Consulting Firms With The Best Pay & Happiest Employees

Bain & Co. is the top consulting firm in seven of 17 questions measured by Wall Street Oasis, including the all-important “happiness quotient.”

When last we checked in at Wall Street Oasis to examine their data on consulting firms, compiled from the input of thousands of employees at nearly 100 companies around the globe and updated daily, McKinsey & Company was the top firm, earning the highest marks from the most employees in 13 of 18 categories, things like Hardest Interview, Most Fair, etc. But 12 months is a long time, and now there’s a new sheriff in town: Bain & Company, which has the top percentile score (98.9%) in seven metrics measured by WSO, including the all-important “happiness quotient,” Overall Employee Satisfaction.

It’s not as if McKinsey has completely fallen off the map of employee regard. (We know it continues to impress at this ranking, for instance.) Through August 2018, WSO data shows that the global firm based in New York is No. 1 in six categories, among them Professional Growth Opportunities and Career Advancement Opportunities, and second in eight others. But Bain, in addition to claiming a win in the happiness quotient, also reigns in Best Recognition, Most Fair, Best Communication, Best Leadership, Competence, and Recommended.

Another interesting wrinkle: Neither firm is judged best in arguably the one category that is equally as important as overall happiness. That would be Best Pay, and the company that has it is Oliver Wyman, the New York-based management consulting firm. Wyman also wins for Best Interview (McKinsey is judged Hardest Interview), and is fourth in nine other metrics. Only two other firms have top scores among the 95 total firms and 17 performance metrics measured by WSO: IBM for Time Off (McKinsey was second), and Booz Allen Hamilton for Work-Life Balance. A third prestige firm, Boston Consulting Group, placed second or third in 12 categories, including second in Best Pay.


Patrick Curtis, Wall Street Oasis CEO

Wall Street Oasis is a job search and news site best known for its six years of employee data in banking, hedge funds, consulting, and private equity. Its reports factor in two previous years plus the year-to-date. “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 makes up these graphs,” Patrick Curtis, WSO founder and CEO and a Class of 2010 Wharton MBA, told P&Q last year. WSO uses Bayesian percentiles as a way to “deal with companies where there are only a few observations,” Curtis added. “What Bayesian stats allow you to do is pull the companies with less reviews closer to the average of the entire group, so that as more votes come in they are pulled more toward their actual average and away from group average. (This gives you) higher confidence that the score is a true reflection versus just one or two votes (and) prevents companies with only a few great or bad reviews from ranking above or below companies with many great or bad reviews.”

In addition to the categories mentioned above, WSO also monitors average salary and bonus pay, average hours worked per week, and diversity, particularly female and racial representation.

Last fall, WSO’s data showed that the pay range for consulting firms (base salary plus bonus) was $52,000 for summer interns/analysts (extrapolated) up to $295,000 for directors. What a difference a year can make: While the average pay for interns has ballooned to $66,000, that of directors has shrunk to $286,000. Of course, many of those well-compensated interns and summer analysts have to work long hours for their paycheck: Looking at the 10 firms with the longest hours worked per week, the average is 71.7. Far and away the company with the highest weekly average is boutique investment bank Financo at 87.5, followed by Oncology Solutions LLC (75), last year’s “winner” EVA Dimensions (75, exactly the same as 2017), Galt and Company (71.7), and ABeam (70). McKinsey is seventh at 68.5 hours,, Bain is 12th at 64.9, Oliver Wyman is 13th at 64.4, and BCG is 14th at 64.1. (See page 2 for a breakdown of the top companies that grind the longest hours.)


On the diversity front, WSO measures four facets: racial, gender, athletic, and military. In each, only companies with 10 or more submissions are included. Top marks for Racial Diversity — with percentile ranks based on how balanced companies are across five primary groups: Caucasian, Asian, African American, Latino/Spanish, and Other — go to Boston Consulting Group, followed by Mercer, the New York human resources consulting firm, PA Consulting Group, McKinsey, and Capco. In Female Representation, the top percentile score goes to financial and management consulting firm Public Resources Management Group, based in Florida, with Navigant Consulting next, followed by Protiviti, Analysis Group, and NERA Economic Consulting. WSO also includes each company’s estimated percentage of females: for PRMG it’s by far the highest proportion, 63.3%, Navigant 46.3%, Protiviti 45.2%, Analysis Group 39.8%, and NERA 39.6%.

Athletic Representation is the proportion of varsity athletes employed at a firm. The leader is MFR Consultants Inc. (58.4%), followed by UnitedHealth Group (34.8%), FTI Consulting (34.8%), PA Consulting Group (29.9%), and Capco (25.6%). In Military Representation, Houston, Texas-based performance analytics firm Phillip Townsend Inc. is an incredible 60.8% former military, followed by Arthur D. Little (20.8%), MFR Consultants Inc. (14.9%), Simon Kucher Partners (12.7%), and Booz Allen Hamilton (9.3%).

(See WSO’s data on hardest interview, overall satisfaction, best pay and more on pages 2, 3, and 4.)


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