The Best Consulting Firms to Work For 2016

Published: Aug 25, 2015

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I'm delighted to announce the release of the 2016 Vault Best Consulting Firms to Work For rankings for North America-the most comprehensive ranking of employers in the consulting industry that you can find anywhere.

As hefty a claim as that might be, it's one that we can back with facts: this year, we distributed our survey to more firms than ever before (over 160 worldwide), and received a record number of responses (over 14,000 worldwide, with more than 9,000 from North America), resulting in a higher number of qualifying firms than ever before. And every one of those responses came from verified employees of the firms we distributed the survey to. The competition was more fierce than ever too: a mere 0.36 points separated McKinsey and Bain at the top of our rankings--one of the narrowest margins on record.

The Top 10 Firms

Overall, this has been an exciting year for the consulting industry. We've seen many firms increase their headcount significantly in the past year, as demand for services has in many cases outstripped the capacity of firms to supply them. And, while we haven't had a major acquisition in a while, this year's rankings do highlight how some of the bigger-name deals--Strategy& and Parthenon-EY spring to mind--have played out both with employees and in the minds of consultants at peer organizations. To get more of a sense of that--or the situation at any firm--be sure to visit the profile pages of any of the firms featured on the ranking. There, you will find a curated selection of quotes from firm insiders that create a picture of life at each firm.

Without further ado, then, here are the top 10 firms in North America this year:

  1. McKinsey & Company
  2. Bain & Company
  3. The Boston Consulting Group
  4. Deloitte Consulting
  5. PricewaterhouseCoopers
  6. Oliver Wyman
  7. The Brattle Group
  8. Cornerstone Research
  9. A.T. Kearney
  10. The Bridgespan Group

Click here for the full Consulting 50.

As in previous years, the rankings are comprised not of one list, but several--and I encourage you to spend some time with them, to get a complete sense of where the industry.

Of course, there's our headline Consulting 50 ranking, which uses a weighted formula to determine the top firms to work for in the industry.

And, after a successful debut last year, I'm happy to report that the Best Boutique Firms to Work For has grown in strength and depth, and is an increasingly useful tool for those considering a career with a smaller or more specialized firm.

For those who are seeking more depth or clarity about specific aspects of life in the industry, we've got you covered there as well: participating firms are ranked across 23 separate quality of life categories, covering everything from compensation and work hours to job satisfaction and diversity. And, in response to industry trends and audience demand, we added a whole new category this year: vacation policy, which ranks firms based on how easily their consultants can actually use all of the vacation time that they accrue.

Finally, I also invite you to check out our prestige and practice area rankings. These provide a different perspective on the industry, and indicate the firms that practicing consultants believe to be at the top of their field. There are no prizes for guessing that McKinsey is the most prestigious firm overall, but rapidly developing fields such as healthcare and pharmaceutical consulting have seen some genuine contenders emerge in recent years.

View the full Consulting 50.

View the most prestigious firms.

Explore the quality of life categories.

Check out the diversity rankings

View all consulting rankings