The 25 best consulting firms to work for in Europe

03 November 2015 5 min. read

McKinsey & Company, Bain & Company, Oliver Wyman, Roland Berger and A.T. Kearney are according to consultants in the industry the best consulting firms to work for in Europe.

Since 2009, Vault, a global career intelligence platform, conducts research into good employership in the consulting industry. The European edition of the study, titled ‘Vault Consulting Europe’, presents the 25 best consulting firms to work for in Europe, and is based on the views of almost 3,000 strategy and management consultants working at reputable firms across the continent. In order to judge a firm’s status as an employer, consultancies were evaluated across seven dimensions*. When rating quality of life issues, advisors were only allowed to rate their own firm, while for the prestige dimension consultants were only permitted to rate their competitors.

Top 25 best consulting firms to work for

Similar to last year’s edition, McKinsey & Company tops the list, building mainly on its top of the bill compensation packages, high employee satisfaction and an unmatched prestige score, a feat where it consistently outranks its peers. The New York based firm, founded in 1926, has been named Europe’s most prestigious consultancy every year since the launch of the research in 2010, a performance also realised in the global version of the rankings. Bain & Company holds second spot, across the board with a similar profile as McKinsey, scoring high on prestige, with the Boston headquartered firm in particular admired for the strategic and high-level impact of engagements and for its fast progression and friendly culture.

The third of the Big 3 American strategy consultancies, The Boston Consulting Group, finds itself in on #23 this year, its lowest position since 2010, when it ranked #2 – between 2011 and last year the strategy advisory hovered between positions 15 and 21. From an employership perspective, BCG’s European operations lag behind the firm’s global score – BCG has ranked in the top 3 best firms to work for consistently since 2010 while in another ranking BCG was even named the globe’s best consulting firm to work for – the researchers however not elaborating on the key reasons. What is clear is that it has nothing to do with reputation: in line with the 2014 edition, BCG is ranked the #2 most reputable firm in Europe after McKinsey. 

Top 10 consulting firms

The top five is completed by Oliver Wyman – the management consultancy unit of professional services giant Marsh & McLennan Companies – Roland Berger (the highest ranked European origin consultancy on the list) and A.T. Kearney. All three have gained terrain this year; Oliver Wyman thanks to among others its industry leading Financial Services practice and strong growth in Europe, while Roland Berger has advanced both its prestige and employee satisfaction on the back of a new ambitious growth strategy, a rebranding and the clear-cut decision to proceed as an independent player. A.T. Kearney has gradually moved up the rankings over the years, from #8 in 2010 to #5 this year, reflecting the continued growth booked under the leadership of Dutchman Johan Aurik and his predecessor Paul Laudicina, as well as its growing investment in employee and diversity friendly HR policies and programmes, such as the recently launched Encore initiative. 

The positions 6 to 10 are taken by OC&C Strategy Consultants, Strategy& (the former Booz & Company, now the strategy unit of PwC), Frontier Economics (with around 200 professionals one of the largest specialised economics consultancies in Europe), Arthur D. Little – generally recognised as the globe’s first management consultancy** – and German origin sales & marketing specialist Simon-Kucher & Partners, one of the fastest growing players in the industry. 

Number 11 on the list is QVARTZ, a Nordic-based management consulting firm founded in 2002 with offices in Copenhagen, Olso and Stockholm. The Brattle Group, a US advisory firm that specialises in economic and financial topics is found on the twelfth spot, followed by retail expert Javelin Group (acquired by Accenture in May this year). All three have entered the top 25 this year, with Schlumberger Business Consulting the fourth new entrant, an achievement which it won’t repeat next year – the consulting unit of the oil & gas giant was bought by Accenture two months ago.

Top 11-25 best consulting firms

The top 20 of the Vault Consulting Europe ranking further boasts well-known consultancies such as L.E.K. Consulting (founded in 1983 by three partners from Bain & Company), Alvarez & Marsal (renowned for its cutting-edge restructuring and financial advisory services), Charles River Associates (including its management consulting unit Marakon) and Sia Partners, a French origin consulting firm that off late has expanded rapidly, while a recently unveiled strategy aims to further propel the firm up the ranks towards the traditional big guns. Two London-based boutique management consultancies also find themselves in the top 20: Candesic (#14) and CIL Management Consultants (#20).

Also NERA Economic Consulting, the economic advisory unit of Marsh & McLennan Companies, Cognizant, and the consulting practices of PwC (‘PwC Advisory’) and Deloitte (‘Deloitte Consulting’) belong to the best consulting firms to work for in Europe.

For more information on how McKinsey, BCG, Bain and A.T. Kearney foster professional development and a great culture, see the article ‘How strategy firms foster professional development’. 

* The seven dimensions: prestige (30%), satisfaction (15%), culture (15%), compensation (15%), work-life balance (10%), business outlook (10%) and promotion policies (5%).

** Arthur D. Little was founded in 1886 by Arthur Dehon Little and Roger Griffin.