image of graduate with pound signs

What salary can a graduate consultant expect?

The salary and benefits you can expect to receive as a graduate working in consulting
Many firms are keen to offer ‘time off’ benefits to their employees

According to the latest biannual survey from the Association of Graduate Recruiters (AGR), the average starting salary in the consulting sector is £26,500. You’ll be happy to hear, however, that most of the employers on offer considerably more than this average. Here’s a sample:

  • Accenture offers its analyst consulting graduates a starting salary of c£31,500 plus a £10,000 bonus within the first two years of working for the company.
  • CHP Consulting offered its graduates a salary of £40,000 plus a £5,000 sign-on bonus in 2014.
  • IBM offers its graduates £30,000+.

Most consulting employers are tight-lipped when it comes to talking about money before they offer you a job, preferring instead to leave it to your imagination with descriptions such as ‘competitive’ or ‘highly competitive’. It’s safe to assume their offers will be similar to the above, however. Reports suggest, for example, that applicants at McKinsey & Company could earn over £40,000 in their first year.


Base salary is not everything, of course. Here’s an idea of some of the typical benefits you could be offered in your first year (some of them will be optional, which employees can choose to suit them personally): 

  • private health cover and dental insurance
  • subsidised gym membership
  • pension scheme
  • performance bonuses
  • a signing bonus (a golden hello) and relocation expense reimbursement for new starters
  • life assurance.
  • season ticket loan
  • opportunity to buy extra holiday
  • free staff restaurants for breakfast and lunch
  • retail vouchers
  • childcare vouchers
  • health screening
  • cycle lease scheme
  • laptop and smartphone on joining
  • sponsorship for an MBA programme

Work/life balance benefits

‘Keeping a healthy work/life balance might be the most challenging part of the job, given the long hours,’ says Philippe Ducrest, an associate at Parthenon-EY. For a sector famed for its long work hours, it is not surprising that many firms are keen to offer ‘time off’ benefits to their employees. Here is a sample of what you could expect: 

  • Roland Berger Strategy Consultants promotes its part-time working models and home-office jobs.
  • Bain offers part-time and job sharing options, as well as sabbatical leaves and absences needed for personal reasons. Additionally, the company has developed a ‘Take two’ initiative that enables eligible employees to take an extended period of unpaid leave (usually two months) to rejuvenate or fulfil personal goals.
  • Oliver Wyman runs a non-profit fellowship scheme (up to a year working at a non-profit organisation on 40% of salary) and offers up to six months’ unpaid leave. Money, benefits and perks should not, of course, be the reasons you enter the profession – but if you do decide that consulting is the career for you, the salary and benefits are certainly attractive