Consulting firms among the top graduate employers in Singapore

28 August 2019 6 min. read

Professional services firm PwC is the third-most desired employer in Singapore among local university students and graduates according to an annual survey conducted by GTI Media Singapore. 

PwC Singapore has made the podium in the employment popularity stakes among local university students and graduates according to a survey of nearly 14,000 participants, with the professional services firm landing in at 3rd behind only IT giant Microsoft and the Singapore Ministry of Education. PwC also scooped the title in the Accountancy and Financial Management category, and achieved an impressive second-placing in the Consulting segment.

The number one spot for graduates interested in a consulting career meanwhile went to global giant McKinsey & Company, with PwC Singapore beating out McKinsey’s MBB rivals Boston Consulting Group and Bain – the latter which fell to fifth behind Deloitte despite Bain’s perennial placing at the top of employee satisfaction lists. McKinsey also finished in tenth spot overall, with Deloitte following in 14th ahead fellow Big Four firms EY and KPMG among the top thirty.

Conducted by by GTI Media Singapore among 13,874 predominantly Business/Management, Engineering, and IT and Technology students at 28 local universities and colleges, ‘good career prospects’ and ‘good employer leadership style’ were cited as among the top five most important factors for choosing an employer, together with personal development, being appreciated at work and friendly colleagues.

More than three quarters of respondents also stated that ethical and moral issues would play an important role in their choice of employer, with only 20 or so percent willing to work for a company with a bad image if the salary was a sufficient lure. Altogether two thirds of those surveyed were expecting starting salaries below $50,000, while nearly six in ten felt that career fulfillment was more important than earning a high salary.Singapore's 100 Leading Graduate Employers


With a headcount in excess of 3,000 and an average client-facing age of just 29, PwC is one of the largest graduate employers in Singapore – consistently noted for its young and vibrant team. Perhaps as a reflection, the firm has been at the forefront in developing a flexible workplace culture, including last year introducing an every-day casual dress code to go with policies for flexible workspaces and working schedules to aid employees with work/life balance.


With around 300 or so consultants currently based in its Singapore office, cracking a career at McKinsey will be a somewhat tougher assignment for the hopeful graduates who voted the prestigious management consultancy into tenth place overall. One of eight across Southeast Asia, McKinsey’s Singapore branch serves as a regional innovation hub, with the firm recently adding advanced analytics offering QuantumBlack to its existing Digital Capability Centre (DCC) and other local technology initiatives.


Contrary to its current global standing as the biggest of the Big Four, Deloitte Singapore – which welcomed Cheung Pui Yuen as its new country managing partner at the beginning of the year – is said to be the smallest by way of staff numbers. Nevertheless, it ranked at 14th on the list of most desired graduate employers, and like McKinsey, has made a significant investment into a number of local innovation centres. In 2017, the firm marked its 50th anniversary in Singapore.  


Hot on the heels of Deloitte was Big Four competitor Ernst & Young at 16th – which traces its local ancestry back to almost 130 years. EY’s Singapore branch has a headcount of roughly 2,800, overseen by Singapore managing partner Max Loh and recently-appointed Singapore-based regional managing partner Liew Nam Soon. In a similar global survey from employer branding consultancy Universum, EY was named the third-most attractive employer worldwide.  


Splitting the Big Four on the list was global tech-minded professional services giant Accenture – which is fast closing in on half a million employees worldwide. Placing at 24th on the list overall, Accenture also landed in 3rd in the survey’s IT and Technology category, behind only Microsoft and Amazon. Spanning six floors at the top of Raffles City Tower, Accenture recently renovated its Singapore office with a contemporary and flexible design.  


KPMG – sneaking into the top 30 at 29th – competes roughly with PwC in terms of local size, with around 2,900 employees in Singapore. Those employees were last year treated to a revamped 5,000 square foot KPMG Clubhouse in Downtown Singapore, featuring the latest in latest in digital technologies such as artificial intelligence, virtual reality and connected analytics. According to the firm, 77 percent of its new employees last year were aged under 30.

The order of the Big Four was consistent in the Accountancy and Financial Management category, with BDO – the world’s fifth largest network – next in line, followed by Baker Tilly, and then RSM and Grant Thornton behind surprise entry Shell. As to the Consulting category, the MBB and Big Four shared the first seven ranks, with Oliver Wyman and sister firm Mercer coming in next, while Bain & Company and BCG were the other major consultancies to make the top 100 overall.