15 consulting firms share top prizes at MCA Awards 2019

29 March 2019 Consultancy.uk

Hundreds of professionals from across the UK consulting industry have gathered in London to celebrate an action-packed year of achievement at the annual Management Consultancies Association Awards. While the Big Four were the night’s biggest winners, with PwC and EY claiming six top prizes between them, a number of smaller consultancies also took top prizes in a wide ranging and diverse contest.

15 consulting firms have been announced as victors at the annual MCA Awards. The 2019 ceremony, hosted by the Management Consultancies Association (MCA), saw consultancy firms of various shapes and sizes – and their clients – recognised for their award-winning projects, along with 5 individual winners who were selected by the panel of independent judges. The Awards were handed out at a ceremony hosted by the BBC News Presenter Clive Myrie in front of over 700 guests from consultancy firms, client organisations, media and representatives from across Government.

In order to deliver the event, the MCA once again partnered with The Times for its 2019 outing, while the ceremony was sponsored by Deltek, Kelly OCG, Kimble, and Mindbench. Other sponsors include Thales Cyber and Consulting, and Vendigital, while the ceremony’s charity partner was The Access Project, which works with bright students from disadvantaged backgrounds, to help provide in-school support and personalised tuition, enabling them to gain access to top universities.

Fighting talk

The night commenced with a speech from recently installed MCA Chief Executive Tamzen Isacsson, who kicked off proceedings by defending the often maligned consulting sector. The new CEO quickly put her stamp on the first MCA Awards to be hosted on her watch, calling on journalists to give a fairer representation of the consulting industry, and lamenting the “the 1980s caricature of consultants” which still lingers in public discourse.

Pulling no punches, Isacsson expanded, “I would like this to be the start of a campaign to bust some of the myths about what we do and how we do it. Journalists like to pride themselves on having at least two sources on every story. That is until it comes to consultancy where it seems that even a penny of taxpayers’ cash spent by the government on consultants is, in itself, some kind of proof of misdemeanour. Actually, the opposite is true. Engaging the expertise of the consultants in this room is a way of increasing value and making sure the nation’s cash is spent wisely.”MCA Awards 2019 - 1

Before screening a short film on the dynamic workload of the UK’s consulting industry, Isacsson also hit out at the idea that all consultants are “Oxbridge educated, graduating with honours and a Filofax and burnt out by the time they turn thirty.” Instead, she insisted, consultants come from all manner of backgrounds, while talent and potential are more important than which school recruits attended. She added that consultancies are “champions of diversity”, both from an ethical standpoint, and because of the mounting evidence which suggests it makes business sense to diversify a firm’s talent, to meet the ever broadening criteria of clients.

The results of the awards themselves could be argued to sum that up best of all. Anjum Hakim of PwC picked up the prestigious Times Consultant of the Year prize, as well as the gong for Outstanding Achievement for her work in PwC’s Digital and Technology Transformation practice. In awarding both prizes the judges said “she had demonstrated outstanding achievements throughout her… [and] had shown immense personal resilience and worked on extremely difficult and sensitive projects including rehousing victims of a disaster and driving digital change with a defence and security client.”

PwC picked up another award before the night’s end, securing the Change and Transformation in the Private Sector for its work with energy ombudsman Ofgem. The ceremony was well attended by both PwC and a particularly large cohort of EY members, who were in fine voice throughout the occasion – and they had plenty to cheer too. Of the firms to win purely team-based awards, EY secured most victories, racking up prizes in the International category for its work with AstraZeneca, as well as awards for Innovation in Digital & Technology and Project of the Year for its work with London Ventures.

Diverse industry

While two of the world’s largest four professional services firms performed strongly, however, this was a long way from the Big Four dominance which has been seen in previous incarnations of the MCA Awards. Indeed, when considering project, individual and overall awards, another 13 firms were represented among the winners.Winners of the MCA Awards 2019Demonstrating a diversity of large, small and mid-sized firms, Carnall Farrar, Cognizant, Vendigital, Decision Technology, Bourton Group, Amey Consulting, Atos and Gate One each picked up a single win for project categories, while engineering consultancy Arup won two awards, including Consulting Excellence Firm of the Year. Parker Fitzgerald scooped Best New Consultancy, while Arcadis, BearingPoint, IMPOWER Consulting and Curzon & Company each saw individuals from their firms crowned the cream of the crop in separate categories.

