Drilling down into the Consulting Industry in Europe

Published on Sep 19, 2023

Written by Mariana Marques


In times of rapid change - be it technological, financial, or even workforce transformation  - Consulting firms are the first to hold businesses’ hands (and to charge a hefty fee for it). According to Consultancy.eu, the European consultancy sector is the second biggest market in the world after North America, accounting for $45 billion (29%) of the $161 billion global value. Not only this but the European continent is home to the four biggest consultancy firms on the planet, with Deloitte, EY, and PwC all being headquartered in London, and KPMG headquartered in both London and Amstelveen in the Netherlands.

These companies cover all kinds of areas of expertise, from digital transformation to risk management and mergers and acquisitions (to name just a few). We know the services they offer - but what skills do they request from their staff? And what roles are they looking to fill?

Lightcast recently shared a brand new European Skills Transformation Index , which comprises the latest trends in employer demand for roles and skills across different industries in Europe. In this article, we analyse the Consulting sector to provide you with detailed insights into top employers, occupations, and skills within this sector. 

Top Consulting recruiters in Europe

Because the Consulting market is largely dominated by a few key multinationals, we included some of the top players in our research too, despite not being headquartered in Europe. These are Boston Consulting Group, or BCG, (Boston, US), and CGI (Montreal, Canada). 

However, if asked to name the top consultancies in Europe, one term will probably pop into your head: The Big 4. Deloitte, EY, KPMG, and PwC are indeed some of the largest consultancies in the world, each employing between a quarter to half a million people. And their recruitment figures go in line with their size. The most active recruiter in Europe was PwC, accounting for (pun intended) 16.1% of all job postings advertised by the top 10 Consulting recruiters in Europe. 

Other consultancies weren’t, however, far behind. KPMG and Capgemini shared the podium for second place, with a share of 15.3%. All the Big 4 made it to the top of our list: EY was the third biggest recruiter, with 14.9%, and Deloitte took fourth place, with 13.9%. Almost half of the top 10 Consulting recruiters are headquartered in London: Deloitte, PwC, EY, and McKinsey. 

At the bottom of the list there was McKinsey, taking only a 1% share of all job postings posted by these top 10 recruiters. BearingPoint and Boston Consulting Group were also low, with a 1.5% and 1.6% share, respectively. McKinsey, which is known to have slowed down hiring of back-office staff recently, has announced earlier this year that it plans to cut up to 2,000 back-office jobs - though locations haven’t been specified. 

Top Consulting roles

Management and Organisational Analysts and System Analysts were both present in the top 10 most advertised roles across all the top 10 consultancies in 2022. Two other occupations that were widely popular were Advertising & Marketing Professionals and Software Developers, present in 9 out of the 10 companies’ most in-demand occupations list (the exception is Capgemini and McKinsey, respectively). 

PwC’s most in-demand occupation was Accountants, present in 9.9% of its job postings, which goes in line with the focus of the company. More surprisingly, the most sought-after occupation for McKinsey was actually Advertising and Marketing Professionals, which made up 6.9% of its job postings. 

And there are other interesting occupations in the mix too. For instance, Lawyers made it into the top 10 for both EY and PwC, accounting for 2.7% and 2.6% respectively of their advertised jobs.  Meanwhile, System Administrators were exclusively on Capgemini’s list, while CGI was the only company highly seeking Database Designers & Administrators in 2022. 

Each company uses its own terminology to define job titles despite the experience and skills requirements being potentially similar. This shows the importance of taxonomies such as the Lightcast Occupations Taxonomy, which normalises job titles and makes it easier to analyse labour market trends. 

Top skills Consulting firms look for when hiring Consulting Analysts

The Consultancy sector is notoriously complex, partly because there are so many different segments, from strategy to management; from operations to financial advisory; from HR to IT. To give you a sense of how our data can help identify very specific skills requirements for different companies, we looked at the occupation Consulting Analysts to compare the top 20 skills requested by the top 10 firms active in Europe. 

Deloitte’s most sought after skill was auditing, appearing in a hefty 34.1% of its job postings for Consulting Analysts. However, Accenture, BCG and McKinsey weren’t on the lookout for auditing - with this skill showing in 0% of their job postings. Even for the remaining consultancies we studied, the frequency of auditing skills mentions for most is surprisingly low.

There are other skills that are emphasised much more in some companies than others. For instance, EY showed a strong focus on financial services, with this skill being present in 25.7% of its job postings, yet the average share of job postings from the ten companies seeking this skill was only 7.8%. KPMG’s most sought-after skill was Economics, present in 34.2% of its job postings, yet the average share of this skill was only 12.6% 

CGI placed a big emphasis on digital transformation, requiring this skill in 42.5% of its postings, whereas McKinsey did not look for digital transformation skills when hiring Consulting Analysts in 2022 at all. Financial services and auditing were two other skills McKinsey didn’t seem to be interested in for this role last year, as they were present in 0% of the company’s job postings.  

Get more European data 

The Consulting industry is gigantic, and despite its famous competitiveness, it seems like each Consulting company has a unique set of occupations and skills requirements. Diving into our European data, you can spot the latest skills trends not just per region but per employer too, and start your journey of introducing a skills-based approach to your workforce planning.

If you’ve enjoyed this industry deep dive, we have good news: Lightcast European data can help you analyse any industry, occupation, or even skills trend in Europe. And not just across Europe as a whole. We've also just released a similar skills index for the DACH countries (Germany, Austria and Switzerland), which amongst other things looks at Consulting firms headquartered in that region

As an educational institution, our labour market data can help you understand the most in-demand skills across industries, and adapt and market your portfolio so that your students are fully equipped to meet employer demand. 

Similarly, as a talent leader, our data can help you do benchmarking against competitors, understand what skills your company should be hiring for, or even where to find the best talent. Lastly, governmental agencies can share these insights to consult the private or public sector and support the economical development of their region. 

If you have any questions or would like to find out more about how our data can help you unlock opportunities and solve labour market challenges, get in touch with our team below. 

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