Bain & Company best employer of Germany and the Netherlands

18 December 2017 10 min. read

According to a new ranking, Bain & Company is the best employer in both Germany and The Netherlands. The special nature of the award is that the top spot is based not on the opinion of an expert jury, or on a ranking from an independent body of experts, but on the feedback from those who know the most about the workplace: the employees themselves. "Great place, great people," said one of the current employees.

With 55 offices in 36 countries around the world, Bain & Company is a global consulting firm that helps clients with strategy, organisation, mergers and acquisitions, operations, digital and sustainability, among others. The consulting firm, founded in 1973, is recognised as one of the top players in the industry, alongside the likes of McKinsey & Company and The Boston Consulting Group – together the three firms are known in the market as ‘MBB’.

While the rivalry between the three companies is fierce, both in terms of client work and the pursuit of top talent, Bain & Company has dealt its competitors a big blow in the area of human capital in the two European countries. In a ranking released by Glassdoor, Bain & Company appears as the best of the three when it comes to employability. In fact, with a score of 4.9 in Netherlands and 4.7 in Germany on a scale of 5 Bain even outperformed every other organisation which is active on Glassdoor in the countries, which at the time of writing is over 2,300 companies.

Bain & Company best employer of Germany and the Netherlands

Coming across from the US, Glassdoor is a platform where employees can review their own firm. Among the dimensions they evaluate are aspects such as career opportunities, culture and values, the quality of management, work/life balance, satisfaction over salary and working conditions, and how the recruitment process is managed. They can do so with their name, a pseudonym, or anonymously if needed, and the platform has a moderating system in place to control if the reports are legitimate or spam. Glassdoor launched in 2015 in both the Germany and the Netherlands, and has since gained a strong positive position in the online landscape for career orientation and recruitment.

Based on all ratings given until November 2017, Glassdoor populated a list of the 25 best employers for six countries: the US, Canada, the UK, France, Germany and The Netherlands. The top rankings include large multinationals, such as hotel chain Hilton, technology giants Google, Cisco, Salesforce and SAP, telecom titans Vodafone, automotive firms including BMW, Daimler and Porsche, and several smaller businesses that stand out from crowd. Yet at the reign of all the 2,300 companies which received at least 25 reviews or more, stands Bain & Company. Particularly fulfilling for the firm is that it is the only strategy consulting firm to make the top 25 list.

“It is an honour to receive confirmation from our colleagues in Germany that we’re clearly doing something right and, more importantly, that what we are doing resonates with our employees,” said Walter Sinn, Managing Director of Bain Germany. Sinn, who took the top role in May 2014, added the firm’s goal in Germany is to remain the number one most exciting place for top talent to work.

Stephen Bertrand, the Canadian who has held sway over Bain's Amsterdam office since the end of 2014, said “We are incredibly pleased with, and proud of, this fantastic outcome. For many years we have worked hard to provide our employees with a stimulating environment in which they can grow and develop professionally, make friends, and have fun, while having tremendous impact on the success of our clients. Being recognised as the best employer in the Netherlands is a welcome validation of the hard work and success of all of our teams.”

Both Sinn and Bertrand add that they take extra pride because the ranking is based solely on reviews from the firm’s consultants and staff. Employers have no influence on what their own people write about them on the employer review site, and if sufficient reviews are gathered, the average portrays a good picture of what really goes on inside a company. Globally the company has over 1,900 reviews on Glassdoor, with particularly high levels of positive engagement in the US, Germany and the Netherlands.

Bain Company offices in Germany and Holland

Top pick

In the US, Bain’s largest market and the globe’s largest consulting industry, the strategy consulting firm has been in the top four every year since Glassdoor launched the ranking in 2008, including three times at number one. This year the consultancy, which is headquartered in Boston, came in on number two, behind Facebook, ahead of top tech firms such as Google, Microsoft, SAP, retailers such as Nike and Proctor & Gamble, and its rivals BCG and McKinsey, as well as the Big Four.

Commenting on the firm’s sustained success in the ranking, Russ Hagey, Bain’s Chief Talent Officer, said, “Year after year, our people reaffirm the distinctive qualities of Bain’s culture, which is focused on delivering results for our clients while also investing in our employees’ learning and growth. It’s why people join Bain and why they choose to stay, and why clients seek us out.”

Reviews on Glassdoor highlight Bain’s culture as one that is supportive and encourages the professional success of every employee, building on the firm’s quality of people, management and the governance it has in place for professional development and coaching. “Bain ensures employees have the tools and opportunities to realise their career aspirations at the firm or beyond,” said one employee, with another stating, “Bain is committed to supporting employees through training, mentorship, sponsorship, and a wide variety of career development opportunities.”

One of the opportunities Bain offers its people to enrich their careers is international working. Aside working on international projects, consultants have the possibility to pursue an office transfer, ranging from two to six months, at one of the firm’s 55 offices globally, from Sydney in Australia or New York in the US, to Johannesburg in South Africa, or Dubai in the UAE. According to Hagey, “on any given day, more than 50% of our teams collaborate cross region to serve the international needs of our clients.”

This comes on top of a solid training and development programme, which is regarded as top notch in the industry. Every 18-24 months, consultants are sent to a global training, and in between they receive in office training, complemented by Bain's own Virtual University, which offers 600+ multimedia modules on topics such as consulting skills, storylining and functional themes such as strategy, M&A or finance.

Quote Russ Hagey, Bain Chief Talent Officer

Boost to recruitment

The firm further acknowledges that strategy consulting is hard work, an issue noted among challenges that are being faced by some Bain employees on Glassdoor, and therefore Bain has a programme in place which allows for flexible working. On a longer term view, the advisory allows its people to customise their career path. When  family, career, or personal needs have to be a priority, staff can transition to part-time work, while the firm offers extended breaks (known internally as ‘Take Two’ as it typically is a two month period) to rejuvenate and/or fulfill personal goals. “We also recognise that priorities can shift as our people journey through life, so we offer flexible options to ensure they can have a long, lasting, and fulfilling career at Bain,” Hagey said.

One consultant based in Amsterdam, who has progressed through a number of ranks at the firm, confirmed the acclaim stating, “Bain has a fantastic learning environment, and a very supportive culture. There are many international opportunities, an international training programme and the developmental orientation is very personal.” Another advisor, who is an Associate Consultant at Bain, points at the great impact the firm’s people can make, while working together with "incredibly smart and driven teams." A colleague that had recently commenced working for Bain added, "Working with 'Bainies' (as Bain consultants are called internally, ed.) is incredibly inspiring as it is your job day in day out."

For Bain, the recognition as a top employer will provide a real boost for its talent base and recruitment team. The consultancy markets of Germany (which is worth over €25 billion) and the Netherlands (about €1.2 billion) are seeing strong growth on the back of a strong economy and customers who have focused their arrows on digital transformation and back on growth. As a result, the competitive market for talent, and especially for the likes of Bain and its rivals in the segment, who fish in top waters of talent, the rinsing talent is thin.

Bain first established a presence in Germany in 1982, now having 750 employees working from offices in Munich, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt. Its Dutch operations launched in 1998 and is based in Amsterdam. Although Bain does not release data on its financial performance, comments on Glassdoor suggest that the firm is growing strongly in both markets, highlighting the benefit the ranking from Glassdoor can bring to its ranks. Globally the firm has around 7,000 employees, up from just under 6,000 three years ago.