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  Despite all the rebrandings, changes in ownership and new entrants that have hit the consulting market in the last two years, McKinsey remains the number one choice of consultancy employer.
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The leader amongst strategy consultancies not only retained the #1 spot in a recent candidate vote, but amassed more votes than rivals BCG, Bain and Booz Allen Hamilton combined.

Other “winners” to emerge from the poll included PA Consulting – having overtaken rivals Capgemini and Deloitte – and accounting and business advisory firm Ernst & Young, who have re-emerged as an employer of choice having sold their consulting arm to Capgemini several years ago.

The findings come from a poll of 750 management consultancy candidates conducted in May 2004 by and Prism Executive Recruitment. More interesting than the outright firm ratings are the criteria that candidates revealed they consider most important when choosing which management consultancy to join. Overwhelmingly, candidates considered the quality of work & clients a firm could offer as the single most important decision criteria, ahead of career progression potential and salary. This in part explains the strong performance of McKinsey in the overall vote, but also gives hope to many less renowned firms – who can potentially attract consultants away from competitors if they can just convince candidates that their firm has a fantastic portfolio of client assignments and can offer top quartile career progression prospects.

Training & Personal Development also scored surprisingly highly and as something that firms do not typically stress when seeking to attract new blood was a particularly interesting result. A further finding – not apparent from these charts – is that candidates’ criteria have changed remarkably little in the last two years, in the time since this poll was last run. If candidate perceptions have changed so little during a time of such upheaval in the consulting market, it seems probable that these perceptions will hold firm as the upturn in the consulting market gathers pace and the war for talent accelerates. So quality of assignments is king, and proving this is what your firm can offer could hold the key to increasing the success of your next recruitment campaigns.
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