The best consulting firms to work for in Malaysia according to students

13 December 2017 4 min. read

Professional services and consulting firms feature prominently in a survey of Malaysia’s best employers to work for, with PwC taking the overall first place ahead of fellow Big Four top-ten finishers EY, KMPG and Deloitte.

The Malaysia’s 100 Leading Graduate Employers (M100) survey is the largest and longest running of its kind in Malaysia, with nearly 30,000 students and recent graduates from universities throughout the country taking part in the annual study. Respondents were asked to select a most preferred employer from a list of over 200 prospects across various industry sectors, and this year’s edition has seen PwC come out on top overall, as well as taking home the honours in the individual consulting and accounting & professional services categories.

When given the opportunity to rate their key considerations in choosing an employer, the bulk of the students cited career prospects as the most important factor, followed by training and development opportunities, and then a company’s ‘leadership style’. In contrast, a high starting salary, status and prestige, and the attractiveness of the location were volunteered as of least concern.

Those aspiring students and graduates who voted PwC as their number one choice will be hoping to join the 2,500 staff-members already employed by PwC in Malaysia, in one of the company’s six local offices across Kuala Lumpur, Pulau Pinang, Ipoh, Melaka, Johor Bahru and Labuan.

Best consulting firms in Malaysia

The 2017 edition of survey has seen the global accounting and consulting firm move up from last year’s second-placing to reclaim their 2013 crown, and comes on the back of earning last year’s Malaysia Tax Firm of the Year award from the International Tax Review Asia. PwC enjoys a strong presence in the country, providing services for both the private and government sectors.

In second place in the rankings was professional services giant EY, moving up from the number four spot in 2016. EY likewise boasts a strong regional presence – with over 40,000 employees based in the Asia Pacific – and views Kuala Lumpur as a dynamic hub and pivot-point for the region with over 3,600 multinational corporations locating their global or regional representative offices in Malaysia, according to the firm’s website.

Fellow Big Four giant KPMG, meanwhile, ranks seventh overall, and third from a professional services perspective. KPMG has a 2,000-strong team in Malaysia, and has had a presence in the country dating back to 1928, providing tax, accountancy and consulting services across numerous local industries, including energy and natural resources and the infrastructure, government and healthcare sectors.

Sneaking into the top ten was the last of the Big Four professional service heavyweights Deloitte at tenth overall. While down on last year’s seventh placing, the firm remained a top three finalist in both the consulting and accounting & professional services categories. Deloitte’s service activities in Malaysia stretch back to 1968 with the founding of KassamChan & co, and the firm currently employs 1,800 industry professionals across eight local offices.

The Big Four – who together hold 39% of the globe’s $150 billion consulting market – are followed by the two largest strategy consulting firms: The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) and McKinsey & Company. Between them, they have 175 professionals working from their respective offices in Kuala Lumpur, and building on their prestige in the consultancy industry, project portfolio of top engagement at high profile clients, as well as a steep learning curve offered to starters, BCG and McKinsey have been recognised as the best consulting firms to work for in Malaysia.

The other two consulting firms to feature on the 100 Leading Graduate Employers’ list are Accenture, a global player that provides consulting, technology and outsourcing services, and IBM, which has a strong footprint in Malaysia’s IT consulting landscape.

Should one of these companies be willing to offer a hopeful young candidate a career start, the student survey participants also responded that on average that they would be prepared to work an 8.6 hour day in their first job, and be content with a salary of RM2,712 – with expectations down from RM2,827 in the previous year.