Commenting on the quality of submissions for this year’s event, Isacsson said, “More than 170 consultants visited the MCA as part of the process along with nearly 80 clients. As the judges said themselves the standard has been very high. The debates were fierce and the competition intense… Everyone here has a reason to be proud and a reason to celebrate. This country is blessed to have a consultancy industry of such talent, dedication and integrity. Perhaps we as an industry are similarly blessed to have a country with so many problems to solve.”

The winners

Overall categories:

Consulting Excellence Firm of the Year

Best New Consultancy
Parker Fitzgerald

Project of the Year sponsored by Deltek
EY with London Ventures

The Times Consultant of the Year
Anjum Hakim 

Project categories:

Best Use of Thought Leadership sponsored by Kimble
Carnall Farrar with IPPR

Change and Transformation in the Private Sector sponsored by Vendigital
PwC with Ofgem

Change and Transformation in the Public Sector
Cognizant with BBC Monitoring

Commercial Excellence
Vendigital with Spectris

Customer Engagement and Marketing
Decision Technology with Schroders

Innovation in Digital & Technology
EY with London Ventures

EY with AstraZeneca

Performance Improvement in the Private Sector sponsored by Mindbench
Bourton Group with Cambridge Assessment

Performance Improvement in the Public Sector
Amey Consulting with Network Rail

Arup with Transport for London

Social & Environmental Value
Atos with Gasport Independent Panel

Gate One with UCAS 

Individual categories:

Young Consultant of the Year sponsored by Kelly OCG
Rory MacDonagh, Arcadis

Team Leader Consultant of the Year
Laura Morroll, BearingPoint

Thought Leader Consultant of the Year
Jon Ainger, IMPOWER Consulting

Innovation Consultant of the Year
Edem Amooquaye, Curzon & Company

Outstanding Achievement sponsored by Thales Cyber and Consulting
Anjum Hakim, PwC


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Six attractive professional services firms to work for in UK

23 April 2019 Consultancy.uk

Consulting firms dominate the 25 companies named by LinkedIn as the most attractive organisations to work for in Britain. JLL, Engie, CBRE, Atkins, Schroders and GE each made the grade, with the professional services sector putting in the strongest showing of any industry in the UK.

Each year, the editors and data scientists of social business platform LinkedIn examine which firms are the most attractive to job seekers, as well as which are the best at retaining their talent. Utilising information gathered from billions of actions taken by more than 433 million members, LinkedIn leverages a data-driven approach to consider what members are doing – not just saying – in their search for fulfilling careers. The result is the Top Companies list, an annual ranking of the most sought-after companies – now in its fifth year.

Each of the previous incarnations of the list has seen a strong showing from the UK consulting industry, with its contingent including McKinsey & Company, EYBoston Consultancy Group and Accenture in 2018. This year has seen the sector continue to see its stock rise, with the diversity of the sector’s workload buoying six professional services firms which were not on the previous ranking to prominence.

Analysing the anonymised actions of British-based LinkedIn members, the company determined which firms were the most attractive through four main pillars: interest in the company, engagement with the company’s employees, job demand and employee retention. As a result of this, real estate professional services firm JLL was found to be the most attractive consulting firm to LinkedIn members in the UK.

Six most attractive professional services firms to work for in UK

Ranked sixth in the overall list of companies, 2018 saw the commercial real estate services consultancy expand its London-based Ratings practice in anticipation of growing demand for real estate valuations in the UK. JLL, which boasts a global headcount of 82,000, holds UK locations in London, Norwich and Manchester, and the firm was recently named one of the world’s most ethical companies for the 12th year in a row by The Ethisphere Institute. 

