The most popular consulting firms in UK for graduates

19 June 2016

25 advisory and consulting firms have been placed among UK’s top employers for graduates, according to the Guardian 300 rankings. The Big Four consulting firms, PwC, Deloitte, KPMG and EY, top the professional services sub-category, followed by among others the three large American origin strategy consultancies.

The Guardian UK 300 is the largest and most comprehensive annual survey of student opinion on graduate careers and employers. The results are based on the UK’s largest independent survey of students, powered by international research firm, trendence, and reflect the views of more than 60,000 undergraduates across all of UK’s universities.

While internet giant Google and public health group Cancer Research UK maintained the top two overall positions, with the Secret Intelligence Service MI6 third, the survey determines not only the most popular 300 graduate employers in the UK overall, but also the most popular graduate employers in a range of career sectors, including advertising, media and retail.

The most popular consulting firms in UK - Big Four

In the sub-category focusing exclusively on the consulting industry, a sector that generates between $120 billion to $280 billion globally in revenues per year (depending on the source used), it was revealed that 54% of students who expressed an interest had related work experience, while a majority of 62% were using LinkedIn to find prospective careers. The hopeful graduates also generally expected to earn an average income of £28,145 per annum.

Best Consulting Firms

Predictably perhaps, the top graduate employers in consulting are dominated by the Big Four, the firms with the highest revenue levels in the global industry. PwC, who host 1,200 new graduate vacancies each year, tops the list prestigious, and holds a thirteenth position in the overall Guardian 300 ranking. The result builds on PwC’s sustained popularity in The Times’ rival graduate employer survey, which the firm has ranked first in for 13 years consecutively.

PwC were followed by rivals Deloitte who have 29 offices across the UK, while KPMG, who open 1,000 graduate positions per year, came fourth. EY, who offer 900 grad positions each year completed a sweep for the Big Four, as they monopolised the top of the table rankings among the industry, with only IBM, which has global staff of 400,000 employees and takes on around 300 UK graduates per year, standing in between them.

Accenture, who were also joint runners up for the Times Top 50 Employers for Women earlier this year, rank fifth in the top consulting list. McKinsey & Company, the globe’s largest pure play strategy consultancy, holds sixth spot, ahead of its rivals The Boston Consulting Group, boasting offices in London and 81 other locations worldwide (ranked seventh), and Bain & Company, ranked eighth in the advisory space.

The most popular consulting firms in UK for graduates

Completing the top ten are two well-known accounting and consulting groups: Grant Thornton, ranked 120th overall, up 12 positions from last year, and RSM (formerly Baker Tilly UK), which jumped more than 70 spots. Also Capgemini, a global IT consulting, including its management consulting subsidiary Capgemini Consulting, managed to significantly advance its reputation among graduates, upgrading its position 60 places to 173rd this year, while UK-origin management consultancy PA Consulting Group ranks 12tth in the specific consultancy list. Other firms that in the eyes of students are the best places to start their career in consulting are BDO, an audit and advisory specialist, Aon and Mercer, both international HR consultancies.

Top professional services groups

Beyond the list focusing on consulting specifically meanwhile, a number of further firms from the professional services world were also present. Engineering consulting firms saw a year of mixed fortunes as graduates ranked some as increasingly desirable workplaces, while others fell rapidly down the chart. Arup fell ten places to 57th, while Atkins diminished by 16 to hit 75th and Mace also declined to 217th. Fellow engineering consultants AECOM meanwhile broke into the top century of graduate employers, moving from 105th to 86th this year. Mott MacDonald also managed to venture into the upper third of the list, to rank 97th this year.

Likewise, large IT consulting firms also performed well in terms of graduate popularity – Fujitsu and CHP Consulting both improved to sit 248th and 213th respectively, while complete newcomers CGI, who offer 100 graduate jobs including 30 industrial placement roles per year rank 286th. Fellow new arrivals Atos, a France headquartered conglomerate, who offer 140 graduate jobs per year, sit in 281st place.

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Six attractive professional services firms to work for in UK

23 April 2019

Consulting firms dominate the 25 companies named by LinkedIn as the most attractive organisations to work for in Britain. JLL, Engie, CBRE, Atkins, Schroders and GE each made the grade, with the professional services sector putting in the strongest showing of any industry in the UK.

Each year, the editors and data scientists of social business platform LinkedIn examine which firms are the most attractive to job seekers, as well as which are the best at retaining their talent. Utilising information gathered from billions of actions taken by more than 433 million members, LinkedIn leverages a data-driven approach to consider what members are doing – not just saying – in their search for fulfilling careers. The result is the Top Companies list, an annual ranking of the most sought-after companies – now in its fifth year.

Each of the previous incarnations of the list has seen a strong showing from the UK consulting industry, with its contingent including McKinsey & Company, EYBoston Consultancy Group and Accenture in 2018. This year has seen the sector continue to see its stock rise, with the diversity of the sector’s workload buoying six professional services firms which were not on the previous ranking to prominence.

