What salary can a graduate consultant expect?

21 Jun 2023, 15:40

Discover how much graduate consultants, analysts and associates get paid and get a sense of what benefits and bonuses make up the remuneration and compensation package.

What salary can a graduate consultant expect?

Students and graduates who want to work for consulting firms expect a typical salary of £28,855, according to the Cibyl Graduate Research UK 2022 report, which surveyed 65,432 students and graduates about their career thinking. Is this expectation realistic? In many cases it is on the low side, with some big-name consultancies offering graduate starting salaries of £40,000+. In this article, we will delve more deeply into the world of management consultants’ pay. Jump to:

How much do graduate consultants make in the UK?

A few consultancy firms publish their salaries for their graduate consultant, analyst and associate jobs. For 2022 and 2023, these include:

  • Alfa graduate salary: £40,000 (plus a £5,000 sign-on bonus)
  • Mott MacDonald graduate salary: £27,500–£31,000
  • Newton Europe graduate salary: £45,000−£50,000
  • PwC starting salary for graduate consultants: £33,500.

Other consulting firms prefer to state that their entry-level salaries are competitive and so you will need to turn to anonymised salary surveys to get a sense of what you could earn as a consultant.

What is the average salary for a graduate management consultant?

Online salary platforms and recruitment agencies that specialise in filling management consultant vacancies provide a wide variety of average and median salaries. When reviewing these, you have to be aware that they might not be representative of the entire industry. Online platforms rely on employees volunteering their salary information, while recruitment agencies report on the salary expectations of the job postings they have had on their books – which means that they may be based on relatively small numbers of vacancies or they might only reflect salaries in some locations and not others. But, taken together, they can give you an insight into the average salary for a graduate management consultant.

Glassdoor puts the UK average salary for a graduate management consultant based in London in 2023 at £35,814 (although that conclusion is only based upon 11 salaries). In 2022, a number of consulting firms were included in its list of the 50 companies with the highest starting salaries for entry-level jobs, according to news reports. These firms included:

  • Boston Consulting Group: £50,000
  • L.E.K. Consulting: £49,000
  • Oliver Wyman: £47,000
  • EY-Parthenon: £46,000
  • McKinsey & Company: £45,000
  • FTI Consulting: £37,000.

In contrast, the hiring solutions company records the 2023 median UK salary of a graduate consultant at a slightly lower £28,500, based on 10,000 salaries provided by its clients. Bear in mind, however, that these figures may take into account the pay for recruitment consultants as well as management and strategy consultants.

The jobs board Indeed, meanwhile, reports that, for the 2022−2023 recruitment cycle, the national average salary of a junior consultant (described as taking on entry-level tasks) is £26,911 and the national average salary of associate consultants (also described as undertaking entry-level tasks) is £30,592.

More reassuringly, perhaps, the recruitment agency Prism Executive Recruitment, which specialises in management consulting vacancies, put the median base salary of a consultant (which it defined as someone with 2−5 years’ experience or 1−2 years’ experience with a postgraduate degree) at £50,000 in 2022 – although it didn’t give the sample size of its survey.

Similarly, the recruitment agency Movemeon put the base salary of an associate at £61,000 in 2022, although it didn’t provide its survey sample size and nor did it explain how it classified associate salaries. In many cases, an associate is an entry-level role for graduates, although, as Indeed showed above, it can also be the salary of a consultant with a couple of years’ experience.

As noted above, you should view these figures as a rough guide because they may not present a complete picture of the entire profession – nor should you judge a consulting firm purely on its ‘base’ or starting salary, as consulting firms typically offer generous benefits packages and a lower starting salary could be balanced out by a more valuable overall package.

What bonuses do you get in consulting?

Bonuses in consulting are typically related to individual and overall business performance and so amounts are not guaranteed. Glassdoor states that the average ‘additional cash compensation’ for graduate management consultants in London is £1,203 – but it is not clear if that refers specifically to bonuses. Prism Executive Recruitment found that in 2022 the entire value of the benefits and bonuses package for consultants was between 10% and 20% of the base salary.

What other benefits do you get in a compensation package for consulting?

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):

  • pension scheme
  • a signing bonus (sometimes called a ‘golden hello’) and relocation expense reimbursement for new starters
  • private health cover and dental insurance
  • subsidised gym membership and cycle lease scheme
  • life assurance
  • travel season ticket loan
  • the opportunity to buy extra holiday
  • free staff restaurants for breakfast and lunch
  • retail vouchers
  • childcare vouchers
  • company laptop and smartphone
  • well-being initiatives
  • sponsorship for an MBA programme.

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