Consulting Salaries in the United Kingdom 2024

Are you contemplating a career in consulting in the United Kingdom? Have you ever been curious about the remuneration packages offered in this field and the entry-level compensation? This article aims to provide you with comprehensive information on consulting salaries in the UK. 

 

Table of Contents

Understanding the Pay-Scale for Entry-Level Consulting Jobs

The entry-level salary in consulting for graduates in the UK proves highly attractive, enticing young talents with promising career prospects. However, it is important to understand the structure of the salary, as it comprises various fixed and variable components.

Below, you will find an overview of the typical key components the salary of a consultant is made of: 

Salary

Base Salary

The base salary is the payment that regularly flows into your account each month. It is therefore your continuous and reliable source of income that makes up the stable component of your total salary. Larger and well-known companies, such as Roland Berger, Deloitte, or Kearney, typically offer higher salaries compared to smaller firms.

Performance Bonus

A performance bonus is an extra payment added to your base salary, significantly boosting your total income. This practice is quite common in consulting. The amount of the performance bonus depends on various factors, such as:

  • Your individual performance,

  • the company's profitability,

  • customer ratings,

  • project successes,

  • team performance, and more.

The performance bonus is typically paid quarterly or annually. The purpose is to motivate employees and provide an incentive for outstanding performance and results. So, when making career decisions, also take into account this additional variable compensation.

Signing Bonus

In consulting, it is typical that a signing bonus is paid to new and high-potential hires. This is a one-time payment given at the beginning of the employment period with the company. Even though it's a one-time payment, as a candidate, the signing bonus serves as an extra incentive when deciding on the right consultancy. 

While negotiating a base salary might not be common in management consulting, there is often flexibility regarding signing bonuses. If you have multiple offers, leveraging them can potentially result in a higher signing bonus. Some firms may have payback policies related to signing bonuses, underscoring the importance of reviewing the terms and conditions detailed in the offer letter.

Relocation Bonus

Some consulting firms offer relocation bonuses, even for interns. The amount of this bonus depends on how far you need to move from your current location to the office. If you're making a significant cross-country move and there's no relocation bonus, it opens up a chance to discuss a higher signing bonus during negotiations. The way companies pay both relocation and signing bonuses can differ, with some providing them upon signing the contract, starting the job, or in installments over multiple years.

Other Benefits

In addition to salary components, consulting companies often offer their employees a range of additional benefits. These include health insurance, paid time off, the provision of technical equipment such as laptops and smartphones, a company car, transportation tickets, training opportunities, and many more. When evaluating job offers, considering these benefits is crucial, as they can have a significant impact on your overall health and satisfaction.

 

Which Factors Influence the Compensation in Consulting?

The salary of a management consultant is influenced by various factors:

Factors Influencing Consulting Salary

Your Level of Education and Other Qualifications

The higher your level of education, such as an MBA, the more likely you are to earn a higher salary. Employers value the specialized skills and in-depth knowledge that come with advanced degrees and often reward this with more generous compensation.

The Location of the Company

Location is another significant factor for your salary. In cities with a higher cost of living, consultants often receive a higher compensation to offset expenses. For example, someone working in London might receive a higher salary compared to someone in a smaller city.

The Prestige and Size of the Employing Company

Larger and more prestigious firms, such as MBB (McKinsey, BCG, Bain), often pay higher salaries compared to smaller boutique firms.

Specific Role and Position in the Consulting Hierarchy

Entry-level positions usually come with more modest compensation, but as you gain experience and progress in your career, you will typically receive a salary increase. If you have additional specialized skills in in-demand areas, such as digital transformation consulting, you may also receive higher compensation as these skills are in high demand.

 

What Are the Top Paying Consulting Firms in the UK?

Starting salaries for consultants in the UK vary considerably depending on the company, with MBB and the "Big Four" (Deloitte, KPMG, PwC, EY) being known for their attractive remuneration packages. In addition to these prestigious firms, we introduce you to Tier 2 and boutique consulting firms that specialize in niches and offer interesting career opportunities and attractive salaries. It is worth comparing these firms thoroughly to find out which one best suits your individual preferences and career goals. 

 

Salaries at McKinsey, BCG, and Bain (MBB)

MBB (McKinsey, BCG, Bain) are renowned consulting firms in the United Kingdom, known for their outstanding consultancy services. In addition to their professional excellence, they offer particularly attractive salaries to their employees, making them highly sought-after employers.

