Put a question to Bridget Phillipson, Shadow Education Minister

My feed

to access all these features

Feminism: chat

Gender pay gap (Consulting - Big 4)

59 replies

PayGap · 16/07/2021 16:05

Hello lovely people. For a long time I have been wondering about the gender pay gap in the big 4 organizations, i.e., I know it exists but how big is the gap? It is quite frustrating to realize that you are being paid significantly less for the same amount of work/effort.

I believe organizations should be more transparent about salary bands but sadly they are not. So far, I have n't been able to find helpful information that can help me compare, hence thought of starting this thread. There are quite useful discussions on Reddit but mainly they are for US and not for UK organizations.

Hopefully this will help all of us assess where we are on the pay spectrum and use this information to negotiate and bridge the gap (wishful thinking?).

I will go first with my details, let's follow the following format to share so that we can compare. Feel free to also share (if comfortable), salaries of people you know who work in Big 4/Consulting. This is specifically for Big 4 Consulting, but please share for others if you find that helpful. PS. I have name changed for the thread.

Big 4 - Deloitte - Consulting
Gender: Female
Years of relevant experience - 8 years
Grade: Senior Consultant
Base pay: £50K
Benefits: £5K
Ethnic minority: Yes
Location: London

Who's next?

OP posts:
PayGap · 16/07/2021 16:08

I will also add the details of a (male) friend who has joined recently, and which triggered the question in my head

Deloitte Consulting
8 years
Senior Con

OP posts:
AssassinatedBeauty · 16/07/2021 16:29

I don't think you're going to get many people wanting to post their details here.

Isn't this what you're looking for, though?


SourAppleChew · 22/07/2021 02:38

I always thought big 4 consultants were on more than that. Our new mobile crane driver is on £54k and he's only 24 with about a year's experience!

timeisnotaline · 22/07/2021 03:03

Hi, I believe they all work similarly. They have pay bands per grade , people promoted typically are awarded the minimum of the new pay band. This can often mean that there is very little pay rise on promotion if you were at the top before and I’ve had that! People incrementally get small pay rises each/some years, I suspect few remain in one grade long enough to hit the next pay band with this method, there could be some gap creep in in this process. The key differences are: lateral hires are often paid more than colleagues/ brought in near the top of the band basically because big4 don’t pay that much compared to industry. And the biggest difference is directors and partners where there are wider ranges and in partners bands of seniority, and many more men. I think this makes up the majority of the pay gap (published measures tend to exclude bonuses iirc?). More women partners are junior and less likely to get plum jobs- there was an ft article a few years ago pointing out that there were some very low number of women as audit partner on ftse 100 companies, might have been zero for Pwc. Especially at your level there might be bias in performance and promotion but the pay is probably quite fair.

timeisnotaline · 22/07/2021 03:06

The joined recently bit is where the main source of the gap between you and your friend is, I’m not saying they might not have offered you eg 58 in his position though! When I joined as a lateral at senior consultant level a long time ago I was paid nearly at the top of the band and I’m female. I’m assuming based on the pay that when you say senior consultant, you mean the level below manager.

MalFunkshun · 22/07/2021 05:42

In my experience, pay progression on a yearly basis is pretty fair - but the starting points may be vastly different. You would likely find that if a new colleague joined you at SC grade from another company, they would start on a higher salary than you so as to be competitive in the market - if eg Deloitte tend to hire more men from external hires, that would then create a pay gap discrepancy.

But I think @timeisnotaline has it - the pay gap data is mostly skewed by the relatively low numbers of women in senior positions. Big 4 is notoriously poor at supporting true flexible working and a reasonable work/life balance, which means women face a stark choice to either not be a primary caregiver or not progress. Dependent on the company, I would estimate maternity leave postpones promotion (unofficially) by about 18 months to two years; so the average mother who chooses to have two children can expect to slip 3-4 years behind male colleagues in progression terms. That’s pretty disheartening and leads to an exodus at manager / senior manager levels, creating an uneven ratio of men to women at the more well-paid levels above.

Shelddd · 22/07/2021 05:57


I always thought big 4 consultants were on more than that. Our new mobile crane driver is on £54k and he's only 24 with about a year's experience!

No, big 4 consulting is really hard work for meh pay.. but it's good experience and can set up your career. Idea is either take that experience to a boutique consultancy and cash in $$, or into industry.

As far as pay it's difficult because men and women in those consultancy roles will get paid the same or more for a role. The problem is exactly what OP stated which is that the men are more likely to get higher position (even with equal experience). Not necessarily that they will get more pay for same position.
Doodledoop · 22/07/2021 06:10

I was headhunted for big4 director role once. Didn't take it but a woman from there who took me to lunch to encourage me said I needed to be aware women got fewer and much smaller bonuses than men.

StatisticallyChallenged · 22/07/2021 07:00

My experience was they were slower to promote women. I recall an intro event (grad level) where they were saying their sex mix at analyst level was in line with the mix of sexes in the degrees they aim to recruit from, but that by senior consultant that falls off away and continues to do so. I remember thinking "hmm, wonder why, could it be that women of that age find the role incompatible with something else?"...it was like the elephant in the room. But even excluding maternity impacts (so looking at women without children) it seemed like women had to work harder for longer to progress between bands.

