Top 50 Consulting Firms To Work For In 2023


Bain & Company was the clear winner when measured against the Boston Consulting Group and McKinsey in the Quality of Work and Life Measures. This year, Bain scored above its MBB peers in 11 of 20 categories, including the all-important Firm Culture, Satisfaction, Work-Life Balance, and Level of Challenge dimensions, which make up 50% of the Vault Consulting 50’s weight. This represents major gains for Bain, which racked up six top finishes last year when compared to its peers. This year, Bain ousted McKinsey from the top spot among the MBB in five dimensions. In addition, Bain and BCG tied in Diversity.

Talk about a banner year!

BCG didn’t fare too bad either. It held onto the top scores among the MBB in Benefits, Compensation, Firm Leadership, Business Outlook, and Health and Wellness. Plus, it beat out McKinsey to be this year’s Most Innovative among the MBB. And McKinsey? It only ranked ahead of Bain and BCG in one category: International Opportunities – an area of decreased importance courtesy of COVID.


And the news gets even worse for McKinsey when you look across the Quality of Work and Life scores over the past five years. In 2023, McKinsey averaged lower scores in every dimension measured in the Vault Consulting 50. Call it a crisis in confidence – if not an existential threat. True, the biggest decline involved Level of Challenge, which fell by .517 of a point. However, Compensation also tumbled by .476 of a point. Firm Leadership and Business Outlook scores plummeted by .464 and .425 of a point respectively. Not to mention, McKinsey lost ground in Firm Culture (-.386) and Satisfaction (-.338).

Despite this news, McKinsey reviewers are relatively upbeat on Vault. One consultant pointed to “Long hours, high stress environment on a lot of projects.” However, the same consultant pivoted back to how McKinsey had made it easier to take time off between projects. Another listed off some of the benefits that make McKinsey the firm to beat.

“McKinsey is a global partnership–we can work anywhere, meet international friends, and solve global problems like no-one else. Collaboration is expected and incentivized and I’ve met some of my closest friends and confidantes here.”

Another survey respondent conceded that McKinsey is facing some daunting obstacles – but also believes the firm will come out stronger than ever. “Post-COVID, I think the economy and employee morale in the wake of industry news are definitely challenges we will need to face. However, I believe that given the client work we’re still doing, the focus we put on people, and the perks, we’ll be well positioned to move ahead.”


In contrast, Bain & Company has only lost ground in five dimensions since 2019, with the biggest losses being Business Outlook (-.170) and Firm Leadership (-.129). Of course, BCG lost -.171 of a point in Business Outlook over the same period, which could reflect consultant sentiment over the industry instead of the firm. On the plus side, Bain has seen its Hours score – a reflection of the number of hours worked – improve by .459 of a point. That likely corresponds with the .208 of a point rise in Satisfaction at Bain.

BCG’s results have been mixed bag recent years. Technically, the firm has seen scores rise in eight dimensions over the past two years. The highlight: Compensation has jumped by .417 of a point since 2019, with the added bonus of Internal Mobility rising by .312. However, that was matched by declines in Level of Challenge (-.443) and Formal Training (-.290).

“This is a client service business, which comes with natural challenges in managing hours and staff sustainability,” admits one BCG consultant surveyed. “Demanding clients/projects can lead to heavier hours, but the firm has put many practices in place – including our weekly Predictability, Teaming and Open Communication (PTO) conversations on each case – to make the job more manageable.”

Next Page: Quality of Employment and Life Rankings

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