The most popular consulting firms in UK for graduates

19 June 2016 6 min. read
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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.