Top 10 consulting firms for Australian graduates in 2018

29 July 2018 7 min. read

The Big Four consulting and accounting firms – EY, PwC, KPMG & Deloitte – were all rated in the top 5 of the Australian Financial Review’s Top 100 Graduate Employers in 2018. All are renowned for their company culture and positive impact initiatives as well as diversity and inclusion. Beyond the Big Four, Accenture, Protiviti, Capgemini, Bain & Company, Quantium and BDO were all considered among the most desirable employers for university graduates. 

The consulting industry is one of Australia’s most sought after places to work for Australian graduates and professionals alike. Life at a consulting firm can take employees through a range of different industries with projects spanning from digital business transition and e-commerce to sustainable development and Industry 4.0 strategy. 

The greatest draw card for graduates and young starters is the industry exposure and the network that a career with one of the big consulting firms brings. Stepping into a consulting firm takes recruits and embeds them within a world of business and the result is a rapid career development. 

On the other hand, life at any big firm has been known to take its toll on employees due to high work loads, pressure and a harsh work/life balance. This is a fact that every influential consulting firm is grappling with, and the majority have implemented strategies to boost employee satisfaction with company culture in recent years.

Creating a positive image of company culture is important for firms as they strive to attract and retain the brightest talent. The talent race has seen an overwhelming number of campaigns both internally and externally to demonstrate solid human resources practices, positive corporate social responsibility programs and social initiatives.

Top 10 consulting firms for Australian graduates in 2018

The consulting industry itself inherently relies on change and progress. Thus, consulting firms themselves are naturally ahead of the game when it comes to these types of initiatives. From flexible working and co-working office spaces to sustainability, inclusion and diversity initiatives, firms are appealing to millennials and graduates in creative yet meaningful ways.

Top consulting firms for Australian graduates

The most successful firms at attracting talent go on to breed an air of innovation and cooperation in the workplace and in turn attract the next round of graduates. The victorious this year are – in the order that they appeared on the Top 100 Graduate Employers list in 2018:

Winning the hearts and minds of graduate students for 2018, PwC in Australia forms part of the company’s global network of firms with a total head-count of more than 223,000 employees worldwide. For those graduates looking to join their ranks in Australia, PwC’s local director of talent acquisition, Julie Duncan, says the firm looks “for skills that are the most critical to our future as a business. Those skills include critical thinking, creative problem solving, communication skills, creativity, innovation and an ability to collaborate.”

The perennial contender for the most desired graduate employer title, and this year’s bridesmaid in second, KPMG nevertheless achieved a 5% engagement rate according to the graduate application data, to finish neck-and-neck with PwC. Like PwC and Deloitte, the firm makes a point of its diversity in recruitment, stating; “Our graduates and students are our future leaders, that is why we do not put parameters on qualifications or degree disciplines - we are open to all bright minds.”

Number 3 on the list goes to Deloitte in Australia. The consulting firm employs some 7000 professionals (of the network’s approximately one quarter of a million employees worldwide), operating across 15 regional offices including locales in Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, and Timor-Leste, while generating revenues of over A$1.75 billion last financial year – at +15%, the third consecutive year of double-digit growth for the firm’s local arm. In 2017, the firm promoted 61 new partners, and welcomed a further 45 who joined through lateral channels, bringing the total to more than 700 across its local network.

The last of the Big Four firms in EY has slowly crept its way up the list over the years, from seventh in 2015 and 2016, to sixth last year, and now climbing into the top-five for the first time in 2018. With a branch in each of Australia’s mainland capital cities, including Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Darwin, Canberra and Perth, the local arm of EY’s operations contribute to its 700 offices worldwide – with its global number of employees fast closing in on the quarter of million mark.

With a headcount of over 425,000 serving in more than 120 countries, Accenture is one of the world’s largest private employers. As of 2016, more than 3,700 of those global employees were based at one of the firm’s five Australian offices, engaging with the eight-out-of-ten largest companies in Australia by revenue which Accenture counts among its clientele – perhaps not unexpected when the firm provides a range of professional services across 40 unique sectors.

Crashing into the top-ten on this year’s list from 20th place last year was mid-tier consultancy movers Protiviti, a fraction of the size of Accenture with a global workforce of 4,500 but nearly as popular as a potential employer at two spots below in ninth. And similar to Accenture, Protiviti, which operates across numerous sectors including energy & utilities, healthcare, technology, media & communications, and financial services, has a focus on adaptivity and resilience in recruitment.

Also jumping up the list, and as a return to the consulting behemoths, was the strategy, operations and tech services firm Capgemini, which boasts a global workforce in excess of 200,000 across 40-plus countries and pulled in revenues upwards of €12.8 billion last year. Also last year, in its fiftieth year of operations, the firm hired 53,784 new faces across its global network, and 40% of its recruits in 2016 were fresh graduates.

Bain & Company
Launching in Australia in 1989 with a founding office in Sydney to serve the Asia Pacific, the Australian arm of global strategy and management firm Bain & Company has since added locations in Melbourne and Perth, with its 250+ employees serving businesses in Australia, New Zealand and beyond across multiple industries including those in the healthcare, energy and resources, transportation, consumer goods, technology, and financial services sectors.

Quantium is the only Australian-made firm that made the list this year. Founded in Australia in 2002, the information technology and professional services firm has grown to have seven offices located in Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, the United States and India. The firm’s 500+ employees work across a broad range of sectors including retail, media, property, banking and insurance.  

Rounding out the top 10 consulting firm’s this year is BDO, the world’s fifth largest accountancy and business advisory firm providing professional services within Australia and worldwide. The firm opened its doors in Australia in 1975 and today has a presence in each capital city around the country. Over 1,500 professionals work at BDO throughout Australia.