The industry, which is the most popular post-study sector for business school students, has suffered due to a combination of depressed economic growth, reduced deal making activity, and a looming general election set to take place over the coming year.
As a result, the Big Three and other top consultancies including the likes of Accenture, EY, PwC, KPMG, and Deloitte all posted fewer vacancies over the course of 2023, according to data from Vacancysoft, which records annual labor market analytics.
Combined, Bain, McKinsey, BCG, and Accenture advertised for 248 jobs in 2023, more than 1,000 less than the previous year when vacancies numbered 1,389. In 2021, the number of McKinsey, Bain, and BCG jobs were even higher at 1,764.
KPMG, PwC, Deloitte, and EY—known as the Big Four accounting and professional services firms—also reported a similar decrease in job opportunities within the UK. While in 2021, the number of postings amounted to more than 10,000, that number fell to just 2,767 in 2023.
The news is indicative of a turbulent period for the consulting sector. Recently, it was revealed that McKinsey, Deloitte, and the majority of the top consultancies that employ MBA and business masters grads each year were freezing starting salaries for new hires.
The annual Consulting Salaries Report published by Management Consulted found that year-to-year salaries across the sector had stagnated for just the second time in 16 years.
Along with pausing hiring and freezing salaries, some firms have taken measures to cut costs. In August 2023 EY announced staff & pay cuts for UK consulting employees, while Deloitte also postponed the start dates for new MBA recruits.
These measures are due to a variety of factors, including a decrease in demand for consultancy services that coincided with economic challenges due to high inflation rates and fewer staff resigning to take on roles elsewhere.