Below, you will find an overview of the starting salaries of graduates with a Master's degree at MBB in the UK:

 

Company Base Salary Performance Bonus Total Compensation
McKinsey £50,000 up to £8,000 up to £60,000
Bain £52,000 up to £11,000 up to £63,000
BCG £49,500 up to £7,000 up to £60,000
Company Base Salary Performance Bonus Total Compensation
McKinsey £50,000 up to £8,000 up to £60,000
Bain £52,000 up to £11,000 up to £63,000
BCG £49,500 up to £7,000 up to £60,000

In comparison, we find that Bain is the best paying graduate employer in the UK. The base salary of around £52,000 and performance bonus of up to £11,000 add up to a total compensation package of up to £63,000, slightly outperforming McKinsey and BCG's packages which range around £60,000. Bain's performance bonus also exceeds that of McKinsey and BCG, which lie between £7,000 and £8,000.

 

Salaries at the Big Four (Deloitte, EY, KPMG, PwC)

The "Big Four" refers to the four largest accounting firms (Deloitte, EY, KPMG, and PwC) that play a dominant role in the UK's professional services industry. These companies provide services such as auditing, consulting, and advisory, and are renowned for their comprehensive expertise and global networks. Regarding salaries, the "Big Four" generally offer competitive compensation in the market.

Here’s an overview of the starting salaries of graduates with a Master's degree at the Big Four in the UK:

 

Company Base Salary Performance Bonus Total Compensation
Deloitte £49,000 up to £4,900 up to £53,000
EY £50,000 up to £1,200 up to £52,000
KPMG £45,000 up to £1,900 up to £48,000
PwC £51,000 up to £2,100 up to £55,000
Company Base Salary Performance Bonus Total Compensation
Deloitte £49,000 up to £4,900 up to £53,000
EY £50,000 up to £1,200 up to £52,000
KPMG £45,000 up to £1,900 up to £48,000
PwC £51,000 up to £2,100 up to £55,000

Base salaries at Deloitte, EY and PwC in the UK have a comparable range overall, varying between £49,000 and £51,100. In contrast, KPMG pays a slightly lower base salary of £43,000 for new starters. There are also differences in performance bonuses between the Big Four. At EY, KPMG and PwC, bonuses are relatively similar, ranging from £1,200 to £2,100, while Deloitte offers more generous performance bonuses of up to £5,000.

 

Salaries at Tier 2 and Boutique Consulting Firms

Tier 2 and boutique firms like Accenture, Kearney or Oliver Wyman play a significant role in the UK's professional services sector. Tier 2 firms, considered mid-tier, offer diverse accounting and advisory services with a potential for specialization. Boutique firms, smaller and niche-focused, concentrate on specific industries or services. Despite lacking the global presence of the "Big Four," Tier 2 and boutique firms provide unique expertise and a personalized approach. Salaries vary, with competitiveness in specialized areas where their expertise is highly valued.

Here’s an overview of the starting salaries of graduates with a Master's degree at numerous Tier 2 and boutique consultancies in the UK:

 

Company Base Salary Performance Bonus Total Compensation
Accenture £54,000 up to £57,000
Altman Solon £50,000 £5,000 up to £56,000
Alvarez & Marsal £35,000 up to £41,000
Arthur D. Little £40,000 up to £45,000
Capgemini Invent £51,000 up to £54,000
ClearView Healthcare Partners £50,000 up to £54,000
FTI Consulting £35,000 £7,000 up to £42,000
Kearney £41,000 up to £44,000
L.E.K. Consulting £50,000 £2,750 up to £54,000
OC&C £54,000 £10,800 up to £65,000
Oliver Wyman £34,000 up to £39,000
Simon Kucher £52,000 up to £55,000
Strategy& £52,000 £5,200 up to £57,000
ZS Associates £47,000 £3,500 up to £51,500
Company Base Salary Performance Bonus Total Compensation
Accenture £54,000 up to £57,000
Altman Solon £50,000 £5,000 up to £56,000
Alvarez & Marsal £35,000 up to £41,000
Arthur D. Little £40,000 up to £45,000
Capgemini Invent £51,000 up to £54,000
ClearView Healthcare Partners £50,000 up to £54,000
FTI Consulting £35,000 £7,000 up to £42,000
Kearney £41,000 up to £44,000
L.E.K. Consulting £50,000 £2,750 up to £54,000
OC&C £54,000 £10,800 up to £65,000
Oliver Wyman £34,000 up to £39,000
Simon Kucher £52,000 up to £55,000
Strategy& £52,000 £5,200 up to £57,000
ZS Associates £47,000 £3,500 up to £51,500

 

The base salaries for entry-level positions at Tier 2 and boutique consulting firms vary between the range of £34,000 to £54,000. Notably, OC&C, Simon Kucher, and Strategy& take over the top three positions. OC&C also stands out by offering an impressive performance bonus of up to £10,800, a significant contrast to the bonuses of other firms ranging between £2,750 and £5,200.

