The fifth annual FT rating of the UK’s leading management consultants is based on recommendations by their clients and peers. Compiled with Statista, the data company, it assesses consultants’ work in 15 sectors and for 14 types of specialist work. Additionally, consulting networks were rated for the first time.
The results are based on two Statista surveys — one giving feedback from clients and the other of consultants evaluating their peers. Gold, silver and bronze ratings are awarded to firms and networks in different categories according to how often they are recommended.
A total of 194 consultancies are included this year, receiving a total of 728 ratings across 29 different industries and consulting services. The methodology (after the tables) explains how the ratings were worked out.
Methodology and notes
Mainstream management consulting firms, IT consultancies, advisory branches of auditing firms, the consultancy branches of technology companies, and consulting networks were eligible.
The list of consultancies is based on two surveys; one among peers (partners and executives from other consultancies) and another among clients. Both surveys were conducted online by Statista.
Building on last year’s methodology, the longlist was expanded to more than 1,700 firms and used as a basis for the latest survey among peers. To update the longlist, Statista used recommendations from previous years and the following sources: lists from associations (eg Management Consultancies Association), consulting directories (eg Consultingcase101) and company databases (eg Orbis). The list of management consulting partners and executives was compiled using research conducted mainly on firms’ websites. It was also possible to register for the survey on ft.com. The sample included 5,200 partners and executives of UK firms.
Invitations to the survey were sent via an email containing a personalised link. The field research period ran from July 19 to August 27 2021. As in previous years, partners and executives could make recommendations in 15 sectors and for 14 consulting services. They could also recommend consulting networks. Respondents were also given the opportunity to name consultancies they would refrain from recommending.
An autocomplete function was available to assist in selecting a consultancy or network and respondents were also able to recommend any consultancy which did not appear in the autocomplete list, or add a negative evaluation. A score was given to each firm based on the number of positive and negative recommendations they received in each sector and consulting service. Self-recommendations were excluded.
An online survey was then conducted among about 1,000 senior executives who have used management consultancies, recruited through an online access panel. The field phase lasted from September 9-27. Respondents were asked to indicate the sectors or consulting services in which they had collaborated with a management consultancy in the past four years. They were asked to recommend firms by using the autofill list or adding names. For each sector or consulting service they specified, the respondents were given a list of recommended consultancies for evaluation. The quality of the firms and networks was scored using a five-point scale (very good to very poor). The evaluations “very good”, “good” and “acceptable” counted as recommendations (“very good” counted as one recommendation, “good” and “acceptable” carried a lower weight). The evaluations “poor” and “very poor” counted against consultancies and networks. Reputation is typically built over several years and this list aims to reflect that longevity. Therefore, last year’s results were taken into account, attributed a low weighting.
In each sector and consulting service, firms were sorted according to the number of recommendations (taking into account a reduction for negative evaluations). The groups were placed in the classes below, based on the average number of recommendations in that sector or consulting service:
• Consultancies and networks that received well above the average number of recommendations were sorted into the gold class, “very frequently recommended”. The number of recommendations was at least two times larger than the average for each sector or consulting service.
• Firms and networks that received fewer recommendations but were still clearly above average, were sorted into the silver class, “frequently recommended”. The number of recommendations was less than double, but more than the average for each sector or consulting service.
• Firms and networks that still received a significant number of recommendations from peers and clients, were sorted into the bronze class, “recommended”, within their industry or sector.
• Firms and networks with an insufficient number of recommendations were excluded. Consultancies are sorted alphabetically in each class.
The ranking comprises firms with a sufficient number of recommendations; a mention is positive and is a vote of confidence from the market. The ranking was created through a complex process. The quality of consultancies not included is not disputed.