The top consulting firms in Spain for young professionals

14 October 2019 5 min. read

Working in strategy and management consulting is one of the top destinations for Spanish students and graduates, according to a survey of Spanish young professionals. The Big Four professional services firms and the Big Three strategic consultancies are Spain’s most attractive consulting firms to work for.

Over the past three years, more than 75,000 (recent) graduates from over 60 universities in Spain were polled to find out the industry they would ideally kick-start their careers in. Analysis of the data by shows that the field of strategy and management consulting consistently ranked in the top five, and in 2018, it was even the top pick overall – 14% of all Spanish graduates relished landing their dream job in consulting, ahead of the likes of media & advertising, banking, retail and fashion.

The consulting industry thanks its popularity to a number of characteristics of consultancy firms, as well as the nature of the consultant job. Working as a consultant is a promise for a diverse job, with the prospect of working on different types of projects for a range of clients in different industries. In addition, working in a company with highly educated colleagues means that the environment is intellectually challenging, paving the way for a steep learning curve.

Consulting firms play their part too in the industry attractiveness. They offer their employees access to some of the most pressing challenges and prestigious companies in the market, invest heavily in talent and professional development, and nurture a top notch work environment plus supporting infrastructure which allows people to excel. Other factors that in the eyes of Spanish students makes consulting a leading career choice include an innovative job, quality of leadership, reputation, and the fact that it offers a good backbone for a future career.

The top consulting firms in Spain

The top consulting firms

Asked for what they believe are the top consulting firms to work for, Spanish young professionals pointed at a group of eight consultancies that have a leading presence in Span, and globally. The desire to land a contract at one of the Big Four cannot be called surprising – the quartet of Deloitte, EY, KPMG and PwC rank among the globe’s top consulting firms in nearly every corner of the world. 

Of the four, Deloitte is regarded the most attractive consultancy employer in Spain. The firm has more than 5,000 accountants, tax experts, financial advisors and consultants in the country. Deloitte’s consulting services are offered by three units: Deloitte Consulting (its main brand), Monitor Deloitte (the strategy consulting wing of Deloitte Consulting formed after the firm acquired Monitor Group), and Deloitte Digital (the digital consultancy and creative arm). 

PwC, which has more than 4,000 employees in Spain, ranks second of the Big Four, ahead of third placed KPMG (2,700 professionals across 16 offices) and lastly EY (over 2,500 employees). In the consulting arena, PwC and EY operate with two consulting brands (PwC Advisory and Strategy&, and EY Advisory and EY-Parthenon) while KPMG goes to market under a unified brand (KPMG Advisory). From a benchmark perspective, all four of the Big Four accounting and consulting giants ranked among Spain’s top 100 employers for each of the three years studied.

The world of strategy consulting is represented by the globe’s three largest strategic consulting firms: McKinsey & Company, Boston Consulting Group and Bain & Company, collectively known as the ‘MBB’. In the views of Spanish students and graduates, Boston Consulting Group (BCG) is the most popular of the trio. BCG first opened an office in Spain in 1988 – today its Madrid office has over 200 consultants working for clients in Spain and Latin America. BCG’s Barcelona office launched in 2002 and has around 40 consultants.

Arch-rival McKinsey & Company ranks hot on the heels of BCG. The firm – globally the largest strategy & operations consulting firm – has been active in Spain for over 40 years, and has undertaken more than 2,000 projects in the country during this period. According to Alejandro Beltrán, who leads McKinsey in Spain and Portugal, over 50% of Spain’s largest companies have made or are still making use of the firm’s services. 

Bain & Company was the most recent to establish an on the ground operation in Spain, having launched its Madrid office in 1994. Today the firm’s consultants work for many of the largest Spanish, Portuguese and multinational corporations in Iberia, as well as private equity funds, one of Bain’s traditional sweet spots. Bain & Company, which ranks third of the trio in the survey, has eleven partners based in Spain. 

About the analysis

For the analysis, sourced data from graduate employer agency Universum for the years 2019, 2018 and 2017. More than 75,000 surveys were assessed from 60+ top Spanish universities, including: University of Barcelona, Pompeu Fabra University, Autonomous University (in Barcelona and Madrid), University of Valencia and University of Granada. The consulting firms with the highest number of mentions were included. Given the nature of the methodology, the analysis is biased towards large and more well-known consulting firms.