Consequently, these salaries are on par with those of the Big Four. As you can see, some of these companies even offer higher salaries.

We generally recommend that you take a closer look at the smaller consulting firms. While salary is a crucial factor, please also consider specialization, corporate culture, and other benefits that the company may offer. With our "Match Your Career" tool, you can specify what is particularly important to you in your future employer, and we will find the suitable company for you!

 

How Does the Location Influence the Consulting Salary in the UK?

Remuneration in your role as a consultant is significantly influenced by the geographical location of the company. Generally, higher salaries are paid in regions with a large number of consulting firms. It is also crucial to consider the cost of living. Below we compare different regions in the UK to illustrate these salary variations.

 

How Does the Consulting Salary Differ between England, Scotland, Northern Ireland, and Wales?

Salaries in the British consulting sector vary by region. England leads with a base salary ranging from £50,000 to £70,000 due to high demand and industrial concentration. In Scotland, consultants earn £48,000 to £68,000, reflecting industry growth. Despite a smaller sector, Northern Ireland offers opportunities with salaries ranging from £25,000 to £68,000. Wales is experiencing growth, with consultants earning £34,000 to £88,000. These differences reflect regional economic variations in consulting in the United Kingdom. While England offers the highest potential, other regions provide competitive salaries for diverse career opportunities as well.

 

Region Salary Range (£)
UK General £45,000 - £80,000
England £50,000 - £70,000
Scotland £48,000 - £68,000
Nothern Ireland £25,000 - £68,000
Wales £34,000 - £88,000
Region Salary Range (£)
UK General £45,000 - £80,000
England £50,000 - £70,000
Scotland £48,000 - £68,000
Nothern Ireland £25,000 - £68,000
Wales £34,000 - £88,000

 

Comparing Consulting Salaries Across Cities in England

Salary differences often exist not only between different regions, but also between cities within a region. The cities in England we looked at are London, Birmingham, Edinburgh and Manchester. These cities represent different economic centers, each with different regional factors that influence salary differentials for consultants.

City Salary Range (£)
London £44,240 - £71,281
Birmingham £38,584 - £65,744
Edinburgh £43,266 - £61,593
Manchester £41,720 - £67,644
City Salary Range (£)
London £44,240 - £71,281
Birmingham £38,584 - £65,744
Edinburgh £43,266 - £61,593
Manchester £41,720 - £67,644

Due to regional factors, salaries vary in different cities, with London offering the highest salaries due to the higher cost of living and greater competition. Birmingham, Edinburgh, and Manchester follow with slightly lower salary ranges influenced by local economic conditions and industry-specific requirements.

 

How Do Consulting Salaries Progress with Experience? 

Consulting is a high-paying career due to the value consultants bring to clients. They provide expert advice, problem-solving skills, and strategic insights. The demand for consulting services drives competitive salaries, as clients are willing to pay a premium for expertise and results. This explains the high compensation in the industry.

Career Level Consulting

As consultants gain expertise and deliver value, their salaries in consulting increase with experience. Regular increments and performance-based bonuses can be expected as consultants progress in their careers. Senior consultants with extensive experience earn higher salaries, and consulting firms reward contributions to client projects and firm growth. Experience and proven track record play a significant role in salary progression in consulting.

Note that consulting firms may use different titles or the roles and responsibilities associated with each position may vary slightly.

Let's take a look at the different career levels in consulting in the UK and their respective salaries:

 

Career Level Salary Range Average Salary Average Additional Pay
Junior Consultant or Entry Level £34,000 - £70,000 £50,000 £4,000
Experienced Consultant £65,000 - £100,000 £83,000 £5,500
Senior Consultant or Manager £92,000 - £125,000 £110,000 £6,029
Project Leader, Principal or Director £120,000 - £165,000 £143,000 £25,852
Executive Level as Partner or Managing Director £125,000 - £757,000 £440,000 £99,151
Career Level Salary Range Average Salary Average Additional Pay
Junior Consultant or Entry Level £34,000 - £70,000 £50,000 £4,000
Experienced Consultant £65,000 - £100,000 £83,000 £5,500
Senior Consultant or Manager £92,000 - £125,000 £110,000 £6,029
Project Leader, Principal or Director £120,000 - £165,000 £143,000 £25,852
Executive Level as Partner or Managing Director £125,000 - £757,000 £440,000 £99,151

 

Salary as Junior Consultant or in a Similar Entry Level Position

Entry-level consultants at top consulting companies offer competitive salary packages to attract top talents. In addition to base salaries, entry-level consultants may also receive performance bonuses and benefits. It's worth noting that starting salaries in consulting tend to be higher than average salaries in other industries. This makes consulting an appealing career path for undergraduates and business school graduates looking to maximize their salary figures in their first year.

