The top 15 consulting firm employers for undergraduate students

29 January 2018

According to a new survey of British-based students, 15 consulting firms are among the 100 best companies to work for as a UK undergraduate. The news comes as a boost for the industry, which is increasingly competing for a shrinking talent pool.

UK employers are braced for an oncoming talent shortage in coming years, as Brexit and an ageing population threaten to deplete the national workforce of skilled workers, along with the need to upskill current employees in order to make best use of digitised organisational practices. This means that attracting graduates this year, and in years to come, takes on an added significance for top organisations. 532,300 people joined higher education in 2015, and as that intake prepares to graduate in the Summer of 2018, the majority will be preparing to enter the world of full-time work.

Multiple polls and lists have revealed that the consulting industry is among the best positioned to take advantage of this new pool of talent. This, even in spite the fact that professional services and accounting firms do not offer the highest starting salary available to graduates. Consulting starters earn an average of £30,000 a year, while starters at consulting firms brought in £31,500 annually, compared to the top earning industry of investment banking, at £47,000.

As a new selection of skilled workers approach availability, consulting firms are determined to place themselves in prime view of the future prospective employees, leveraging undergraduate placement schemes in order to do so. The good news for current and prospective undergraduates is that, as a result of top companies being aware of this increased competition for talent, the number of placements available to them at top 100 companies has increased by 32% in the past four years, and the average salary for these schemes has risen by 7.3%, slightly above inflation. 15 consulting firms are particularly well-placed to take advantage of the coming glut of talent thanks to these placements.The top 15 consulting firms for undergraduate students

In order to determine who the Top 100 Undergraduate Employers 2017-18, took in the opinions of more than 7,000 students. Reviews saw participants of undergraduate work experience placements at companies across Britain asked to evaluate their time with their employers. Respondents were asked how much responsibility they were given, whether they felt valued by colleagues, their impressions of the company in general, and how they rated any training and development opportunities they were offered, alongside the transferable skills they gained. From this, analysis has revealed the top consulting firms for graduate employment in the UK.

Top undergraduate employers

The outright list was topped by J.P. Morgan, with Bank of America Merrill Lynch in second. Following another year as the world’s largest consulting industry player, PwC took third in the overall list from, as the highest positioned consulting firm which employs UK undergraduates. PwC also recently topped the preferences of graduates in a prestigious Times Education list, as it has done for numerous consecutive years.

All the constituent members of the Big Four appeared in this ranking, meanwhile with KPMG joining PwC (ranking fourth outright), as the second best consulting firm for undergraduate employment. However, the world’s largest professional services firms were not the only ones among the top ranks for the industry. The remainder of the firms ranked outside’s broader top ten. Real estate advisory specialists Savills ranked third, ahead of EY, who hired 248 graduates in 2017, amid a period of strong revenue growth. Closing out the top five consulting firms for undergraduate employment, IBM are preparing for a year of change following a difficult 2017.

Grant Thornton were the next most favoured undergraduate employer, followed by Deloitte, who completed the Big Four’s presence on the list. Mace, the next member of the consulting industry to appear, will be a familiar name among students at the University of Sussex in particular, having been appointed to assist in the construction of the institution’s new life sciences facility. Completing the top ten of the UK consulting sector, real state consultancy Cushman & Wakefield were followed by BDO, who employed an additional 300 staff last year, amid a diversity drive.

These firms were also joined by five more names in the UK consulting scene. Engineering specialists Arup were followed by Willis Towers Watson and Aon. The 14th consulting firm listed was Accenture, which recruited an additional in 1,700 people in the UK, amid a major expansion campaign in 2017, while Atkins concluded the industry’s presence in the results.

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10 leading consulting companies to work for in the UK

10 April 2019

The UK is home to 100+ leading consulting firms. New analysis reveals the 10 consulting companies that rank as the best industry employers to work for. 

The list of top consultancy employers is based on the views and opinions of employees who were surveyed by The Sunday Times about their experience of their firm’s leadership, workplace environment, development opportunities, wellbeing, pay, benefits and commitment to social responsibility. In the large consulting firms category, two of the Big Four – EY and Deloitte – and Accenture stand out from the rest. Seven other consultancies made the prestigious cut, all of which are small to mid-sized players in the consulting industry. 


