The annual Management Consultant Salary Report, based on data sourced directly from new hires across the consulting industry, revealed that consulting salaries in 2024 were flat when compared with 2023.
While there were some exceptions, industry leaders including the likes of the Big Three—McKinsey, Bain, and Boston Consulting Group (BCG)—as well as leading professional services firms such as Deloitte and PwC, all kept salary levels the same.
In 16 years of producing the report, this was just the second time that Management Consulted recorded a stagnation in year-to-year salary levels. Typically, yearly salaries averaged an increase of between 2% and 4%, however the past three years exhibited a sharp rise at around 10% growth from year-to-year.
Some firms went one step further in 2024, reducing consultants’ potential earnings through performance bonuses. For example, McKinsey reduced the cap on performance bonuses for business masters graduates from $30k to $18k in 2024.
When taking into account widespread economic inflation, this meant that across the industry newly hired consultants’ purchasing power was lower in 2024 than in previous years.
While the Big Three consulting firms and various divisions of the Big Four professional services firms—Deloitte, KPMG, PwC, EY—all kept salary levels the same, there were some exceptions among the many boutique consulting firms that operate across the industry.
OC&C Strategy Consultants increased MBA starting salaries by $5k, offering new hires a base compensation of $180k. Likewise, The Chartis Group increased salaries from $160k to $166,400 in 2024. New hires at IBM Global Business Consulting saw their salaries $5k higher than those who joined in the previous year, at $165k.
News of stagnating salary levels followed a series of similar moves within the consulting industry indicating that top firms were responding to external pressures.
A decrease in demand for consultancy services in 2023 coincided with economic challenges due to high inflation rates. Likewise, firms’ rate of attrition—the number of staff resigning to take on roles elsewhere—also decreased.
Firms responded in several ways: in late 2023, PwC announced a series of job cuts, this followed a similar announcements from Deloitte that indicated many graduate roles at the firm were under threat of redundancy. EY also announced staff and pay cuts for UK-based employees.
The Big Three firms revealed their plans to freeze starting salaries in November of 2023.