McKinsey, BCG, and Bain Raise New Hire Pay in Search for Talent

Top global consultancies are set to increase their starting pay again, as part of a push to attract and retain top talent in an increasingly competitive hiring market, according to Financial Review.

The three top firms in global consulting—Bain & Company, McKinsey, and Boston Consulting Group, have historically paid some of the highest starting salaries to new MBA graduates, and are preparing to push those numbers even higher for the upcoming recruiting season as they compete for a limited pool of candidates.

The three firms, which do not typically disclose their pay scales to the public, are planning to increase annual base salaries for newly-minted MBA graduates in the U.S. from $175,000 to between $190,000 and $192,000, according to sources familiar with the situation. Those at the top of the class can expect first-year salaries of up to $250,000 after performance-related and signing bonuses.

As the global COVID-19 pandemic continues to recede, consultancies are seeing a boom in business as companies aggressively pursue efforts toward digital transformation and environmental, social, and governance (ESG) goals. According to research by Source Global, one in five firms has had to turn down paying work because they lacked staff with the necessary skills, putting further pressure on hiring managers to bring in top talent. Corporate law firms and major Wall Street banks have also been feeling the pinch, and have raised starting salaries in response to increasing pressure.

“The competition that we’re up against is broader than it’s ever been,” said Keith Bevans, Partner and Head of Consultant Recruiting at Bain & Company. “We’re meeting people on campus that are interested in big tech, they’re interested in other consulting firms, they’re thinking of starting their own companies or a search fund or they’re looking at going right into private equity.”

Companies worldwide have been revamping their pay and benefits in response to a growing trend of unhappy employees choosing to leave for greener pastures, with firms offering improved time off, greater support, clear career growth, and work flexibility along with increased pay. While the economic situation appears choppy, many firms are continuing to hire with the long term in mind as they prepare for a hoped-for economic rebound.