The fourth 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 29 categories.
The results are based on two Statista surveys — one giving feedback from clients and the other of consultants evaluating their peers. Consultancies are awarded gold, silver and bronze ratings according to how often they are recommended, and listed in alphabetical order within those bands (see methodology, after the tables). A total of 213 consultancies are listed this year.
Methodology and notes
Along with classic management consulting firms, IT consultancies, advisory branches of auditing firms and consultancy branches of technology companies were eligible.
The list of consultancies is based on two surveys; one among peers (partners and executives from the 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 1,600 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 of 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 5,100 partners and executives of UK management consultancies.
Invitations to the survey were sent via an email containing a personalised link. The field period ran from July 20 to August 30 2020. As in previous years, partners and executives could make recommendations in 15 sectors and 14 consulting services. 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 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 7-20.
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 requested to recommend firms by using the autofill list or adding names. The respondents were given a list of recommended consultancies for evaluation for each sector or consulting service they had specified. The quality of the firms was surveyed 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. Reputation is typically built over several years and this list aims to reflect that longevity. Therefore, last year’s results were also taken into account, but were attributed a low weighting.
In each sector and consulting service, firms were sorted according to the number of recommendations minus negative evaluations. The groups were placed in the classes below, based on the average number of recommendations in that sector or consulting service:
• Consultancies 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 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 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 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.
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