50 best consulting firms to work for in North America

07 September 2015 Consultancy.uk 6 min. read
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For the sixth year in a row McKinsey & Company, Bain & Company and Boston Consulting Group have been named the best consulting firms to work for in North America. The advisory units of Deloitte (Deloitte Consulting) and PwC (PwC Advisory) complete the top five.

Every year Vault, a website that researches and ranks companies, conducts research on the reputation and employership of consulting firms. The ranking is based on factors that consultants believe are most important to their decision to select and stay at a firm, which evolve around three key dimensions: prestige (30%), employee satisfaction* (60%) and overall business outlook (10%). This year the researchers analysed approximately 9,000 responses from consultants**, working across more than 100 top consultancies in North America. The 50 best performing advisories firms have been included in the so-called ‘The Best Consulting Firms’ rankings.

Vault - Top 10

The results reveal that most consultants crave working for McKinsey & Company most, known within the industry as ‘The Firm’. With over 17,000 employees in more than 100 offices the largest strategy consultancy of the globe, McKinsey displaces rival Bain & Company, which beat out McKinsey from top spot in last year’s edition. For the fifth consecutive year Boston Consulting Group holds third spot, this year ahead of Deloitte and PwC, who both have moved up on position. The top 10 is completed by Oliver Wyman, The Brattle Group, Cornerstone Research, A.T. Kearney and The Bridgespan Group, which debuts in the list, highlighting the importance of social good in rankings success. Founded in 1999 by Bain, The Bridgespan Group operates as a nonprofit organisation that provides management consulting to charities, NGOs and philanthropists – according to respondent scores its commitment to social sectors has positively propelled the firm’s prestige and sense of purpose.

Vault - Top 11 - 20

The positions 11 to 20 contain both boutique, local players, as well as global consultancies. Healthcare specialist ClearView Healthcare Partners sits on eleventh spot, followed by Analysis Group, L.E.K. Consulting and Strategy&, the former Booz & Company now flying under the PwC brand. The decision to sell Booz in 2013 for a reported $1 billion to PwC has impacted Strategy&’s attractiveness however, with the firm dropping ten places from 4th spot last year. At #15 comes Parthenon, a similar case to Booz – the traditional strategy firm was acquired by a Big Four, EY in this case, with a drop of four places the result. In both cases prestige is the key dimension that has suffered, in the view of advisors. The Cambridge Group, Insight Sourcing Group (ranked #1 when it comes to boutiques), Point B, Eagle Hill Consulting – the standout for work-life balance – and Accenture close the top 20.

Vault - Top 21 - 30

The position 21 to 30 of the best consulting firms to work for list includes four newcomers: Kurt Salmon, ZS Associates, Edgeworth Economics and Huron Consulting Group. Advisories Alvarez & Marsal and Roland Berger, both big names in Europe too, also feature, with Atlanta-based ScottMadden Management Consultants, The Chartis Group, Edgeworth Economics, CapTech and Bates White Economic Consulting completing the pack.

Clarkston Consulting and Putnam Associates hold 31th and 32nd spot respectively, followed by management consultancy Marakon, which outranks its holding Charles River Associates (CRA acquired Marakon in 2009). Novantas, Jabian Consulting, Smartronix, Kaiser Associates and Health Advances rank 35 to 39, while new joiner Innosight finds itself at spot 40. Also in the top 50 are stock-listed FTI Consulting, NERA Economic Consulting (similar to Oliver Wyman and Mercer a subsidiary of Marsh McLennan Companies), German-origin pricing expert Simon-Kucher & Partners, Stern Value Management (new in the list), Strategic Decisions Group, Ricardo Strategic Consulting, Censeo Consulting Group, Pearl Meyer & Partners, Avasant and Triage Consulting Group.

Vault - Top 31 - 50

See the section Rankings & Awards for an overview of all global and local rankings.

Related articles:
- Top 50 global management consulting firms 2014 (Vault) 
- Best Management Consulting Firms to Work For 2014 (Consulting Magazine) 

* To measure employee satisfaction the researchers looked at satisfaction (15%), compensation (15%), culture (10%), work-life balance (10%), promotion policies (5%) and ability to challenge (5%). 

** When rating quality of life issues, consultants were only permitted to rate their own firm. For the prestige dimension, consultants were only allowed to rate competitors, and not their own firms.