Anecdotally there were 3 of us - all female - who left around the same time and moved to industry and all got substantial pay rises to do so. Rounds of unofficial redundancies also disproportionately targeted women.

QuentinBunbury · 22/07/2021 09:53

Have you looked on Glassdoor for salary info?

upthefrogs · 22/07/2021 22:40

Pay gap in big four in terms of base pay is largely to do with seniority. Total pay is though really skewed by bonuses and lateral moves which men are more likely to leverage - the effect is quite shocking when you see the figures. Not everyone does. There are intersectional impacts too - although data points for black women generally too small to be statistically significant.

upthefrogs · 22/07/2021 22:42

And yes - on average men do get promoted more quickly though again intersections complicate this. Ethnic minority (Asian) men do quite well until partnership in terms of speed of promotion and then are overtaken by white men.

PayGap · 23/07/2021 00:03

Thanks everyone for your responses.
@AssassinatedBeauty - yea I have seen this report, what I was after was actual salary information, there s a lot of information on the US market but nothing on UK.

@timeisnotaline thank you for the explanation, really well explained and yes this s pretty much how it works. Yes, I meant level below Manager.

OP posts:
PayGap · 23/07/2021 00:06

@QuentinBunbury yes I have, and they have a feature that lets you assess your pay check in terms of market competitiveness, I have to say the results were quite depressing

OP posts:
PayGap · 23/07/2021 00:07

This s really interesting information

OP posts:
PayGap · 23/07/2021 00:08

@upthefrogs the above comment was for your information- posted too soon

OP posts:
SourAppleChew · 23/07/2021 00:39

No, big 4 consulting is really hard work for meh pay.. but it's good experience and can set up your career. Idea is either take that experience to a boutique consultancy and cash in $$, or into industry.

Ah ok, that makes sense.

Konyeshno · 23/07/2021 01:31

I left PwC 14 years ago at consultant level and was on £70k plus benefits then. Have salaries shrunk?
It was clear that white men were promoted most quickly, and almost exclusively to partnership. Anecdotally women's bonuses were smaller, but that could have been for several,reasons including people lying.
Probably like any of the big 4 it was a brilliant place to work when your face fit, absolutely shit when it didn't.

timeisnotaline · 23/07/2021 04:21

The names change konyeshno -by consultant you mean manager level I think so that sounds right. It hasn’t really gone up though!
Pwc are now more transparent around bonus levels and performance linkages for under director.

LivingLaVidaCovid · 23/07/2021 05:20

Surprised at this.
In 2015 my housemate had about 8 years exp. Senior consultant and was on £60k (she was there from grad)

Female, caucasian, with long term health issues.

She took significant time off on full pay (adding up the various intervaĺs she took 2.5-3 years off on full pay sick - she was ill obviously but she was not a star performer).

BCG hired a woman (minority group) i know from a digital background (who was honestly not very competent in that role) with 10 years exp at base 110k total comp 130k

Personally if you feel you aren't being renumered properly, just get a counter offer and negotiate or move. 🤷‍♀️

upthefrogs · 23/07/2021 08:30

@paygap - this is my area! I said lateral moves make a difference and men are more likely to move often to push up their salary but they are also more likely to use threats to leave to leverage a bigger bonus. And honestly, the gender gap in bonuses is sometimes shockingly large. I would say that while women can use these tactics it is still the case that they may not have quite the same effect as there is still a sense that this sort of more 'aggressive/assertive' behaviour is for men. And of course on the whole women are socialised not to. I also think there's an effect of flexible work or alternative working patterns, formal or otherwise - where women take these options up, they may feel in some sense obligated, less likely to move (better the devil you know etc), which also has an impact.

midgemagneto · 23/07/2021 08:40

Personally I find people who ignore the societal structural effects and tell women to just try harder tend to have had a host of other advantages including luck

JustWonderingIfYou · 23/07/2021 08:50

Don't really want to put lots of outing info.
But joined admin team for one of big 4.
Female, no previous real experience, 20s.
Joined team of 4, all same level.

Team was-
1 man 2 yrs experience (highest paid)
1 woman 3 years experience
1 man 1 yr experience.
1 woman 2 years experience (lowest paid)

My starting salary was a few grand more than all of theirs, between 7-15% more and had much higher level of benefits than normal in my role. I negotiated at hire and interview well. Only one of the men negotiated, the other accepted what was offered. We were strictly not allowed to speak of salaries but...

JustWonderingIfYou · 23/07/2021 08:53

The seemingly best paid for the little they did and (worst to work with) were the male senior managers who jumped companies a lot.

No idea how to use any systems or even basic general procedures of their job role and could hide it until jumping again 2years later.

QuentinBunbury · 23/07/2021 09:49

The seemingly best paid for the little they did and (worst to work with) were the male senior managers who jumped companies a lot. Grin I know these types too.....

Please create an account

To comment on this thread you need to create a Mumsnet account.