Like me, some of you may have read the 2017 Best Places to Work report recently released by Glassdoor. What interested me most, was the high ranking that management consultancies achieved with Bain & Company taking top honours and Boston Consulting Group 3rd place.

And whilst theses rankings may refer to the United States, the majority of the companies listed in this report also operate and have a presence in South Africa.  We live and work in a globally competitive community.  Any experience gained within these mentioned firms would benefit you greatly.

Competition for Skills is Fierce

Skilled individuals have choice and are increasingly more particular about the companies they work for, including the type of working environment and the employment conditions offered. It is for this reason that many organisations now employ full-time resources to develop, manage and improve Employer Brand. Of course, branding is one thing but the proof will be in what it’s really like to work inside the organisation and this is how Glassdoor conducts its research and comes out with its Best Places to Work rankings each year.

Breadth of exposure likely reason for Consultancies’ high rankings

In the States, consultancies are key.  Bain & Company tops the list of best large companies to work for according to members of Glassdoor.  There sustainability is borne out by the fact they have enjoyed a top 5 ranking since 2009. Bain has a presence in SA and has done for many years.  They hire exceptional performers who gain exposure to top / key decision makers within corporates.  This learning and exposure does however come with some personal sacrifice in terms of hours spent on project and unpredictable travel to clients.

Boston Consulting Group was in 3rd place in the US, with reviews highlighting the management consultancy as a workplace where employees learn a lot over a short period of time. BCG also has presence locally and the fast learning environment is mirrored in South Africa too.

McKinsey & Company placed 11th in 2017 but has featured in the top 15 since 2009, finishing second in 2012 and 2013. Glassdoor members highlighted the company because of its smart people, best projects and incredible internal support staff. The organisation’s commitment to working to a set of values rather than onerous rules is seen as an enormous advantage but, like many of its consultancy peers, the extensive travel and long hours expected of consultants does provide a trade-off.

A springboard for success

It goes without saying that time spent in Management Consulting sets you up for success later in your career.  I have specialised within the industry for the last 18 years and have evidenced the amazing career journeys of some of South Africa’s smartest management consultants.  Some placed into roles with the leading firms early in their careers are now CEOs of major SA and International brands.

The consulting sector attracts top quality graduates who are put through their paces during recruitment and selection to ensure that only the best and brightest join colleagues of the same calibre. If you are lucky enough to join a consulting firm in SA you will benefit from:

  1. Working with incredibly like-minded, smart people

  2. Future sponsored MBAs

  3. Excellent benefits

  4. Exceptional learning opportunities

  5. Huge variety of projects to work on and clients to meet

  6. Great exposure to senior clients presents development opportunities not usually found within a banking or engineering environment

  7. Early empowerment, being entrusted with responsibility and tasked to work with senior client representatives

  8. Management consulting will equip you with a brilliant toolkit of business and management skills you will develop

  9. Satisfaction from seeing development and completion of interesting and impactful projects

  10. Access to excellent career opportunities outside of consulting

Shifting focus

In South Africa the top place to work rankings for 2017 still revolve mainly around Audit firms and engineering companies. Correspondingly, individuals who achieve CA (SA) and engineering qualifications are in highest demand. As more traditional career paths become disrupted and businesses start to align globally, we will begin to shift locally in our perceptions of the best places to work.

 Please follow me as I begin a dedicated month of blogs focused on the management consulting sector.