Salary range: £34,000 - £70,000

Average salary: £50,000

Average additional pay: £4,000

 

Salary as Experienced Consultant

Building on their initial experience, consultants take on more responsibility. They work independently on projects, advising clients, identifying issues, and implementing solutions. As they offer added value for customers and the company through their successful performance, their remuneration increases accordingly.

Salary range: £65,000 - £100,000

Average salary: £83,000

Average additional pay: £5,500

 

Salary as Senior Consultant or Manager

Senior Consultants or Managers, with accumulated experience, earn higher salaries compared to their entry-level counterparts. These salaries are determined based on the consultant's track record and performance evaluations, with bonuses and benefits often included. Depending on the performance of projects that you are a part of, performance bonuses will continue to grow. 

Salary range: £92,000 - £125,000

Average salary: £110,000 

Average additional pay: £6,029

 

Salary as Project Leader, Principal or Director

At the project leadership level, individuals guide significant projects or departments, contributing to the company's strategic planning. Salaries reflect their extensive experience, with additional substantial bonuses emphasizing the recognition of their expertise.

Salary range: £120,000 - £165,000

Average salary: £143,000

Average additional pay: £25,852

 

Salary on Executive Level as Partner or Managing Director

Partners or Managing Directors, representing the executive pinnacle, receive very competitive salaries. Their focus is on business development, acquiring new clients, and shaping the company's long-term strategic direction. These high-level positions emphasize the consulting industry's commitment to recognizing and rewarding top-tier talent.

Salary range: £125,000 - £757,000

Average salary: £440,000

Average additional pay: £99,151

 

Consulting Salaries in Comparison to Other Industries

When comparing salaries in management consulting in the United Kingdom to those in other professions such as law, medicine, or finance, it becomes apparent that consulting salaries are often higher. In comparison to the investment banking sector, salaries in the UK are very similar. Tech companies like Google, LinkedIn, or Meta sometimes even offer higher salaries than the consulting industry.

Nevertheless, in prestigious firms like MBB, you can achieve a salary comparable to that in tech companies due to attractive advancement opportunities. As a consultant, you also receive lucrative benefits, additional payments such as signing or relocation bonuses, and other attractive opportunities that can significantly boost your overall income, potentially surpassing that in tech companies.

Please note that we are discussing averages here, as salaries vary significantly based on company size, professional experience, and geographical location. To attain such a high salary in general, commitment, ongoing training, and hard work are essential, which can lead to a substantial increase in your income within a short period.

 

Conclusion: Is a Career as a Management Consultant in the UK Worthwhile and Which Salary Can You Expect?

In summary, the consulting industry in the UK offers attractive starting salaries, making it a desirable career choice. Graduates have a variety of job opportunities in this field, with consulting firms offering competitive salaries and benefits. Pay for entry-level positions in consulting varies depending on experience, education, and the company you work for. Top firms such as MBB and the Big 4 tend to offer higher salaries compared to other consulting firms. Location also plays a significant role in determining salaries, with large cities such as London offering higher pay. As you gain experience, salaries in consulting steadily increase, making it a rewarding career path.

Overall, consulting stands out for its financial appeal, making it an appealing choice for individuals seeking financial stability and growth.

Despite the importance of salary, it is important to emphasize that this is not the only criteria for a successful career. Before choosing a career path, make sure the company aligns with your personal and professional goals, and that its values and culture match your aspirations. Only then can you look forward to a fulfilling career as a consultant.

 

 

*Sources:

Glassdoor, Salary of Consultants in the United Kingdom

Management Consulted, Management Consultant Salary Report. Accessed on: https://managementconsulted.com/consultant-salary/

Management Consulted, Consultant Salary UK. Accessed on: https://managementconsulted.com/consultant-salary-uk/

Financial News, KPMG UK partner pay jumps 10% to £757,000. Accessed on: https://www.fnlondon.com/articles/kpmg-uk-partner-pay-jumps-10-to-757000-20230131

 

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