Different locations. Same results.
Wherever you go, Bain & Company sets the bar.
That was the takeaway from a second Vault Consulting survey by Firsthand. Last month, Bain & Company earned the highest survey marks in the North American ranking. When the same survey was given to consultants across Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) and the Asia-Pacific (APAC), Bain again emerged as the best place to work.
The only difference? In North America, Bain has now held the #1 ranking in the Vault Consulting 50 for three consecutive years. In both the EMEA and APAC regions, Bain knocked McKinsey out of the top spot this year.
BEST CONSULTING FIRMS: SAME METHODOLOGY, DIFFERENT REGIONS, SIMILAR RESULTS
“We couldn’t be more thrilled to earn this recognition from Vault,” says Kara Gruver, Bain & Company’s chief talent officer, in a statement. “Our people make our firm what it is, and we will always ensure that Bain remains a company that is supportive, inclusive, and committed to their growth. We’re proud of the culture we’ve built at Bain and these rankings from Vault reaffirms our values, goals and commitment to all of our stakeholders.”
This year’s EMEA and APAC survey received responses from over 6,000 practicing consultants (compared to 16,000 across North America). The survey targeted four key areas. In the first, Vault measured employee satisfaction across 19 dimensions, including Compensation, Firm Culture, Work-Life Balance, and Firm Leadership. Here, consultants evaluated their firm on a 1-10 scale, where 10 was the highest possible score. Using the same scale, respondents also measured their firm’s commitment to Diversity involving race, gender, and sexual identity. From there, Vault queried respondents on the Prestige of competing firms, again applying the same 1-10 scale. Finally, consultants could score their rivals in their practice areas, which range from Analytics to Technology.
Like its North American counterpart, Prestige accounts for 30% of the ranking weight. Combined equally, Firm Culture and Satisfaction make up another 30% of the ranking. Three dimensions enjoy a 10% weight: Compensation, Work-Life Balance, and Level of Challenge. The remaining 10% is split evenly between Business Outlook and Promotion Policy.
SECRETS BEHIND BAIN’S SUCCESS ACROSS EUROPE
Across Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (EMEA), Bain outpaced McKinsey by just one-tenth of a point (9.052 vs. 8.944). Not surprisingly, Bain produced the highest survey average for Firm Culture, a company staple. What’s more, it finished 1st in six more dimensions: Firm Leadership, Formal Training, Interaction with Clients, Internal Mobility, and Promotion Policies. Not to mention, it inspired the 2nd-highest scores for Compensation, International Opportunities, Overall Satisfaction, and Selectivity. It wasn’t a dominant performance by Bain, unlike the Vault Consulting 50 for North America. In the EMEA region, Bain finished 8th for Work-Life Balance and 10th for Hours In the Office. By the same token, it ranked 3rd in Prestige in this region, .625 of a point behind McKinsey.
So why did Bain pull ahead of McKinsey? For one, Prestige was maybe the McKinsey’s only true advantage. Sure, McKinsey ranked 1st in Selectivity and 2nd in both Formal and Informal Training – but none of these dimensions carried weight. Where there was weight, McKinsey struggled. In Firm Culture and Overall Satisfaction, the firm finished a pedestrian 5th – dimensions that take up nearly a third of the Vault EMEA ranking. Plus, McKinsey posted even worse scores in areas like Business Outlook (6th), Promotion Policies (6th), Compensation (8th), and Work-Life Balance (14th) – which together comprise another 30% share of the weight.
Among Bain respondents surveyed by Firsthand, the firm’s flexibility regularly crops up. “The company promotes people who are ready for promotion, independent of current course of business,” writes one consultant. “International, standardized movement policies make it extremely easy to gain international exposure, in addition to international project experience. In some geographies like Switzerland, travel is a bit reduced. You can also move your role internally quite easily by doing internal rotations for a few months, or even longer placements.”
Overall, Roland Berger retained its #3 spot from last year in the EMEA region, thanks to ranking among the Top 3 in eight dimensions (including being the #1 firm for Heath & Wellness, Level of Challenge, and Overall Business Outlook). OC&C Strategy Partners, which placed 25th in the North American ranking, climbed to 4th – despite not ranking among the Top 5 in any dimension. Meanwhile, Kearney moved up four spots to 5th in EMEA, a rise fueled by a 5th-place score for Prestige. Publicis Sapient and Advancy also debuted at 8th and 12th respectively.
MCKINSEY STANDS OUT IN ASIA
In the APAC – or Asia-Pacific – region, Bain notched a 9.250 average from its consultants, more than .24 of a point better than McKinsey. Like the EMEA region, Bain ranks behind McKinsey and the Boston Consulting Group in Prestige (with the latter not participating in ether the EMEA or APAC ranking). However, Bain easily made up the difference by ranking 1st in 17 of 19 dimensions! Innovation (2nd) and Hours In The Office (7th) were the only areas where the firm even remotely fell short.
Ironically, McKinsey produced the highest averages in both Innovation and Hours In The Office in APAC. More impressive: McKinsey ranked 2nd in 13 dimensions, including Firm Culture, Firm Leadership, Internal Mobility, Overall Satisfaction, and Work-Life Balance. And McKinsey finished 3rd in Benefits and Compensation too, with their lowest score coming in Level of Challenge (7th).
One theme from McKinsey consultants in the APAC region: the firm has invested heavily in health and wellness for employees. “The firm is very inclusive in so many aspects,” writes one anonymous consultant. “I can also personally say that we have been well supported throughout the pandemic years. A lot of mental health and well-being support was provided. New work arrangements have also been truly helpful for working parents.”
Kearney rounds out the top three in the Vault Consulting 50 for the APAC region. It improved by four spots, led by posting the 3rd-best scores in Internal Mobility and Level of Challenge. Roland Berger, last year’s #3, moved down one spot while OC&C Strategy Consultants remained in 5th. Grant Thornton and Publicis Sapient debuted in 7th and 9th respectively.
Click on the links below to see which consulting rank across various employment factors, practice areas, and diversity measures in both Europe ad Asia.
OVERALL RANKINGS (Both Europe and Asia)
EUROPEAN EMPLOYMENT FACTORS (Compensation, Culture, Work-Life Balance, Etc.)
EUROPEAN PRACTICE AREAS (Analytics, Finance, Strategy, Etc.)
PRESTIGE AND DIVERSITY (Both Europe and Asia)
TOP 50 CONSULTING FIRMS TO WORK FOR IN 2023
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