Best UK Firms

Who exactly are the best consulting firms in the UK depends largely on which definition of “best” is used. There are a variety of different rankings fitting an assortment of criteria for finding the British consulting industry’s top names – but the key fields for someone looking to get an understanding of the industry are employability and client satisfaction.

While generally, the Big Four consultancy firms EY, KPMG, PwC and Deloitte are ever-presents in “best of” lists, these rankings do not rely purely on reputation or size alone. Recognition for services provided among other firms, clients, and cross-industry bodies in the form of awards help give a good impression of the consultancies that perform best for clients. Rankings typically revolve around popularity with prospective employees, current workforce satisfaction, client satisfaction and project excellence across a range of sectors and segments – all giving an excellent overview of the industry for any individual weighing up engaging with a consulting firm.

Best place to work rankings

The methodology to determine the best consulting firms in terms of employership also vary, though such rankings are generally not industry specific. The Sunday Times runs numerous lists ranking the best employers of the UK, including a list of ‘Best Companies to Work For, which the researchers determine by a survey which asks staff of companies across the UK to assess their employers on grounds of “Leadership”, “Wellbeing”, “Giving something back”, “Personal growth”, “My manager”, “My company”, “My team” and “Fair deal”. Professional services firms and consulting firms in particular make the prestigious list regularly.

The Great Place to Work Institute meanwhile runs two annual surveys asking staff of companies from all industries about employee engagement and as well as of policies that create the conditions that drive engagement, before weighting the results and dividing winners into small, medium and large business categories. Over the past few years, up to one third of the top 100 UK workplaces listed are active in the professional services industry.

Employer review platform Glassdoor also runs an annual study naming the best places to work in the UK. To compile the ranking, the employer review platform asks thousands of employees to rate how satisfied they are with their employer, judging by their overall satisfaction with company culture, how well they feel their CEO leads as well as key workplace attributes including career opportunities, compensation and benefits, culture and values, and work-life balance.

While Glassdoor does include professional services firms among its top employers, it also draws up a yearly list of the top 30 finance and consulting employers in the UK, which gives a more industry specific view of who the best consulting firms are. The list is created by analysing the tens of thousands of anonymous reviews left on Glassdoor (based on a five point scale) by people in the UK for their employers, with those with fewer than 30 reviews excluded.

Similarly, employment and business networking platform LinkedIn also utilise data gathered through the use of their site to determine the most desirable employers. Each year the world’s largest professional network is fed data continuously by its global user-base of job seekers, and leveraging the information gathered from billions of actions taken by their 433+ million members, the network’s insights and global editorial teams analyse the input to come up with a blended score that they used to rank the most desirable employers globally and in the UK.

Best targeted employers

A number of rankings are also available to determine the best consulting firms as employers for particular social groups. This varies from those simply focused on graduate employment, to those committed to working toward workplace equality, and better diversity within corporate structures.

As well as the previously mentioned best 100 UK employers ranking, The Times also provide rankings for a number of select groups, including entry-level employees and graduates – for which it creates an annual Top 100 Graduate Employers list – as well as running a Top 50 list for the best employers of women in the UK.

Fellow newspaper and media group Guardian UK meanwhile run an overall 300-strong list of top graduate employees as voted for by students and graduates, which it then separates into a number of industry exclusive top ten tables, with one focused on the best UK consulting firms for graduate employment. Groups like Universum and RateMyPlacement meanwhile craft their own lists of best employers for undergraduates and graduates, with many top management consulting firms household names in the cut.

There are today also many rankings that highlight other areas of employership, such as encouraging diversity in the workplace through ranking the best places for women, working mums or support of LGBT values.

Industry Recognition

There are also rankings derived from praise within the industry. These can come from analyst firms such as ALM, Source Global Research, Gartner or IDC, while international rankings for the best consulting groups are also published by media outlets such as Consulting Magazine or Forbes (two US based platforms). Consultants too are regularly polled for identifying the top firms in their own industry, with Vault and Ivy Exec recognised as two outlets that run significant polls across the consultants base on aspects such as prestige and work attractiveness.

The most notable industry award in the UK is run by the Management Consulting Association’s (MCA) – UK’s representative body for consulting firms – which includes prizes for best advisory and consulting firms, consultants and projects. The client-based work of consulting firms spans numerous industries meanwhile, making firms eligible to receive all kinds of awards and competitions within different sectors – meaning consulting groups are often named as best companies in diverse fields from finance, to retail to supply chain or project management.

Ultimately then, naming the best consulting firm in the UK is completely dependent on who you ask, and what your criteria for ‘best’ is.

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