The top 50 leading management consulting firms in the UK

19 January 2018 12 min. read

Deloitte Consulting, KPMG Advisory and McKinsey & Company are according to an analysis of 1,000 management consultancies with offices in the UK the three joint-leaders of the British industry. The list of top 50 consultancies is dominated by the sector’s biggest consulting names – as eight of the top ten ranks alone were taken up by the firms with the largest revenues in global consulting.

The UK’s management consulting market has grown significantly in recent years, and is now estimated as being worth more than £7 billion. As the industry enters the New Year, The Financial Times has released its annual ranking of the top members of Britain’s management consulting scene. Along with traditional management consultancy firms, those considered relevant for the analysis included IT consultancies, advisory branches of auditing firms and consultancy branches of technology companies.

In order to determine which firms are at the peak of the industry, the researchers commissioned Statista to create two online surveys. One polled around 4,300 consultants, consisting of executives and partners, while the other cross examined a pool of 1,100 executives of the management consultancies’ clients across a variety of sectors. Both questionnaires gave respondents the chance to present a selection of consulting firms on a long-list of over 1,000 firms with ratings of four to six stars – while those polled could also add organisations not on the list if they desired. Based on the feedback from both consultants and clients, a list of the leading consulting firms in the UK was crafted.

Top ten consulting firms

The top of the list sees a three way tie between Deloitte Consulting, KPMG Advisory and McKinsey & Company – each providing, according to the analysis, the strongest overall offering across all different industry/service areas investigated.Top 10 UK consulting firms

Deloitte is the world’s largest cyber security firm according to analysis, and with high-profile hacks continuing into 2018, the New Year looks likely to bring the firm a good deal more business of this sort. Fellow Big Four consulting wing KPMG Advisory also tops the list, in a year when the firm was involved in the headline-grabbing administration of UK airline Monarch. Matching two members of the Big Four, McKinsey was awarded a lucrative £1.9 million consulting contract to help the UK Government with Brexit last year, and with negotiations in Brussels continuing in 2018, the American strategy consulting firm can probably expect further work to boost its reputation and revenues this year. Earlier this week, McKinsey’s UK leader, Vivian Hunt, received a damehood as part of the New Year’s honours list.

Another Big Four name follows closely behind, as PwC Consulting scores just under the top three for the breadth and depth of its service portfolio. PwC launched a new drones practice in the UK at the beginning of 2018, and is looking to dominate the consulting space on the new technology in the coming months, as drone legislation opens up Britain’s skies to unmanned aircraft. The firm is followed by Accenture in fifth place. After a high-spending 2017, Accenture is keen to push forward with its expansion into the design and advertising space over the next 12 months.

In sixth place, completing the Big Four’s presence in the top ten, is EY Advisory Services. At the beginning of 2018, EY has launched a new geostrategic collaboration with Teneo, as the firm hopes to pick up business amid continuing instability in the worlds of global economics and politics. Next in the list of top consultancies is The Boston Consulting Group (BCG), who played an integral role in the launch of UK-based LGBT+ charity ‘Give Out’. The firm is followed closely by Boston-based rivals Bain & Company, who announced plans to hire record number of MBA interns in 2018 – in order to get ahead of their competitors in a tightening global talent pool. Bain are the last company listed to achieve top scores in over 20 different industries and functional areas.

Rounding off the top ten, IBM Global Business Services score high ratings for fourteen service areas – having appointed a new UK&I CEO in the summer, with an aim to boost revenues in 2018 – while A.T. Kearney and PA Consulting Group muster a shared tenth. A.T. Kearney launched a new energy transition institute last year, while PA continued its expansion into the aviation sector with the purchase of Nyras, its first acquisition globally in over five years.

Interestingly, UK’s list of the ten leading management consulting industry players is closely correlated with size – eight of the top ten are among the world’s largest consulting firms.

Leading consulting firms in the UK

Top 30 consultancies

Engineering consultancy Atkins and Oliver Wyman share joint 12th place. They are followed closely by five more firms, who in the eyes of the researchers and clients offer a strong client proposition in ten different industry/functional areas. These firms include Capgemini Consulting, who enjoyed their 50 year in business last year, and Baringa Partners, who recently expanded to the US, alongside Grant Thornton, KPMG Boxwood (formerly Boxwood) and Moorhouse Consulting.

Concluding the rundown of the top 20, professional services firm BDO Advisory and European-origin advisory BearingPoint sit in joint 19th, providing a highly recommended client offering in nine different areas each. In the last 12 months, BDO took in almost 300 employees amid a social mobility drive. BearingPoint meanwhile launched a RegTech partner programme in 2017 with a view to rolling it out in the near future – as a number of landmark regulations approached in 2018.

Argon Consulting, the last consulting firm to hold a unique position in the list, ranked 21st, thanks to the eight service sectors it caters to. Argon is followed by human capital consultancy Hay Group, part of Korn Ferry which underwent an expansion of its London Partner team in 2017, and global engineering consulting firm Mott MacDonald, which occupied a new office in Sheffield in June.

In joint 24th, Cognizant, L.E.K. Consulting, OC&C Strategy Consultants and Vendigital all offer top-notch services in six areas, according to the study’s findings. Last year, Cognizant fulfilled a major digital contract for the English Football Association, while OC&C – which focuses strongly on the retail sector – saw out the year advising on the closing of seven transactions in private equity.

In joint 28th position are BAE Systems Applied Intelligence – another of the world’s top ten cybersecurity firms, and PwC-owned Strategy& (formerly Booz & Company), both permeated top recognitions in five areas in the survey. Closing out the top 30 rankings are Alvarez & Marsal, a firm with 40 offices globally, LiveStrategy, a consultancy with offices in London, Winchester, New York, Washington DC and Malaga, London-based PPL Consulting, German-origin strategy consultant Roland Berger – who, like Capgemini, saw out their 50th anniversary in 2017 – and Tata Consultancy Services, the IT consulting arm of the Indian Tata conglomerate.

Top 50 consuting firms UK

Other top consultants

The remainder of UK’s top 50 consulting firms consists of nineteen other consultancies that in the survey are recognised for standing out in three different service areas. Able and How, a change management specialist from London, Arthur D. Little, the world’s oldest management consultancy and construction specialists Arcadis and Arup are joined by BMC Consulting Services and Capco – who returned to independence last year, thanks to new private equity backing.

Also level with those firms, Deloitte put in another appearance on the list with Deloitte Digital – which expanded rapidly in 2017, growing its Leadership team in Scotland in the process – alongside Efficio, a procurement and supply chain specialist, globally expanding FTI Consulting, analytics and research consultancy Gartner, Infosys, and Kantar Added Value. Kantar Added Value are part of the newly unified Kantar Consulting, owned by advertising giants WPP.

Further, Supply chain consulting firm LCP Consulting, which was acquired by BearingPoint last year, Big Four strategy-wing Monitor Deloitte (formed after Deloitte picked up Michael Porter’s Monitor Group), RSM UK, Sapient Consulting, The Berkeley Partnership and Wipro are joined by Simon-Kucher & Partners, an international consultancy specialised in sales, marketing and pricing, to conclude the list of UK’s top 50 management consulting firms.