Recruiting current and former consultants
UK insights 2022

Basic salary progression
by company type

Basic salaries vary by company type

Tech (+6%) and Investing (+14%) consistently pay above the average. While Start-ups (-17%), and the 3rd sector (-27%) pay consistently below.

Traditional industries (-6%) pay lower salaries than Tech firms (+6%), although this difference narrows at Director level.

£k  Average salary by industry and seniority

Average salary per seniority




Associate level pay rises

The war for talent is most evident at Associate level

Associate level basic salaries have increased 36% in 3 years, however, basic salaries at senior levels have stayed more consistent.


Increase in associate level base salaries

Years of experience

Basic salaries climb steadily in line with the number of years of experience.

2-5 Years

6-10 Years

11-15 Years

16-20 Years

21+ Years

Consultants with McKinsey, Bain or BCG experience command, on average, an 18% basic salary premium.


Salary premium:

McKinsey, Bain, BCG Consultants

Industry deep dive Index

Functional basic salary variance compared to the overall average

Functional salary increase

As seniority progresses, the variance between basic salaries in different functions increases from ~12% at Associate level to ~30% at Director.

Functional pay index

Total compensation breakdown

Across all company types, non-cash compensation (bonus & equity) becomes more important as seniority increases.

Start-ups offer the highest level of equity at most seniority levels, while the high bonuses provided by Private Equity mean that the share of base salaries as a percentage of total compensation is lowest in these companies.


% Breakdown of total compensation by company type

Pay rises and satisfaction

The average basic salary increase in the last 12 months was 10%.

Pay rises across consulting, investing, startups and tech have been extremely similar and outpacing both traditional industries and the 3rd sector.










Traditional Industry


Government, Charity, Social


Average salary increase (last 12 months)

Satisfaction with compensation

Consulting firms remain the lowest in satisfaction scores and have fallen 4% in the last 2 years.

Manager level satisfaction with compensation dips strongly (vs other levels) in Consulting and Corporates whereas in Startups and Private Equity it climbs with seniority.

Work-life balance

Working hours

While staying largely flat in startups (+1%) and corporates (-2%), working hours have improved in consulting (-7%) & investing (-12%) within the last 2 years.

This improvement was most notable at the Associate level in consulting (-10%).

Satisfaction with working hours

Consulting firms remain the lowest, however, satisfaction has improved 14% in the last 2 years.

Manager level satisfaction with compensation dips strongly (vs other levels) in Consulting and Corporates whereas in Startups & Private Equity it climbs with seniority.

Overall satisfaction


Job satisfaction overall is broadly flat vs 2020

Consulting firms notably below average (-7%) and startups (+9%) & 3rd sector organisations (+8%) notably above.

Overall job satisfaction by seniority – out of 10




Overall total

New job search

People working in consulting and the 3rd sector are the most active job seekers. 

50% of respondents were looking at new opportunities on a weekly or monthly basis.

Breakdown of candidate job search activity


Not Looking


Passively Looking




Actively Applying

Job satisfaction
freelance V consulting


People working in consulting are less satisfied than freelancers overall by 14%.



Less satisfied working In consulting overall


Less satisfied with compensation


Less satisfied with working hours

Freelancers are happiest overall

Overall satisfaction for permanent employees in corporates (including satisfaction with hours) is broadly similar to freelancers, however, satisfaction with compensation is ~10% lower.


Freelance day rates

The average freelance day rate is approximately equal to dividing the average permanent basic salary by 110.


Freelance day rates are dictated by a range of factors: project length, working hours per day required, client type, client budget and rarity of expertise being offered.

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