Five management consulting firms stand out as top employers

30 April 2018 6 min. read

More than 100 organisations have been named among the best places to work in the UK. Among the ranks of the nation’s top employers are 15 members of the consulting industry, including six management consultancies.

Uncertainty surrounding the free movement of skilled workers from the EU, coupled with an ageing population, mean that firms are competing for an ever dwindling pool of workers with the skills they seek. With private companies increasingly concerned of a coming war for top talent, many entities have been making concerted efforts to boost their perception as a top employer in recent years.

Over the course of an average year, Great Place to Work Institute works with over 10,000 organisations, representing over 10 million employees. By analysing employee feedback regarding these oranisations, in combination with the judgement of an expert panel, Great Place to Work uses these partnerships to produce an annual benchmark on the UK and world’s Best Workplaces, with the aim of helping organisations leverage the information to improve business performance, by transforming their workplaces.

Great Workplaces

The publication of this year’s lists has seen a variety of consulting and professional services firms praised for their employee relations. Five management consultancies and a further nine entities from the broader professional services market were earmarked for plaudits by the ranking.

Management consulting

With a UK headcount of more than 14,505 EY is by far the largest of the management consultancies commended for its efforts as an employer. The Big Four firm’s British wing reportedly hired 4,000 people in 2017, including 1,500 student places and 130 apprenticeships. A further 4,000 employees were internally promoted, and 63 new Equity Partners were appointed by EY, while an improved financial performance saw Partners in the UK enjoy a bumper year, with average distributable profits per Partner hitting £677,000, an increase of 2.3% from the previous financial term.

Launched in 2000, British business and technology consultancy Baringa Partners has been going through a sustained period of growth recently, and the firm is keen to continue its expansion into the future. The firm was named the UK’s Best Workplace by the list in 2011, then employing 161 staff, and while it has grown since, it still finds itself at the upper end of the list. The firm presently boasts 500 staff and 50 partners across its four practice areas of Energy and Resources, Financial Services, Telecoms and Media and Consumer Products and Retail – a number that is likely to grow further with the firm’s arrival in the Australian market.

EY, Baringa, Impact, Third Bridge, Catalyst Development

Global independent transformation agency Impact has provided custom solutions for organisations confronting a need to adapt, change and grow for almost 40 years. Impact employs staff across 12 different countries, and was named among The Sunday Times Top 100 Best Small Companies to Work for list in 2014.

Recently named among the Top 100 Companies to Inspire Britain by the London Stock Exchange, Third Bridge is a London-headquartered consultancy which was conceived of as Europe’s first ‘expert network’. The firm was founded in 2007, as Cognolink, before rebranding in 2017. Having grown to a global headcount of 700, the firm – which graced both the Sunday Times’ Fast track 100 and International Track 200 in 2016 – has also featured as a ‘Great Place to Work’ in the UK for five years running (2014-2018) and twice in China (2015 & 2017).

Catalyst Development is currently preparing for a period of sustained growth – one which the firm is hoping to fuel via its M&A strategy. In Autumn 2017, this saw the financial services consultancy secure a growth investment, in the form of a management buy-out backed by Private Equity investor Livingbridge. The firm first put its new war-chest to use with the acquisition of management consultancy Knadel, marking the start of a series of planned strategic acquisitions. Illustrating the potential growth ahead, the combined group is forecasted to almost double business revenues in the coming financial year.

Professional services

Nine more consulting and professional services firms also made the grade. These were chiefly dominated by IT consultancies, which accounted for six places in the ranking, while media consultancies took up a further two places, and specialist business negotiation consulting took the final one.

With a staff of 36, Automation Logic were joined by fellow IT consultancies Mason Advisory (32), Computer Task Group UK (23), Amido (53), DMW Group and Neueda, the firms which boasted the largest headcount in the segment, at 59 and 86 respectively.Automation Logic, Mason Advisory, Computer Task Group UK,  Amido, DMW Group, Neueda, Kantar Worldpanel, REL Field Marketing, The Gap Partnership

Representing the UK’s media consulting firms on the list were Kantar Worldpanel, an international company dealing in consumer knowledge, which is part of the WPP-owned Kantar Group and employs 571 in the UK. Fellow marketing and advertising professional services firm REL Field Marketing surpasses that headcount, however, also making the list for Best Employers thanks to feedback from its 669 staff.

Rounding off the consulting sector presence in the Great Places to Work rankings, negotiating consulting and professional services firm The Gap Partnership employs 86 staff. The specialist firm’s team of consultants work with clients to maximise opportunities, manage risk and remove issues in order to help deliver a successful outcome of business negotiations.