2023 Vault Consulting 50 North America and Best to Work For was originally published on Firsthand.
Today, Vault is pleased to announce its Consulting 50 Rankings for 2023, with Bain & Company ranking as the “Best Consulting Firm to Work For.” It’s the third year in a row that Bain takes the top spot. Meanwhile, Boston Consulting Group moves up to take No. 2, with McKinsey & Company sliding down to No. 3. Rounding out the top five of the Consulting 50 are EY-Parthenon at No. 4 and The Bridgespan Group at No. 5—the two firms reversed positions this year.
“We’re proud to introduce our 2023 rankings of the top consulting firms in North America. Our rankings are entirely based on direct feedback from more than 16,000 consultants, providing a transparent picture of the inner workings at the top consulting firms,” said Eric Stutzke, SVP & General Manager of Vault. “For more than 20 years, Vault has been delivering the most powerful qualitative and quantitative insights in the industry, giving students and professionals a unique look at the major quality of life indicators of the top large and boutique consulting firms in North America.”
The rankings are derived from the annual Vault Consulting Survey. Conducted in the fall of 2022, the survey asked more than 16,000 consulting professionals of all levels to assess their peer firms on a scale of 1 to 10 based on prestige (they were unable to rate their own firms and asked to rate only firms with which they were familiar). They were also asked to rate their own firms in various quality of life categories, including compensation, hours, firm culture, business outlook, training, wellness, work/life balance, and overall job satisfaction. A weighted formula, which includes external prestige scores and internal quality of life scores, was applied to this data to create the Consulting 50.
The 10 Best Consulting Firms to Work for Based on Vault’s Annual Consulting Survey Are:
- Bain & Company
- Boston Consulting Group
- McKinsey & Company
- The Bridgespan Group
- L.E.K. Consulting
- Analysis Group
- Alvarez & Marsal
No. 1 Bain & Company Is “Extremely Prestigious” and “Pedigreed”
In addition to ranking No. 1 in the Consulting 50, Bain ranks No. 1 in Strategy Consulting and No. 2 in Economic Consulting; Energy Consulting; Environmental Sustainability Consulting; Operations Consulting; Pricing, Sales, and Marketing Consulting; Retail Consulting; and Technology, Media, & Telecommunications Consulting. It also ranks No. 1 in Informal Training, Internal Mobility, Relationships with Supervisors, and LGBTQ+ Diversity and No. 2 in Formal Training, Promotion Policies, Level of Challenge, Satisfaction, Firm Culture, Benefits, Health & Wellness, and Selectivity.
“Bainies,” as some firm professionals call themselves, tell us that their teams “really collaborate” and that the firm places “a lot of emphasis on work/life balance.” With regards to advancement, Bain consultants say that “every step of the way, you know where you stand and what is required of you to reach the next level” and “promotion processes are transparent.” Employees describe the firm’s D&I goals as “receptive and ambitious” and say the firm “pioneered a number of diversity recruiting programs.” Top that off with “some of the best health insurance available,” and it’s easy to see how Bain remains king of the “Best to Work For” mountain.
No. 2 Boston Consulting Group Is Filled With “Hyper-Logical Problem Solvers”
Boston Consulting Group takes over the No. 2 spot for Best Consulting Firm to Work For and ranks No. 2 in Prestige. On top of that, BCG ranks No. 1 in Promotion Policies, Benefits, Health & Wellness, and Firm Leadership, and No. 2 in Compensation, International Opportunities, Overall Diversity, Diversity for Individuals with Disabilities, and Innovation.
BCG reigned supreme in our Practice Area Rankings, taking the No. 1 spot in nine practice areas, including: Economic Consulting; Energy Consulting; Environmental Sustainability Consulting; Financial Consulting; Health Sciences Consulting; Operations Consulting; Pricing, Sales, and Marketing Consulting; Retail Consulting; and Technology, Media, & Telecommunications Consulting.
BCGers tell us that the firm’s culture is “people-focused” and call the firm a “thoughtful employer” with a “highly supportive and down-to-earth culture” that is “making very strong efforts on D&I” and offers “a very supportive place for women, people of color, and LGBTQ+ individuals.” BCG offers “world class” compensation with “significant bonuses and profit sharing,” and employees are confident that the firm will “absolutely dominate in the next 12 months,” with an “incredibly strong position and growth in the environment.” And with the rave reviews, it’s hard to argue with that perception.
No. 3 McKinsey & Company Is Still “Cream of the Crop”
McKinsey maintains its No. 1 spot in our Prestige rankings but slips one place to No. 3 in this year’s Best Consulting Firms to Work For ranking. Other notable rankings include the No. 1 spot in International Opportunities and the No. 2 ranking in Diversity for Veterans, a new category in this year’s survey.
McKinsey insiders offer glowing reviews of the firm, lauding its “unparalleled” culture where “collaboration is expected and incentivized.” The opportunities are “unending” and provide “a seat at the table for massive client challenges.” Consultants also have “access to senior executives” and “room for growth,” which lends them a positive view of their futures at the firm; they feel “well positioned to move ahead.”
ghSMART Is a Boutique That “Operates in a Culture of ‘Free Choice’”
Small but mighty, ghSMART is a leadership advisory boutique firm that plays David to some of the industry’s Goliaths when it comes to quality of life. In addition to taking the No. 1 spot for Best Boutique Consulting Firms, ghSMART ranks No. 1 in nine quality of life categories, the most of any firm this year: Level of Challenge, Satisfaction, Interaction with Clients, Hours, Work/Life Balance, Compensation, Overall Diversity, Business Outlook, and Selectivity.
Consultants at Top Firms Share Their Clients’ Concerns; Leadership and Culture Are More Important Than Ever
2022 was a turbulent year for the labor market. In the tech world, it spelled layoffs for a huge number of employees in Silicon Valley. Meanwhile, the retail and food service industries had trouble getting employees in the door. In a time when many industries were struggling to meet the challenges of an uncertain economy and even more uncertain ramifications, surveyed consultants shared some of their clients’ concerns.
According to the more than 16,000 consulting professionals who took our survey last fall, on average their Business Outlook scores fell by 3 percent versus last year.
However, some firms are still showing strong scores in Business Outlook despite this difficult environment. Some common themes among these exceptional firms are strong leadership and a culture of ongoing improvement and learning. One consultant had this to say about their firm’s future: “We have a great leadership team that is constantly looking to improve the firm and bring in new business. Even in a rough economic outlook, our firm continues to excel, and nobody has been cut as a result of the economy. It’s a true investment in the people at the firm.” A consultant at a different firm describes that firm’s continued commitment to employee development: “The firm is very transparent about career development opportunities and works to ensure that each employee is in charge of their own career journey. It’s truly up to us to take our career to where we want it to go, and the firm will support us the best they can every step of the way.”
Our new consulting company profiles include many more direct quotes from consulting professionals about hours, work/life balance, overall satisfaction, compensation, benefits, training, diversity, business outlook, and more.
View the entire Consulting 50 Rankings, Prestige Rankings, Boutique Firm Rankings, Practice Area Rankings, Quality of Life Rankings, and Diversity Rankings.
About Vault’s Rankings
Vault’s Rankings are powered by Firsthand, an Infobase Company headquartered in New York City that equalizes access to valuable career insights, expert advice, and connections, and allows career seekers to navigate their careers from a position of strength, knowledge, and assurance. Through its career engagement platform, Firsthand empowers the success of career seekers by providing them with powerful insights, unique resources, and impactful relationships so that they can discover their next best step. Since 1996, Firsthand has launched careers and elevated professionals into positions of success.