

Every year ‘Consulting Magazine’, a U.S. based magazine for consultants, conducts research on good employership in the industry. More than 10,000 consultants across all levels (from junior consultant to partner) participated in the survey, rating roughly 350 consulting firms. Firms were evaluated on six key areas: client engagement, firm culture, firm leadership, career development, work-life balance and compensation & benefits. The 15 firms with the highest average scores are included in the so-called ‘Best Consulting Firms to Work’ ranking.

Best Firm to Work for - Categories

For the first time in twelve years there is a new #1: The Boston Consulting Group (BCG). The strategy consultancy structurally scores well in the ranking – the firm has made the top 15 of the list all 14 years it’s been around, and BCG has never ranked outside the top 5. After the firm finished on #2 spot for the past four years, it now in 2014 breaks on through to the other side, displacing rival Bain & Company, which sees an extraordinary run of 11 consecutive top spots abruptly halted. EY, McGladrey, L.E.K. Consulting and Protiviti are this years’ newcomers. An overview of the top 15:

Best Firm to Work for - Top15

See the table below for a detailed overview of scores between 2007 – 2013.

BCG’s top spot is based on a strong performance across all six categories – the firm finds itself in the top 5 of each – and on a #1 spot in the ‘Compensation & Benefits’ category. “Being recognised as the Best Firm to Work For is an important recognition of the kind of firm and work environment we’ve created and reinforced,” says Rich Lesser, BCG’s global CEO. In his view, a number of unique characteristics differentiate BCG from the rest, including the quality of its projects and consultants, the non-hierarchical and team-oriented culture* and personal development opportunities. In addition, the chief executive highlights how effective BCG has been with improving the mobility and work-life balance of its people through its ‘PTO**’ initiative. “We continue to see the impact of on our culture and team effectiveness throughout the world.”

BCG - Shaping the Future

The top 5 of the list is completed by consulting firms Point B, Slalom Consulting, Carlisle & Gallagher and North Highland. Three firms drop out of the top 15: A.T. Kearney, Alvarez & Marsal and Capco.

Global vs European, Consulting Magazine vs Vault
When interpreting the rankings it is relevant to keep two aspects in mind. Firstly, the ‘Best Consulting Firms to Work’ ranking is predominantly based on the view of American consultants – roughly 70% of the respondents are based in the United States. As a result, several firms on the list tend to be less well known across the ocean. For instance, Point B (#2) has seven offices, however none outside North America, while Slalom Consulting (#3) has seventeen offices, of which just one is outside the U.S. (London). It also means that consulting firms that outside the U.S. enjoy a strong reputation in the area of employership may not be on the list. Secondly, earlier this month a similar research was released by Vault***, and although there are several similarities there too are remarkable differences (e.g. Bain & Company is #1 in the Vault list, outside the top 15 of Consulting Magazine’s list). See the ranking ‘Top 50 global management consulting firms’ for details.

Detailed list: Best Consulting Firms to Work 2007 – 2014

Consulting Firm  2014  2013  2012  2011  2010  2009  2008  2007
The Boston Consulting Group  1  2  2  2  2  3  3  2
Point B  2  4  -  4  4  -  4  -
Slalom Consulting  3  5  4  6  10  -  -  10
Carlisle & Gallagher  4  6  8   -  -  -  -  -
North Highland  5  3  3  3  3  4  3  4
CapTech  6  7  5  -  -  -  -  -
West Monroe Partners  7  10  15  -  -  -  -  9
Deloitte Consulting  8  8  6  5   6  10  -  -
EY  9  -  -  11  -  -  -  -
Kurt Salmon  10  9  10  -  -  -  10  7
Huron Consulting Group  11  13  7  10  -  -  -  -
McGladrey  12  -  -  -  -  -  -   - 
PwC  13  15  9  8  8  14  -  -
L.E.K. Consulting  14  -  -  -  -  -  -  -
Protiviti  15  -  -  -  -  -  -  -
Bain & Company  -  1  1  1  1  1  1  1
Alvarez & Marsal   -   11  -  -   -   12   6   - 
Capco   -   12  13  -  14   -   -   - 
A.T. Kearney   -   14  14 15  13   11  8 -
Booz Allen Hamilton  -  -  11  9  7   5   - 
MorganFranklin   -    -   12  -   -   - 
McKinsey & Company  -  -  -  5   - 
Accenture  -  -  - 12  9  - 
Crowe Horwath  -  -  - 13   - -
Booz & Company (now Strategy&)   -   -   - 12  15 
Milliman  -  -   -  11  9
AlixPartners   -    -    -    -   - 
ZS Associates  -   -    -   -   - 
Towers Watson   -   -  - - 13   - 
Oliver Wyman   -    -    -   -   -


The scores for Monitor (acquired by Deloitte) and PRTM (acquired by PwC) excluded.

* This is perhaps best exemplified by BCG’s non-hierarchical approach in the top of the firm. Every partner is, regardless of seniority, given equal voting rights, unlike the partner voting systems used by the majority of industry peers. “That means BCG has an unusually democratic, non-hierarchical and open culture,” says Lesser, who himself in June 2012 was democratically voted the firm’s 6th CEO in its history.

** Strategy consulting is notorious for the high work pressure and long working hours, therefore BCG a in 2010 launched a programma named ‘Predictability, Teaming and Open Communication’ (PTO), with the aim of fostering a healthier work-life balance. One of the programme’s objectives is to stimulate BCG consultants to switch of their smartphone entirely one evening per week, a feat which according to research from Leslie Perlow (Harvard) led to a higher job engagement and satisfaction. 1,400 partner, consultants and staff employees participated in the year-long research.

*** The Vault ranking however is slightly broader than Consulting Magazine, next to employee satisfaction (60%) also weighing in prestige (30%) and business outlook (10%) factors.

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