Job Satisfaction Rates At Top Consulting Firms

It may not be a surprise that in most measurements of career happiness, McKinsey & Company is the top choice of consulting industry MBAs and other current employees. According to a new trove of data, the global giant is tops in employee growth and career advancement opportunities, job performance feedback and fairness in doling out promotions, and communication among staff, teamwork, leadership, competence — among other metrics. Most importantly, McKinsey is the No. 1 firm in overall employee satisfaction. (This jibes with other findings, recent and not-so-recent alike.)

But McKinsey isn’t where you’re most likely to get the biggest paycheck, and it’s lacking in at least one other key area: work-life balance.

That’s according to the most recent data from Wall Street Oasis, a job search and news site that has compiled and parsed employee data in banking, hedge funds, consulting, and private equity for the last five years. In an online database informed by responses from thousands of employees at dozens of consulting firms ranging from giants like McKinsey and Bain to smaller, boutiques firms, WSO found near-consensus in McKinsey’s status as the top destination — though it lands only fourth in overall compensation and way down the list, at No. 8, in work-life balance. Likewise, it is only sixth in time off but fourth in average hours worked, at 68.8.


Patrick Curtis, founder and CEO of Wall Street Oasis

WSO recalibrated its report this year to update online automatically as more and more members contribute — a great resource considering its community is responsible for more than 1 million total posts and 4 million page views per month. Overall, 48,194 submissions, including nearly 17,000 interviews, comprise WSO’s company database.

“We have loads of data that allows you to dive into any one of the specific companies and actually look at the reviews and look at the interviews and look at the compensation data that kind of makes up these graphs,” says Patrick Curtis, founder and CEO and a Class of 2010 Wharton MBA.

In its consulting report, updated for September 2017, McKinsey is the top vote-getter in 13 of 18 categories, including the main measure of happiness, Overall Employee Satisfaction, where it scores a 98.6% percentile out of 71 firms. (More on WSO’s methodology below.) Next in line are Bain & Company (97.2%), Boston Consulting Group (95.8%), Deloitte (94.4%), and Oliver Wyman (93.0%). McKinsey also takes the top spots in Professional Growth Opportunities and Career Advancement Opportunities, with an identical lineup of firms in spots two through five. They don’t call them prestige firms for nothing.

But McKinsey is not the top dog in every category. In Best Interview Experience, that distinction goes to Oliver Wyman, the New York-based international firm with a focus on financial services, with McKinsey coming in third behind Mercer and ahead of BCG and Alvarez & Marsal.


WSO compiles compensation data, too, and found that the range for consulting firms (base salary plus bonus) is $52,000 for summer interns/analysts (extrapolated) up to $295,000 for directors. In perhaps the most important category, Best Pay, McKinsey (94.4%) is fourth behind Oliver Wyman (98.6%), Bain & Company (97.2%), and BCG (95.8%), respectively.

Lifestyle questions matter a lot, as well, and here again, McKinsey is not the highest-ranked firm, landing fifth in Time Off and eighth in Work-Life Balance. In Time Off, the top firm is Alvarez & Marsal, the international corporate performance and private equity company, followed by Deloitte, IBM, Booz Allen Hamilton, and Oliver Wyman. In Work-Life Balance, the highest-ranked firm is Booz Allen Hamilton, followed by IBM, Deloitte, Alvarez & Marsal, and ZS Associates.

Let’s have some concrete numbers. There are a lot of tired people at EVA Dimensions, a New York-based software and training services company that tops 81 other firms in average hours worked per week with 75. Teneo is close behind at 72.5, and Galt and Company is third with 70. McKinsey comes in fourth, followed by Strategy& at 67.2.

See charts based on WSO data on the following pages.

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