Big names in management consulting among most desired Australian employers

03 April 2018 7 min. read

A number of big international names in the management consulting sector feature on the latest list of the most desired graduate employers in Australia, following closely behind the Big Four in professional services which nabbed four of the five top spots.

Assessed in reference to application data accrued by graduate employment website GradConnection, the Australian Financial Review’s Top 100 Graduate Employers list of the most popular companies in the nation has for the fourth straight year seen one of the Big Four accounting firms emerge on top, with PwC taking the crown from Deloitte to finish just ahead of inaugural winner KPMG and a fifth-placed EY.

A number of big and growing names in the strategy and management consulting sector however are fast closing in, with Accenture holding steady at seventh, and top-ten finisher Proviti (9th) along with Capgemini  (24th) and Bain & Company (25th) all on the advance as employers in demand.  Altogether, the management consulting market in Australia is pushing toward a worth of US$5 billion – the largest in the world relative to national income.Accenture, Protiviti, Capgemini, Bain & Company and Grant Thornton


With a headcount of over 425,000 serving in more than 120 countries, Accenture is one of the world’s largest private employers. As of 2016, more than 3,700 of those global employees were based at one of the firm’s five Australian offices, engaging with the eight-out-of-ten largest companies in Australia by revenue which Accenture counts among its clientele – perhaps not unexpected when the firm provides a range of professional services across 40 unique sectors.

Also unsurprising then, the firm in Australia is interested in an equally diverse range of applicants. “In the digital and robotics age we still require STEM graduates. But what we also want in graduates is curiosity, resilience, judgment and adaptivity,” said Randy Wandermacher, Accenture’s human resources lead for ANZ (Australia and New Zealand). “Scientists and engineers tend to reduce challenges to ones and zeros. What we see is graduates from the arts and humanities and how they follow the world differently.”

Wandermacher added that the firm was also seeking to become the “the most truly human organisation in the digital age,” and runs Accenture Adventure sessions to assess prospective candidates through creative interactive challenges. “With the advances of technology and the implications of robotics and automation, we consider what the cost is to humans?” Wandmacher mused. Prospective employees should also be prepared to bring their own coffee mug to work; the Australian arm of the firm has stated its 2020 aim to reduce its carbon emissions per employee by more than fifty percent against 2007.


Crashing into the top-ten on this year’s list from 20th place last year was mid-tier consultancy movers Protiviti, a fraction of the size of Accenture with a global workforce of 4,500 but nearly as popular as a potential employer at two spots below in ninth. And similar to Accenture, Protiviti, which operates across numerous sectors including energy & utilities, healthcare, technology, media & communications, and financial services, has a focus on adaptivity and resilience in recruitment.

“We look for people who are comfortable with ambiguity and change,” the firm’s managing director Ewen Ferguson told the AFR. “We are setting out to recruit bright individuals who want to stay with us as long as possible.” Yet the firm also believes its employment process features an advantageous point of difference from the larger companies in the field, setting out to connect potential graduate recruits with Protiviti's senior leadership from the very start of the process.

With five Australian offices (of 70 worldwide in over 20 countries), the global firm also prides itself on its sustainable practices – named in the US as a winner of the National Best & Brightest Sustainable Companies by the National Association for Business Resources – along with its corporate and social responsibility and commitment to diversity and inclusion, both in-house and in terms of providing specialist services to socially disadvantaged or minority-owned businesses.2018 Top 100 Most Popular Graduate Employers


Also jumping up the list, and as a return to the consulting behemoths, was the strategy, operations and tech services firm Capgemini, which boasts a global workforce in excess of 200,000 across 40-plus countries and pulled in revenues upwards of €12.8 billion last year. Also last year, in its fiftieth year of operations, the firm hired 53,784 new faces across its global network, and 40% of its recruits in 2016 were fresh graduates.

In Australia, 50 new graduates joined Capgemini across its five locales in 2017, and speaking last year, the firm’s head of Australia and New Zealand, Nicolas Aidoud, said the firm was looking to ramp up its local recruitment efforts – with investment in talent shaping as a number one priority. While to date its local digital operations have been of a smaller revenue-percentage compared its global average, the French-based outfit is expecting a coming hike as the desire for digital technologies in Australia starts to grow. 

In just the nine months prior, Capgemini had added more than 20 AI projects to its books, but require more skilled personnel to meet the growing client demand. “The bottleneck is resources — it’s not just about smart technology, it’s also about smart people,” Aidoud said. As part of its recruitment drive in the Antipodes, Capgemini’s local arm features heavily in the firm’s global ‘#Gradathon’ activities, which offer insights into life at the firm through the perspective of its young professionals via a series of articles and blogs.

Bain & Company

Launching in Australia in 1989 with a founding office in Sydney to serve the Asia Pacific, the Australian arm of global strategy and management firm Bain & Company has since added locations in Melbourne and Perth, with its 250+ employees serving businesses in Australia, New Zealand and beyond across multiple industries including those in the healthcare, energy and resources, transportation, consumer goods, technology, and financial services sectors.

Along with its range of graduate pathway programmes, Bain’s Australia practice turns the concept of internships on its head by offering successful recruits the chance to undertake a future ‘externship’ – a six to twelve month placement with one of the firm’s social impact partners. In addition, with six-month international transfers on the table, local staff are also afforded the opportunity to capitalise on the firm’s global reach, with nearly two thirds of its Australian workforce having gained valuable international exposure.

Consistently ranked as one of the best and most inclusive organisations to work for across the globe – including on the anonymous employee-review platform Glassdoor – the greatest proof is perhaps on top of the pudding; Bain’s world-wide chief talent officer and champion of diversity, Russ Hagey, the executive credited with making the company one of the most desired employers both locally and abroad, has himself been employed at the consulting firm for over thirty straight years . 

Related: Big Four accounting firms named best graduate employers in Australia