Analysing the anonymised actions of British-based LinkedIn members, the company determined which firms were the most attractive through four main pillars: interest in the company, engagement with the company’s employees, job demand and employee retention. As a result of this, real estate professional services firm JLL was found to be the most attractive consulting firm to LinkedIn members in the UK.

Six most attractive professional services firms to work for in UK

Ranked sixth in the overall list of companies, 2018 saw the commercial real estate services consultancy expand its London-based Ratings practice in anticipation of growing demand for real estate valuations in the UK. JLL, which boasts a global headcount of 82,000, holds UK locations in London, Norwich and Manchester, and the firm was recently named one of the world’s most ethical companies for the 12th year in a row by The Ethisphere Institute. 

Sitting 10th in LinkedIn’s ranking, Engie is a French multinational professional services firm, headquartered in La Défense, Courbevoie. While the firm primarily operates in utilities – specifically in the fields of electricity generation and distribution, natural gas, nuclear, renewable energy and petroleum – its investment in cleaner tech has also seen it come to offer a host of engineering consulting services, including feasibility studies, engineering, project management and client support. The firm’s 19,000 UK staff work from offices in London, Leeds and Newcastle-upon-Tyne.

With a global headcount of 90,000, CBRE, which was ranked 13th by LinkedIn, is a real estate advisory firm, with UK offices in London, Birmingham and Glasgow. The firm oversaw the sale of a number of major locations over the course of 2018, including a key residential site in North Leigh, and an office belonging to the British Steel Pension Fund.

Atkins, which was listed 23rd, is a British professional services firm which was purchased by the SNC-Lavalin Group for £2.1 billion in 2017. With 7,300 employees in the UK, Atkins operates from locations in London, Bristol, Kingston-upon-Thames, and offers services in engineering, operations, programme and project management. Late in 2018, the firm was named one of the top employers in the UK for working mothers, receiving plaudits for its innovation in flexible working from

Schroders, a global asset management firm with UK offices in London, Bromley, Chelmsford, ranked 24th. Asset management is a fast-expanding segment of consulting, and according to LinkedIn, 43% of the professional services firm’s staff have been at the company for at least six years, while nearly a third of UK roles were filled with internal candidates in 2017. Schroders boasts a global headcount of 4,600.

Finally, multifaceted professional services firm GE was ranked 25th. The engineering, operations, information technology and advisory firm has its hand in everything from energy to health care – where it was recently nominated for a prize at the 2019 Management Consultancies Association Awards. The long-standing conglomerate said 2019 is set to be a “reset year”, while it seeks to revamp its power-related businesses at the same time that it builds on strong growth within the aviation scene.

Other sectors

Elsewhere, the financial services industry saw a high level of representation in LinkedIn’s ranking. JP Morgan was listed in second place, while Barclays, Goldman Sachs and Aviva also made the grade. This represents a decline of one listing since 2018’s figures, perhaps reflecting the uncertainty surrounding the UK’s financial sector, amid the continued twists and turns of the Brexit saga.

Retail saw a slight rebound on its decimation in last year’s ranking. Having seemingly fallen out of favour in 2018, Sainsbury’s returned this year, sitting in third place. It was joined in the top 25 by fellow ‘Big Four’ supermarket Asda – though the news that some 60,000 Asda staff could be in line to lose their paid lunch breaks under new contracts could well see the company drop off the list in 2020. Marks & Spencer also made the list. The historically up-market supermarket now runs a work-placement programme called Marks & Start, which helps single parents, people with disabilities and the homeless to build careers within the company.

Healthcare and pharmaceuticals saw three entrants in the list too. Britain’s 50 fastest-growing privately-owned pharmaceutical companies have all increased sales by at least 10% in each of their last two financial years, facing down headwinds such as Brexit and NHS spending pressures to deliver rapid growth. GSK represented the pharmaceutical sector in fourth place, while Bupa and Johnson & Johnson stood for the healthcare and hospital industry in fifth and 16th respectively.

While the technology sector ultimately hosted the ranking’s top performer, Amazon, the only other sector incumbent was Google parent company Alphabet, in 19th. Salesforce and Dell Technologies, meanwhile, dropped off the ranking, having both been present in 2018.

The oil and energy sector’s representation is supplemented by hybrid firm Engie; however, the sector only fielded two pure-play members. BP, in eighth, and Shell, in 11th, have both spent time attempting to diversify in recent years, prompted by public image crises relating to the negative impact of fossil fuels on the planet, as well declining oil prices and the rising demand for renewable energy. These dynamics have, in turn, led to new skills coming into demand within the companies. 

Finally, the list was rounded off by singular representatives of five separate industries. Representing leisure in 12th was TUI, followed by food producer Associated British Foods (17th), building materials firm Travis Perkins (20th), telecommunications giant BT (21st) and utilities firm Centrica (22nd).