PA Consulting Group Reviews in London, England | Glassdoor.co.uk

PA Consulting Group London Reviews

Updated 6 October 2018
172 reviews

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London, England

3.2
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PA Consulting Group CEO and Director Alan Middleton
Alan Middleton
85 Ratings

172 Employee Reviews

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Pros
  • "If you look for work -life balance, this is the place" (in 45 reviews)

  • "Great people and excellent work environment" (in 45 reviews)

Cons
  • "Increasing pressure to travel makes it difficult for work life balance with families" (in 20 reviews)

  • "Lots of public sector clients (not necessarily a negative depending on your perspective)" (in 14 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. "Review"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Consulting Analyst in London, England
    Current Employee - Consulting Analyst in London, England
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at PA Consulting Group full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Very people focused and you are in control of your own destiny in terms of assignments

    Cons

    Very utilisation focused which means you cant always shape your brand as much as you would like.


  2. Helpful (2)

    "Interesting projects, good for analytics careers, could be more people oriented"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Consultant in London, England
    Current Employee - Consultant in London, England
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at PA Consulting Group full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    - Some extremely talented and lovely people
    - Interesting projects, everything I have worked on so far has been engaging and challenging
    - Strong analytics capability
    - Opportunity to progress faster through lower ranks compared to other firms
    - Good for graduates and early careers compared to competitiors
    - New London offices are great

    Cons

    - Consulting lifestyle can be tough
    - Not as people oriented as other firms
    - Lots of public sector clients (not necessarily a negative depending on your perspective)

    Advice to Management

    - Invest more in your people
    - Do more to recognise and keep top talent

  3. Helpful (1)

    "On the decline"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Consultant in London, England
    Current Employee - Consultant in London, England
    Recommends
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at PA Consulting Group full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Very supportive company - good place for junior consultants to gain experience. Working hours aren't too bad

    Cons

    Recruitment is so poor- there are far too many weak links at the company - and we refuse to fire them
    Resource management is appalling - if we sell work, partners panic to resource and it leads to unmotivated consultants working on projects they dont want to be on
    Diversity is poor and efforts to improve by the senior team are insincere
    Lot of people are discussing leaving - the company isnt what it used to be
    Salaries are very inconsistent


  4. "PA Consulting"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Consultant in London, England
    Current Employee - Consultant in London, England
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at PA Consulting Group full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    PA is full of fantastic and inspiring people, who really care about making a difference. As an employee you have a lot of freedom and are empowered/encouraged to start new initiatives, try new things, and learn and develop all the time.

    Cons

    The lack of women in senior positions is disappointing.


  5. "MC"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in London, England
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in London, England
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at PA Consulting Group full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Good training facilities and courses.

    Cons

    Not collegiate at all - need to fight for your life everyday

    Advice to Management

    share


  6. Helpful (7)

    "Hit and miss"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Principal Consultant in London, England
    Former Employee - Principal Consultant in London, England
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at PA Consulting Group full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    PA seem to be able to hire genuinely high quality professionals from time to time, but they leave shortly due to the overall environment. I treasure those very few I got to know there and we keep in touch, but that has nothing to do with the company, but rather that high quality professionals keep together regardless of the circumstances.

    Cons

    Unfortunately a lengthy list, that would require immediate improvement...I should say complete cultural change:
    1. What you are told during the hiring process is not even close to what they are giving you (e.g. bonuses, that came up in other reviews as well) and salaries are below the industry average .
    2. Utilisation is king, rather than quality service to clients, which makes it hard to develop long-lasting client relationships....I've seen very opportunistic approaches which are damaging and the leadership doesn't seem to notice it.
    3. Internal fights and segregation over sales in selling positions make it almost impossible to approach bigger clients in a professional, coordinated manner or to offer them meaningful services.
    4. Male oriented culture with an approach towards women, that is far from being equal, let alone being fair (this includes what opportunities are given to women and how their performance is evaluated in general). I've seen the term "old boys' club" in other reviews, which is a good reflection on the atmosphere.
    5. Zero leadership from your line manager and zero direction as to how to navigate the corporate politics to get the value out of your hard work (a good example would be that I've never seen leadership acknowledging if they had made a bad decision or in case they were wrong)
    6. Bad work-life balance - if your area of expertise is in high demand, they will work you to death to get their profit, but if your area of expertise cannot be sold well enough, then you don't get support to strengthen other areas to get on more/better projects either. If you over perform, leadership keeps the reward to themselves, it won't show in your bonuses.
    7. Overall lack of transparency on evaluation of performance and lack of visibility on leadership decisions and directions.
    8. Complete disregard of your feedback while you are on board, which speaks volumes of the arrogance of the leadership.
    9. They don't support newcomers at all. I don't say you should not stand your ground and be responsible for your development and utilisation (after all you want to be a consultant, so an outgoing, positively pushy personality is key), but for the first few months, there should be support to find your feet in the organisation to develop your portfolio, which they say they do, but this isn't the case (I was lucky that I was in high demand due to my area of expertise).

    Advice to Management

    Nothing further to add, as they did not process feedback while I was there.


  7. Helpful (9)

    "Dull, Uninspiring, Uninformed, Unintentional"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in London, England
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in London, England
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at PA Consulting Group full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Nothing immediately springs to mind.

