Top 10 consulting jobs with the highest annual salary in the UK

06 November 2017

How much does a consultant earn in the UK consulting industry, and how do researchers tell who earns most? Current data show that this depends on, among other things, the experience a consultant has, the grade they operate at, and the consultancy field in which the consultant is active – as well as the subjective interpretations of those categories by researchers themselves.

To gain insight into consulting jobs that pay the most, has explored research from employment database Indeed, with more than 20,000 relevant jobs presently featured on the platform. According to the figures from Indeed, the top paid position within consulting is senior security consultant, with an annual wage of £67,364 per year. This was closely followed by senior management consultant roles, which were typically said to earn around £66,176 annually. However, both these figures were outliers from the remaining pack of senior positions, suggesting that, due to a matter of timing, there are likely to have been few positions in these two areas at this time, which would likely have drawn them more in line with the average wages of the rest of the top ten. 

Top 10 consulting jobs with the highest annual salary

However, patterns that can more reliably be drawn from this are that consulting services roles with the highest gross annual salaries were largely positioned within the security and technology segments of the trade. Six of the top ten related directly to those areas, with two security positions in particular drawing top wages. This may be explained partly by the fact that the phenomenon of cybersecurity consulting is booming at present, with top firms drawing billions of dollars in the sector. This is largely thanks to a number of high-profile attacks on businesses and public institutions – including the NHS and even cybersecurity experts Deloitte – which have driven up demand for skills in security advisory. With demand booming, consultants in that field can afford to charge a premium for their sought after services.

Technological consulting can likewise claim such a boost to wages. Huge demand for digital and technological transformation of clients means that those positioned well with the talent to advise on the matters can expect higher salaries due to their in-demand capabilities. The digital transformation consulting sector alone is worth $23 billion, at present.

Total salary of management consultants in the UK

While Indeed’s data does provide industrial insights, meanwhile, it is not complete. Roles including Principal Consultants, Directors and Partners at consulting firms do not feature on the top listed roles, despite boasting large incomes. This is because such positions are rarely, if ever, advertised on job listings, instead being advertised on industry specific platforms, or the result of internal promotions or headhunting. Their incomes are also more heavily supplemented by benefits and bonuses, making their exact earnings, although almost certainly higher, hard to pinpoint.

According to a salary review of the industry by Prism Executive Recruitment, senior consultants typically earn as much as £72,000 after bonuses, while management consultants may earn as much as £108,000. Both figures are higher than the upper reaches of Indeed’s data. Meanwhile, Prism also note that senior managers could see £150,000, directors could receive £190,000, and partners could earn in excess of £250,000 a year – though this figure could not be made more specific due to the fluctuating nature of profit shares at various companies.

Annual salary of management consultants in the UK

Conflictingly, however, research from Mindbench’s own ‘Salary Report’ does average out the upper reaches of salaries for partners at consulting firms. Typically, Mindbench found that partners would earn around £170,568 per annum, with 80% of that made up of base salary, a far higher proportion than Prism anticipated, partly due to Mindbench’s reluctance to over estimate the size of the bonus that partners take home – 11% compared to Prism’s more generous 30%. 

MindBench and Prism’s analyses are meanwhile also dependent on exactly how you define a consultant. Prism’s analysis is founded on the assumption that a consultant rank has 2-5 years of experience, while MindBench ranks a senior consultant as between 3-6, and compiles it with the junior consultant rank, leading to a higher average wage for that lowest rung at £45,795 a year, compared to £32,000 – with consultants separated out from juniors at £53,000 per year in Prism’s study.

Ultimately, the best paid consulting jobs are subjective on which method you attribute most value to. While Indeed’s figures are the most easily attainable and quantifiable, they exclude the more fluid, and often higher compensation packages of the high ranking roles in many consultancies, compared to MindBench and Prism’s studies, which depend on more subjective definitions of the market, making their conclusions open to interpretation in the process.