If you're working 80 hour weeks in the investment banking division (IBD) of a major U.S. bank, chances are that you've toyed with moving into a consulting firm instead. After all, consultants are generally held to offer a better lifestyle than banks. When we spoke to various junior bankers who'd moved to the so-called MBB consulting firms of McKinsey & Co, Bain and Boston Consulting - last month, they almost all assured us that they were having a better time of it.
However, there's a downside to moving into consulting: pay. The average consultant earns less than the average banker. And the average partner in a consulting firm earns less than average managing director in an investment bank. This applies as much to firms like Boston Consulting Group as to consultants at Big Four firms like PWC.
Boston Consulting Group has just released the results for its UK-based partnership for the year ending March 31st 2017. They show the average of its nearly 700 UK-based employees earning £101k ($133k). The average of its 56 UK partners earned £1.1m. Both numbers were consistent with the previous year.
While these are big numbers, banks' numbers are - needless to say - bigger still. Goldman Sachs International pays its average UK employee £320k. It pays its average member of UK code staff (typically senior managers and significant risk takers) around £2m, while J.P. Morgan pays its code staff an average of around £1.3m.
BCG's results also highlight the advantage of working for a consulting firm though: most of your pay is cash. Just 6% of 2017 compensation at the firm was deferred.
The pay figures don't include wages paid to "outsourced consultancy" staff from other BCG Group companies who came to work in the UK during the year.
For bankers happy to accept a flatter pay trajectory, the good news is that BCG is hiring. UK headcount rose nearly 30% last year to 692 people as the firm added 98 new consultants and 72 new administrative staff.
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