Today, we're excited to release our annual ranking of the Best Consulting Firms to Work For in North America. Our Consulting Rankings highlight the best firms in dozens of categories and include the overall Top 50, the Most Prestigious Consulting Firms, the Best Boutique Consulting Firms, the Best Firms by Practice Area, and the Best Firms to Work For in key employment factors including compensation, work/life balance, corporate culture, and more.
Over the course of this past year, we worked closely with more than 130 of the world’s top consulting firms to coordinate the distribution of our annual survey to employees around the world. More than 17,000 consulting professionals participated in our survey across North America; Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (EMEA); Asia-Pacific (APAC); and Latin America. Their responses form the basis of our rankings.
These consultants’ invaluable insights give jobseekers an insider’s perspective when researching their next career move. Every year, we ask employees to rate their own firms on a scale of 1 to 10 based on firm culture, compensation, work/life balance, overall business outlook, satisfaction, and other employment factors. We also asked consultants to rate the prestige of peer firms and to select the strongest firms in more than a dozen specific practice areas; for the prestige and practice area rankings, consultants were unable to rate or vote for their own firms. The Vault Consulting 50 ranking is based on a weighted formula that combines each firm’s prestige rating with its scores in several key employment factors to come up with an overall list of the Best Consulting Firms to Work For.
The Top 10 Consulting Firms in North America are:
1. Bain & Company
2. McKinsey & Company
3. Boston Consulting Group
4. The Bridgespan Group
6. Booz Allen Hamilton
7. Oliver Wyman
9. L.E.K. Consulting
Bain & Company ranks No. 1 in the Vault Consulting 50 for the second straight year. The firm also ranks No. 1 in Informal Training and Relationships with Supervisors, and No. 2 in Firm Culture, Formal Training, Health & Wellness, Promotion Policies, Satisfaction, and Selectivity. This year, Bain consultants tell us that the best aspects of working for the firm include the “ability to work on tough problems in an incredibly collaborative and supportive way,” “the high impact work for clients,” “the opportunity to create a career that’s well paying and meaningful,” and “the great team that you work with.”
McKinsey & Company jumps one spot to rank No. 2 this year in the Consulting 50. The firm also ranks in No. 1 in Prestige, Innovation, Internal Mobility, International Opportunities, and Selectivity. McKinsey consultants tell us that some of the best parts about working for the most prestigious consulting firm in North America include the “caliber of colleagues,” “high-impact work,” “level of learning and development,” “ability to create positive and lasting change in the world,” and “working with the most important topics with the most important clients.”
Boston Consulting Group slips one spot to No. 3 this year overall, but the firm took home more No. 1 key employment factor rankings than any other firm. BCG ranks No. 1 in Benefits, Business Outlook, Compensation, Firm Leadership, Health & Wellness, and Promotion Policies. In addition, the firm ranks No. 2 in Innovation and Internal Mobility. According to BCG consultants, the firm “emphasizes learning and development as well as sustainability,” has “great brand recognition among employers who matter,” offers “good compensation,” and gives you the opportunity to work alongside “incredibly competent teammates.”
The Bridgespan Group leaps an impressive eight places to rank No. 4 this year, following its No. 12 ranking last year. In addition to cracking the top five in the Consulting 50 this year, Bridgespan ranks No. 1 in Diversity, No. 2 in the Boutique Consulting Rankings, and No. 3 in Business Outlook and Satisfaction. Bridgespan also ranks among the top 20 consulting firms in Prestige. Bridgespan consultants tell us that the best aspects of working for the boutique firm include the “amazing case work,” “excellent clients,” “smart people,” “culture,” “world-improving impact we have through client work and research,” and “commitment to social change, DEI, and employee well-being.”
EY-Parthenon held onto its No. 5 ranking this year, while also rising three places in Prestige to rank No 6. The firm’s consultants tell us that this prestigious consulting firm is filled with “smart people,” offers “strong pay” and a “great culture,” and “lets you get to know teams and colleagues throughout the U.S. regardless of your home office.” In addition, consultants say that “junior and senior team members alike can make their mark on the firm and its future,” and that “DE&I is a big part of the EYP culture.”
Vault Ranks the Best Boutique Consulting Firms
Each year, Vault ranks the best consulting boutiques to showcase firms that do innovative work in their respective fields and provide an enriching professional experience for their employees—even if they’re not household names.
