McKinsey, EY, BCG and Accenture among top 25 UK companies to work for

26 March 2018

Social business platform LinkedIn has unveiled the most attractive companies to work for in the UK. The professional services industry was a big winner in the annual ranking, with three firms breaking into the top ten in 2018, and another being included in the top 25. Bricks and mortar retail brands meanwhile saw their stock as employers tumble, having dominated last year’s proceedings.

As the world’s largest professional network, career social media site LinkedIn is fed data continuously by its global user-base of job seekers. Utilising information gathered from billions of actions taken by their 433+ million members, the network’s insights and global editorial teams analyse the input annually to come up with a blended score. This score is then used by the site to rank the most desirable employers in particular locales.

Last year, the British consulting industry underwent a sustained period of growth, with experts now estimating it to be worth over £7 billion. Reflecting this, and reversing last year’s drop in consulting firms’ perceived attractiveness in the eyes of the British public, four professional services firms have moved into the top 25 most desirable employers in the UK, with three breaking into the top ten. 

In 2017, the consulting industry was entirely absent from the top end of the list. However, leading the charge this year, McKinsey & Company ranks third. The management consultancy was a prominent name in the UK throughout last year, winning a lucrative £1.9 million contract to aid the implementation of Brexit, and seeing UK&I leader Vivian Hunt named in the Queen’s New Year honours list, among other high-profile stories.

Accompanying McKinsey on the list is global professional services firm EY; a new addition to this year’s top 25, positioning in eighth. While the firm undoubtedly pushed its way up the ranking due to strong recruitment drives last year, EY is not finished growing yet, and is currently working to triple its headcount in the Midlands financial services sector, among other key areas. The firm are the only member of the Big Four to be present on this year’s ranking, contrasting with last year, when DeloittePwC and KPMG were all cited by British job-seekers as among the most attractive employers. The only other consulting presence in 2017’s rankings, PA Consulting, also failed to return to the top 25 this year. 

McKinsey, EY, BCG and Accenture

Rounding off the consulting presence in the top ten, meanwhile, in tenth place, is the Boston Consulting Group (BCG). The firm was heavily involved in the launch of LGBT+ charity, GiveOut, with Partner Elliot Vaughn currently helming the project, and social responsibility drives such as this seem to have significantly enhanced BCG’s attractiveness as an employer for Britons in 2018.

Making the top 20 this year, Accenture joined LinkedIn’s list, following a year when the firm spent over $1 billion on acquisitions in digital and design acquisitions. The firm has already put its new assets to use in order to enhance its reputation in the eyes of prospective employees, and in order to better acquaint new personnel with what it does, Accenture has developed a 25-level video game app. The game, Sky Journey, sees players run an airport using real business solutions developed by the firm.

Top employers

Having dominated LinkedIn’s rankings last year, the retail sector saw its presence in the list decimated in 2018. Following a turbulent year, former number one John Lewis dropped out of the top 25 entirely – in part due to the axing of its lucrative end of year bonus scheme for employees. Scandal-stricken Arcadia joined John Lewis in exiting the rankings, having been forced to hire McKinsey – who interestingly now occupy the retailer’s vacated third place – in order to draft a strategic plan in a bid to turn around the company. Harrods, Sainsbury’s and the Co-op were also among the retailers to have fallen out of favour with the British workforce – though Selfridges remains at number 11.

Replicating a trend on British high-streets, however, the fall in stock of bricks and mortar brands has been accompanied by a boost for online retailers. This year’s LinkedIn ranking saw online fashion retailer’s sales soar by 30%, and its active customer count reached a whopping 16 million. In order to support this upward trajectory, ASOS grew its headcount by the same 30% margin in 2017, and is looking to hire a further 1,000 employees this year; something which is likely to see its presence at the top end of the list continue next year. In line with the trend for ‘luxury’ and ‘experience’ consumption, meanwhile, jewelers Richemont and Kering ranked fourth and fifth respectively.

Despite a challenging year in terms of human resources-related public relations, after it emerged top talent at Broadcasting House was subject to a huge gender pay gap, the BBC climbed seven places this year, to rank second. This contrasted Sky’s presence on the list, which declined by nine places to 21st, while ‘new media’ presences such as Facebook also saw their attractiveness fall.  

Meanwhile, financial services roles remained prominent amid LinkedIn’s UK data, despite the Bank of England’s warning in 2017 that as many as 75,000 financial services jobs could leave UK shores after Brexit. JP Morgan Chase & Company (6), HSBC (9), Barclays (13), Goldman Sachs (16) and Lloyds Banking Group (18), while Virgin was the only representative of the private equity and venture capital sector, in 23rd. IT services meanwhile enjoyed a sparser presence on the list, with ERP specialists Salesforce (20), Google’s parent company Alphabet (22) Dell Technologies (25).

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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).