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Deloitte Gets Big 4 Bragging Rights In 2020 Vault Consulting 50

For the fifth consecutive year, Deloitte Consulting has been ranked the fourth-best consulting firm in the United States (although the governor of Rhode Island might beg to differ), according to the latest Vault Consulting 50.

So once again, Green Dotters of the consulting variety have bragging rights over P. Dubsteppers, Uncle Ernie’s nieces and nephews, and Klynveldians.

Based on the results of a survey sent to consultants, Vault uses the following weighted formula to put together its annual ranking:

  • 30% prestige
  • 15% firm culture
  • 15% satisfaction
  • 10% compensation
  • 10% work/life balance
  • 10% level of challenge
  • 5% overall business outlook
  • 5% promotion policies

The Big 4’s rankings on the 2020 Vault Consulting 50 are pretty respectable, with each one taking up residence in the top 15, and three placing in the top 10:

  1. McKinsey & Co.
  2. The Boston Consulting Group
  3. Bain & Company
  4. Deloitte Consulting LLP
  5. Oliver Wyman
  6. Booz Allen Hamilton
  7. EY-Parthenon
  8. PwC Advisory Services
  9. A.T. Kearney
  10. GE Healthcare Partners
  11. Accenture
  12. Putnam Associates
  13. ClearView Healthcare Partners
  14. KPMG LLP (Advisory)
  15. The Bridgespan Group

In addition, Strategy&, PwC’s global strategy consulting business with the unfinished name, sits at No. 16 on Vault’s list.

The Big 4’s rankings didn’t change much at all in 2020 compared to the 2019 Vault Consulting 50. The only change was KPMG dropping two spots from No. 12 in 2019 to No. 14 in 2020.

It’s always fun to look at the firms’ one-star or two-star employee reviews on Vault because, let’s face it, they are more entertaining than the good reviews. As the great Dark Helmet said in Spaceballs:







Here are a few 2019 reviews from some unsatisfied KPMGers. The first said the best thing about the firm is “you don’t have to pay back your signing bonus if you make it a year.”


everything besides the signing bonus

Advice to Candidates

Choose any other firm if you are interested in doing consulting.

This person had quite a list of grievances:


* Despite a constant barrage of diversity initiatives, I’ve seen people treat others at KPMG really, really, poorly

* Directors promoted because of sales not leadership

* Working loan staff engagements and not developing consulting skills

* Training provided is KPMG-oriented training — not industry or skill oriented; having to share a hotel room for KPMG training

* Getting home on 11 PM on Friday just to fly again Sunday night

* Just about everything promised me in my interview was a lie. Including salary when you consider how many costs you have to eat yourself and pay income tax to multiple cities and states. You lose money working at KPMG Advisory

* You’re supposed to build a network but you cannot take advantage of office activities because you’re on the road all the time. You’ll get pictures of the company ski trip in your email, invites to concerts/sporting events in the company suite, invites to training, invites for volunteer days, college recruiting, happy hours, parties, etc. FORGET ABOUT ANY OF THAT. You’re on the road 100% of the time!

* Goals which are not attainable and therefore you’ll get screwed on your bonus

Advice to Candidates

I think Tax and Audit x(other than busy season) are fine as they have an office culture and therefore different than Advisory. Advisory feels like it’s “bolted on” to KPMG. As such, there’s no clear vision, leadership, etc. I have zero idea on where my service line is going… they just chase work and it’s very reactionary rather than having a strategy.

But for some reason, the KPMG name has cachet and I’ll ride this out for a few more months until my resume doesn’t look like I’m a job hopper.

If you’re fresh out of college by all means, travel, see the country/world… and try to have fun when you can (60-80 hour weeks and working in the hotel after working at the client site makes that a challenge). Build your network and your resume.

If you are experienced/mid-career, married, have a kid, or have a dog, and want any kind of control over your life avoid KPMG advisory at all costs. You have been warned.

The amount of servitude KPMG expects from you is more than I even experienced in the military. At least my country is grateful for my service. KPMG will just eat you up and spit you out because the shelf-life of the average consultant is 18 months and there are (uninformed) people waiting in line to replace you.

Another Klynveldian titled their review “Chaotic circus.”

What are the cons to working at Deloitte Consulting? The usual stuff, according to this reviewer:


No work-life balance. Unreasonable requirements for on-site work even though there’s no seats for anyone, parking comes out of your own pocket, and the office locations are in hot spots where traffic converges and parking costs are very high. Beyond billable targets, there are “firm contribution” metrics and a culture of unhealthy competition for promotions that drive people to working around the clock to stay a step ahead of the next dog. Senior Managers and above duck and cover delegating all accountability onto Manager and below. Partners, principals and directors milk their relationships to capture projects, and then express frustration when the delivery team needs their time to support the launch – why can’t we just navigate the terms of the proposal and read their minds? Can’t we all see how busy they all are? (golf, lunch, spa). Exorbitant bill rates price Deloitte out of most compelling business and government challenges. Discounted bill rates result in grossly understaffed execution teams – 5 people doing the work that was proposed for 15. I don’t know how Deloitte ascended to #4 on this list… but I’m sure it cost them a pretty penny to skirt the Glass Door data. Even in Federal, they had an unreasonable policy against hiring anyone without a Bachelor’s degree – even those who were former honorable military with combat service, even when those people had Associates degree. They made these people join the firm on a separate Associate track where the raises and promotions were different and the terms of the employment related only to the one specific project for which they were hired. Project ends, you’re out of Deloitte.

Advice to Candidates

Great place to work as a Senior Manager, Director, Principal, or Partner. This fat group at the top of the pyramid enjoys wonderful, rewarding work autonomy on the backs of all the rest, who are ground down to pulp under the weight of their compensation structure.

And you’ll never believe this, but women are paid less than men at Deloitte!


For 4 years at the firm (2011-2014) I made the highest possible performance ratings (I worked my butt off). Then I found out that despite my performance, I was being paid 25% less than men doing the same work. Men whom I was compared to for performance evaluations. Deloitte has a seriously biased compensation system and all the “pay for performance” talk is just that… all talk. The evaluation process and criteria for salary decisions is deliberately opaque. Women need to step forward and challenge the status quo.

Advice to Candidates

If you are female, do not let recruiters ask you about prior salary or even salary expectations! Say that you want to be paid what the job is worth, if you meet the qualifications to be hired.

PwCers also had gripes about working in advisory. This person titled their review “Bloodsucking, awful place.”




No work-life balance

Advice to Candidates

Look elsewhere if you have friends, family, hobbies or a significant other

And this person’s review had the title “PwC is a political snake den that will slowly crush your dreams. Seek exit asap.”


the leadership, the pay, the poor knowledge management

Advice to Candidates

Try to go to Deloitte or MBB or a boutique firm. Don’t end up here.

Believe it or not, there aren’t many bad employee reviews about working at EY-Parthenon, EY’s global strategy consulting business, other than “long hours” and “continued promotion of bad managers.” Shoot us an email, EY-Parthenon folks, on what your biggest gripes are.

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