Partner Sites

Logo BusinessBecause - The business school voice
mobile search icon

BCG, McKinsey & 25 Top Consulting Firms With The Highest Salaries

Want a big consultant salary? From BCG to McKinsey, we highlight the highest-paying consulting companies from the Vault list of top consulting firms

Fri Feb 17 2023

One of the biggest attractions of working in the management consulting industry is the tasty compensation: consultant salary, bonuses, equity and other perks like health insurance. But which firms have the highest paid consultants? 

Each year, Vault produces a ranking of the best consulting firms to work for. The Vault consulting ranking is based on surveys of current employees. The main factors are prestige, firm culture, satisfaction, compensation, work-life balance and level of challenge. Vault also breaks down each metric into a separate ranking. 

Highest-paying consulting firms

The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) loses its spot in the Vault ranking as the best consulting firm by compensation in 2023 as ghSMART, a boutique firm based in Chicago with just 125 employees, rise to the top. 

ghSMART is owned entirely by its employees, insiders highlight that their competitive salaries are bolstered by additional pay for overtime.

“Best: the more you work, the more you earn. Worst: if you're financially motivated, it can lead to overworking yourself," one employee told Vault.

Team members get the opportunity to buy company stock, and ghSMART consultants note the company’s flexibility, which includes ‘unlimited vacation.’  But despite the various benefits, the firm’s small size can limit the ability to invest in...


BCG is the second best consulting firm for compensation. It leads fellow Big Three firm, Bain & Company in third. The Big Three firms increased consultant salaries this year

BCG consultants say the firm leads the industry with generous packages and a transparent pay scheme, with employees aware of their pay structure and how it compares with their colleagues’ salary. 

One anonymous employee says: "An average performer can make a considerable amount in bonuses, and the incentives are even greater for a top performer.”

Despite the firm’s strong compensation performance, BCG fell behind Bain in the overall ranking for 2023. 

Bain, the overall winner of the Vault ranking in 2023, ranks as the third highest paying consulting firm. Kenway Consulting, a firm specializing in technology advisory services places fourth, ahead of MBB firm, McKinsey. 

McKinsey employees were the fourth highest paid consultants in the industry last year and rose from eighth place in 2021.

Along with BCG, McKinsey and Bain offer their MBA hires total compensation packages amounting to more than $240k, making them some of the highest paid consultants in the industry. 

READ: What's It Like Being A BCG Consultant? 

e111f891706eadce39b1db8afdfd7cef981f5f62.png ©BCG

Highest paid consultants often at smaller, boutique firms  

After the Big Three, a range of boutique consulting firms and specialist healthcare consultancies comprise the top places in the Vault compensation ranking. This means you have a variety of options available in the lucrative consulting industry if you want to earn a substantial sum. 

DayBlink Consulting, an operations-led consultancy based in Washington DC, places sixth in the ranking. With fewer than 100 employees—the Big Three employ tens of thousands—DayBlink recently shifted to focus on its high-impact sectors that attract the greatest profit margins. 

Strategy consulting boutique, The Cambridge Group, places seventh, while cconomic and financial analysis advisory, Cornerstone Research, places eighth. A Cornerstone employee hailed the company's bonus scheme. 

"[Cornerstone] Recently added a bonus for consistently working above target hours for an extended period of time. 401k match and medical/dental/vision coverage are solid,” they told Vault. 

Larger global firms like Roland Berger and EY-Parthenon, both of whom employ over 1000 people, also feature among the top 10. 

EY-Parthenon—the consulting arm of accounting and professional services conglomerate, EY—has risen up the compensation rankings in recent years. It ranked 13th last year and failed to make the top-25 in 2021. EY-Parthenon ranks as the fourth best consulting firm to work for in the overall Vault ranking. 

Other large firms such as Kearney and LEK Consulting fail to make the top 20 for compensation, ranking 24th and 25th respectively. 

The high compensation on offer at smaller or boutique firms reflects the fact that there are more opportunities to get stuck into client facing work and learn from senior consultants, rising quickly in an organization with a flatter structure. With fewer partners, fatter profits may be shared among equity owners. 

It may also reflect the fact that smaller firms know that to compete with the likes of Bain, BCG, or McKinsey for talent, they need to offer something to new hires that makes them stand out. 

It may be a winning formula with MBAs, who command high pay to reflect the high cost of their degree. The larger firms may need to dig a little deeper into their pockets to continue attracting the best and the brightest from business schools.

Ranking: Highest Paying Consulting Firms 

Next Read:

Bain, BCG, McKinsey: How To Get Hired By The Big Three Consulting Firms

This article was originally written by Seb Murray. Updated in 2023