    Cons

    Culture: Expect to be used without any meaningful reward, recognition or remuneration. People barely talk in the office, and definitely no one smiles. New joiners are barely acknowledged. This is a meat grinder. Having worked in other consultancies and high performing companies, it is really the worst culture I have experienced.
    There is supposed to be a relaxed dress code in the main office, however the atmosphere is so 1950s that I have seen people give up and revert to the “shiny suit” look very quickly. This is an old boys club, with lots of insecure types around every corner. I have overheard conversations that would make a diversity and inclusion officer’s skin crawl…
    Some partners walk around with an arrogance that can only mean one thing – they have never left PA and seen the wider business world. PA partners are roughly equivalent to director level at the Big 4, or in some cases, high level senior manager. They lack charisma, leadership and people skills, and definitely don’t give a damn about your career.
    I only came across one person who I found genuinely inspiring during my time at PA, and they were ex Big 4.
    Career management: Training is mainly performed internally, to a corresponding standard. I paid for my own training course in the end, for a certification that was needed for promotion. Promotion depends largely on who you know as opposed to being “meritocratic”.
    They will explain that utilisation is king, however it is only a metric used to manage people out of the business (which happens regularly, mainly due to the relaxed hiring policy - see below). If you are good, and are utilised it is subsequently a case of making sure you get on with your line manager (who will have no people skills to speak of, and no interest in your career) and making sure that you find a "home" i.e. a group of likeminded people clustered around someone with some sort of sales role. Particularly difficult to do as everyone is always fighting over any project that looks like it may not bore them to death, and the need to be utilised. These things do not always correspond with your skill sets, or intended career direction. People are assigned the first project that is available, no matter your skills or interests. Some long running projects may be the only one that you see in your time at PA.
    People: Currently the trend is to grow as much as possible by hiring as many as possible. The staff turnover is high, so growth is really quite difficult to achieve... unless you can get volume.... this requires new hire standards to drop. New joiners are of uncertain experience or suitability, and even worse, can be managed out of the business pretty quickly, or leave of their own accord pretty sharpish if they are good.
    It seems that tenure is a key marker for success at PA. If you are here long enough, all your competitors will have left, either to move on upwards elsewhere (if they are good enough), or into to the non-descript, low responsibility, low autonomy, industry roles that PA prepares people for.
    Projects: Projects are uninteresting, with PA mainly performing resource augmentation tasks or project management. There is no need for expertise, this is by the numbers stuff.
    Remuneration: Recruitment low-balled me, but promised "the bonus". The mythical bonus is rarely seen, even if you really are doing very well; for example overachieving my utilisation target (well over 90%), and getting excellent reviews (top grades) will not get you either a case for promotion, or even 60% of your original bonus, let alone an overachievement bonus. Pay rises are pitiful. You will be sold a grade or two above your current grade regularly, with no recognition of your true capabilities.
    There is an air of Kindergarten about the place – real responsibility is rare, trust is rarer.
    In summary; For me, PA was akin to being in a pool of resources (not people), being assigned to the projects that could be sold by anyone with sales responsibilities. The projects were dull, mainly resource augmentation type.
    Oh yes, the interior of the new office doesn’t seem to have enough working space, leaving people to camp out in the informal meeting areas all day. I still don’t understand how people don’t know how to make use of an office space properly... but then again this is PA.
    Not recommended, unless you are desperate.

    Advice to Management

    Take a leadership course or two.
    Consider changing the resourcing model.
    Improve employee incentives, talent management, remuneration, benefits.
    Complete culture change.

  8. Helpful (2)

    "good and bad"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Managing Consultant in London, England
    Former Employee - Managing Consultant in London, England
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at PA Consulting Group full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    some great people, and really interesting work in the Technology Innovation practice in particular.

    Cons

    i worked within a team with little direction or sense of purpose, everything driven by near term goals of utilisation . Senior hire largely left to just get on and sell with little collaboration or support.

    Advice to Management

    fix the disparity in culture and practice across the firm, and recognise the difference between building something new and simply farming a very big client for years and years. Both necessary, but need to be incentivised and rewarded differently.


  9. Helpful (5)

    "Push too hard for revenue and headcount, and you will only get that"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Principal Consultant in London, England
    Current Employee - Principal Consultant in London, England
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at PA Consulting Group full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Individual freedom, trust, some great colleagues, exposure to senior management of high-calibre clients.

    Cons

    - Bonuses are awarded on profits, while the company is pushing for growing revenue and headcount. Don't expect much bonus at year end.
    - We hire many while suffering a higher than average staff turnover. Quality of the new hires is at risk. Also, profits go down with headcount growth. See previous point.
    - Salary is less than average.
    - The new office looks and is great to work in, but there isn't much available when you want a break, apart from the instant coffee and still water (hot and cold).

    Advice to Management

    - Look after your people.
    - Increase transparency, make targets visible and openly discuss the implications of pursuing them.
    - Transform the internal IT: in 2018 I would expect to be able to access the company's intranet from the company owned mobile phone, as well as having a choice of laptops and tablets available for consultants.


  10. Helpful (2)

    "okay"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in London, England
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in London, England
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at PA Consulting Group full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    Gain lots of experience very quickly , a chance to try out a number of roles or sectors. Can choose the direction of your career but lots of public sector

    Cons

    Values and environment not for everyone - promotion inside the company can be difficult
    Can be hard to gain any career focus - way too much public sector work over the years

    Advice to Management

    Keep sales and delivery separate - combining them does not create excellence in delivery . Pay your consultants what they deserve


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