Established: 1989
Category: Large consulting firm
Main office: London
Employees: 15,076 

With roots stretching back to 1989, EY now spans over 27 UK offices. The firm supports clients, ranging from small, privately owned companies and global household names, with assurance, tax, transaction and advisory services. As part of the firm’s core values, EY looks for people who demonstrate integrity and respect; people with energy, enthusiasm and the courage to lead; and people who build relationships based on doing the right thing. 


Established: 1849
Category: Large consulting firm
Main office: London
Employees: 16,138 

Deloitte employs staff across 150 countries and territories, and its UK operations now span 24 offices. The professional services giant offers services including audit, tax, consulting and financial advisory. Among the firm’s core values are: integrity, outstanding value to markets and clients, commitment to each other, and strength from cultural diversity.


Established: 1989
Category: Large consulting firm
Main office: London
Employees: 10,747 

With employees across 120 countries, Accenture provides a range of services in strategy, consulting, digital, technology and operations to clients in more than 40 industries. The Dublin-headquartered company believes in attracting, developing and retaining the best talent for the business, valuing diversity, fostering an open working environment and demonstrating integrity at all times.Ten leading consulting companies to work for in the UK

Karmarama (part of Accenture)

Established: 2000
Category: Mid-sized consulting firm
Main office: London
Employees: 245 

Karmarama is a creative agency, since December 2016 part of Accenture Interactive. The firm’s services include advertising, direct and digital marketing, digital design and build, data and analytics, PR, social and innovation. Karmarama is in the market known for its ability to blend creativity, digital and data, to help brands better engage with consumers. 


Established: 2010
Category: Small consulting firm
Main office: London
Employees: 90

Clarasys is a London-based management consulting firm that advises and supports clients with business change, process implementation, project management and other related consultancy services. The firm serves a variety of clients, from small, not-for-profit organisations to multinational corporations. Clarasys differentiates itself through its truly democratic approach, with an elected member from each team providing feedback for their department. 

The Berkeley Partnership

Established: 1990
Category: Small consulting firm
Main office: London
Employees: 90

The Berkeley Partnership is an independent management consultancy providing specialist support for transformational change, working side-by-side with clients to achieve their goals. Clients include a number of FTSE 100 companies, multinationals and government departments, with over 85% of clients using the services of The Berkeley Partnership more than once. 

Abbott Risk Consulting

Established: 2002
Category: Small consulting firm
Main office: Edinburgh
Employees: 69

From 12 sites across the UK and Australia, Abbott Risk Consulting provides safety and risk environment consultancy services to some of the most high-hazard industries in the global economy. The company helps to work out the risk associated with hazardous events, such as oil platforms explosions, train crashes, or accidents affecting nuclear power stations.

Alpha Financial Markets Consulting

Established: 2003
Category: Small consulting firm
Main office: London
Employees: 180 

Alpha Financial Markets Consulting is a provider of specialist consultancy services to the asset and wealth management industry, working with 85% of the world’s top 20 asset managers. In order to attract and retain the very best people, Alpha, which has offices in London, New York, Boston, Paris, Geneva, The Hague, Luxembourg and Singapore, seeks to provide employees with a great experience.

Lane4 Management Group

Established: 1995
Category: Small consulting firm
Main office: Maidenhead
Employees: 193 

Lane4 Management Group is a leading HR consultancy specialised in human performance. The company’s team, based in Buckinghamshire, builds on a track record of achievement in business, psychology and elite sport. Lane4 was founded by British Olympic gold swimmer Adrian Moorhouse, Graham Jones and Adrian Hutchinson. 

NHS Transformation Unit

Established: 2000
Category: Internal consulting firm
Main office: Manchester
Employees: 52 

The Transformation Unit is an internal consultancy of the NHS, based in Manchester. The firm provides consultancy services to the public sector based around strategic transformation and planning; finance and analytics; project and programme management; and organisational strategy and engagement. Services span the complete transformation cycle, from developing a case for change right through to implementing new services or systems. 


The top employers list of The Sunday Times further includes several other professional services firms that also provide consultancy services, including firms with an accounting heritage (Anderson Anderson and Brown, BHP, PKF Cooper Parry, Price Bailey), firms with an engineering heritage (BWB Consulting, Caunton Engineering) and those with a tax heritage (ForrestBrown).