Sitting 10th in LinkedIn’s ranking, Engie is a French multinational professional services firm, headquartered in La Défense, Courbevoie. While the firm primarily operates in utilities – specifically in the fields of electricity generation and distribution, natural gas, nuclear, renewable energy and petroleum – its investment in cleaner tech has also seen it come to offer a host of engineering consulting services, including feasibility studies, engineering, project management and client support. The firm’s 19,000 UK staff work from offices in London, Leeds and Newcastle-upon-Tyne.

With a global headcount of 90,000, CBRE, which was ranked 13th by LinkedIn, is a real estate advisory firm, with UK offices in London, Birmingham and Glasgow. The firm oversaw the sale of a number of major locations over the course of 2018, including a key residential site in North Leigh, and an office belonging to the British Steel Pension Fund.

Atkins, which was listed 23rd, is a British professional services firm which was purchased by the SNC-Lavalin Group for £2.1 billion in 2017. With 7,300 employees in the UK, Atkins operates from locations in London, Bristol, Kingston-upon-Thames, and offers services in engineering, operations, programme and project management. Late in 2018, the firm was named one of the top employers in the UK for working mothers, receiving plaudits for its innovation in flexible working from Workingmums.co.uk.

Schroders, a global asset management firm with UK offices in London, Bromley, Chelmsford, ranked 24th. Asset management is a fast-expanding segment of consulting, and according to LinkedIn, 43% of the professional services firm’s staff have been at the company for at least six years, while nearly a third of UK roles were filled with internal candidates in 2017. Schroders boasts a global headcount of 4,600.

Finally, multifaceted professional services firm GE was ranked 25th. The engineering, operations, information technology and advisory firm has its hand in everything from energy to health care – where it was recently nominated for a prize at the 2019 Management Consultancies Association Awards. The long-standing conglomerate said 2019 is set to be a “reset year”, while it seeks to revamp its power-related businesses at the same time that it builds on strong growth within the aviation scene.

Other sectors

Elsewhere, the financial services industry saw a high level of representation in LinkedIn’s ranking. JP Morgan was listed in second place, while Barclays, Goldman Sachs and Aviva also made the grade. This represents a decline of one listing since 2018’s figures, perhaps reflecting the uncertainty surrounding the UK’s financial sector, amid the continued twists and turns of the Brexit saga.

Retail saw a slight rebound on its decimation in last year’s ranking. Having seemingly fallen out of favour in 2018, Sainsbury’s returned this year, sitting in third place. It was joined in the top 25 by fellow ‘Big Four’ supermarket Asda – though the news that some 60,000 Asda staff could be in line to lose their paid lunch breaks under new contracts could well see the company drop off the list in 2020. Marks & Spencer also made the list. The historically up-market supermarket now runs a work-placement programme called Marks & Start, which helps single parents, people with disabilities and the homeless to build careers within the company.

Healthcare and pharmaceuticals saw three entrants in the list too. Britain’s 50 fastest-growing privately-owned pharmaceutical companies have all increased sales by at least 10% in each of their last two financial years, facing down headwinds such as Brexit and NHS spending pressures to deliver rapid growth. GSK represented the pharmaceutical sector in fourth place, while Bupa and Johnson & Johnson stood for the healthcare and hospital industry in fifth and 16th respectively.

While the technology sector ultimately hosted the ranking’s top performer, Amazon, the only other sector incumbent was Google parent company Alphabet, in 19th. Salesforce and Dell Technologies, meanwhile, dropped off the ranking, having both been present in 2018.

The oil and energy sector’s representation is supplemented by hybrid firm Engie; however, the sector only fielded two pure-play members. BP, in eighth, and Shell, in 11th, have both spent time attempting to diversify in recent years, prompted by public image crises relating to the negative impact of fossil fuels on the planet, as well declining oil prices and the rising demand for renewable energy. These dynamics have, in turn, led to new skills coming into demand within the companies. 

Finally, the list was rounded off by singular representatives of five separate industries. Representing leisure in 12th was TUI, followed by food producer Associated British Foods (17th), building materials firm Travis Perkins (20th), telecommunications giant BT (21st) and utilities firm Centrica (22nd).