While there is no strict definition of what constitutes a boutique, the term is generally understood to refer to firms that are narrower in focus and smaller in size than the larger, generalist firms that consult on a wide range of topics across practice areas and industries. While the Top 50 ranking represents the highest scores of all consulting firms that participate in our annual survey, only firms that have fewer than 750 employees are eligible to be considered for the boutique ranking.
The Top 10 Boutique Consulting Firms are:
2. The Bridgespan Group
3. Potomac Point Group
4. DeciBio Consulting
6. Triangle Insights Group
7. Eagle Hill Consulting
8. The Keystone Group
9. Back Bay Life Science Advisors
10. Kx Advisors
There are many reasons to consider joining a boutique, including work/life balance, firm culture, local staffing, and the ability to specialize. It’s interesting to note, then, that this year’s No. 1 boutique, ghSMART, also ranks No. 1 for Satisfaction among all consulting firms. In addition, the firm ranks No. 1 in Level of Challenge and Interaction with Clients, No. 2 in Compensation, and No. 3 in Hours. The firm’s consultants tell us that the best aspects of working for ghSMART include “being part of an amazingly talented group of people committed to innovation and collaboration,” the “freedom and flexibility,” the “lucrative compensation opportunities,” and “the type of work—helping CEOs select and develop their teams who ultimately have a multiplier effect on the world around them.”
Vault Ranks the Most Prestigious Consulting Firms
There aren’t often surprises in the ranking of the most prestigious consulting firms, and understandably so. Consultants who participate in our survey are not allowed to rate the prestige of their own firms; they can only rate their peers. The firms that rank are often the standard-bearers of the consulting industry—those global juggernauts whose influence and renown all but ensure near-universal name recognition.
The 10 Most Prestigious Consulting Firms are:
1. McKinsey & Company
2. Boston Consulting Group
3. Bain & Company
4. Deloitte Consulting LLP
5. PwC Advisory/Strategy&
8. Booz Allen Hamilton
9. Ernst & Young (Consulting Practice) NA
10. Oliver Wyman
Below are the rest of our Consulting Rankings, along with the firm that ranks No. 1 in each ranking.
Vault Ranks the Best Consulting Firms in Each Practice Area
Data Analytics Consulting: Accenture
Defense Consulting: Lockheed Martin Corporation (IT Consulting)
Economic Consulting: McKinsey & Company
Energy Consulting: McKinsey & Company
Environmental Sustainability Consulting: Boston Consulting Group
Financial Consulting: Deloitte Consulting LLP
Best Firm for Health Care Consulting: McKinsey & Company
Best Firm for Human Resources Consulting: Deloitte Consulting LLP
Best Firm for IT Operations Consulting: Accenture
Best Firm for IT Strategy Consulting: Accenture
Best Firm for Management Consulting: McKinsey & Company
Best Firm for Operations Consulting: McKinsey & Company
Best Firm for Pricing, Sales & Marketing Consulting: McKinsey & Company
Best Firm for Public Sector Consulting: Deloitte Consulting LLP
Best Firm for Retail Consulting: McKinsey & Company
Best Firm for Strategy Consulting: Boston Consulting Group
Best Firm for Technology, Media & Telecommunications Consulting: McKinsey & Company
Vault Ranks the Best Consulting Firms to Work for by Employment Factor
Best Firm for Benefits: Boston Consulting Group
Best Firm for Compensation: Boston Consulting Group
Best Firm for Diversity: The Bridgespan Group
Best Firm for Firm Culture: The Keystone Group
Best Firm for Firm Leadership: Boston Consulting Group
Best Firm for Formal Training: Health Advances
Best Firm for Health & Wellness: Boston Consulting Group
Best Firm for Hours in the Office: Ignyte Group
Best Firm for Informal Training: Bain & Company
Best Firm for Innovation: McKinsey & Company
Best Firm for Interaction with Clients: ghSMART
Best Firm for Internal Mobility: McKinsey & Company
Best Firm for International Opportunities: McKinsey & Company
Best Firm for Level of Challenge: ghSMART
Best Firm for Overall Business Outlook: Boston Consulting Group
Best Firm for Promotion Policies: Boston Consulting Group
Best Firm for Relationships with Supervisors: Bain & Company
Best Firm for Satisfaction: ghSMART
Best Firm for Selectivity: McKinsey & Company
Best Firm for Work/Life Balance: Eagle Hill Consulting
View the complete Vault Consulting Rankings. The rankings for the Best Consulting Firms in EMEA and APAC will be released next week.
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