Where are Europe's highest consulting salaries?

JohnSchnitzel's picture
Rank: Monkey | 42

I will be attending a top European MBA program in September and am pursuing consulting post-graduation. In order to understand the benefits / disadvantages of different European geographies, I want to know the differences in all-in compensation.

Where are Europe's highest (and lowest) management consulting salaries?

If anyone has a URL to another WSO thread or website that has this information, please post. Thanks in advance for the help.

Comments (39)

Nov 14, 2016

Consulting in Europe is very local, which means if you don't speak the local language they won't even consider you. There are countries such as the Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden, and others that only require you to speak english and not the local language. Many people pursuing an MBA in Europe also apply for consulting jobs in Dubai.

But generally, you will find the highest salaries in the Nordics/UK/Dubai and the lowest in Eastern Europe.

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Nov 14, 2016

Thank you for your input Patrick.

Nov 14, 2016

What you need to factor in is the cost of life e.g. salaries in Switzerland or Nordics are one of the highest but the cost of life is much much more expensive. As a matter of fact Eastern Europe offers one of the best salary to cost of life ratios for consulting. Strategy consulting salaries are often close (5-10% lower) to some of the Western European salaries but with a much cheaper cost of life. Starting salaries in Eastern Europe are actually similar to Spain/Italy/Greece.

Nov 15, 2016

London pays less than Amsterdam/Germany with a higher cost of living. Switzerland has a high cost of living, but also crazy high salaries (undergrads can receive 100k Swiss francs which is approx 100k EUR, which is 50% higher than what'd you get in Amsterdam/Germany.

Nov 16, 2016

Remember to factor in tax rates: Nordics tend to have really high income taxes (around if not over 50%), while Switzerland can go below 20%. I remember two friends (Swiss and German at the same MBB) comparing salaries and the Swiss entry-level had a higher post-tax salary than the German PhD hire.

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Nov 16, 2016

Completely agree, but it's pretty common in high tax jurisdictions (eg. Germany) for companies to offer pretty substantive benefits (eg. a nice car) that you have to factor in when comparing comp

Nov 20, 2016

Has someone any info on Finnland and Belgium? What's it like there?

Nov 23, 2016

Cmon! Finland*!

MBB here is 50-60k EUR for entry level positions. Taxes kill you, 40-45% for that amount plus living in Helsinki is quite expensive. In certain places the cost of the apartment per one square meter was higher than in Manhattan. Work/life is probably lot better than in UK/US, I'd estimate 60 hr is somewhat "usual" work week, consultancy has no usual weeks hence the quotes.

Nov 23, 2016

sorry, Austrian.
Thanks for the info!

Nov 23, 2016

I will chip in here: dont forget about quality of living from work/life balance perspective also-it is not only about money. From what I know:
- NL - superb work/life balance, okish salary
- Nordics - even better w/l, but you are getting paid almost industry standard
- London - okish w/l, salary okey, but you are not rich by any measure
- Germany - rather tough hours, salary is good
Eastern europe - tougher than Germany, best PP probably
-Switzerland-pos w/l, you get lot of money, but you spend lot of it as well on basics..

That being said, with more money you are always better off on things with low arbitrage (flight tickets, cars, etc.)

I would personally go for NL if I would be you.

Fyi this a perspective from one of MBBs

Nov 23, 2016

UAE is tax free and effective salary in GBP terms is 2x that of London.

Offices where local language requirements are relaxed (read: English is enough): Nordics, Brussels, Amsterdam

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Nov 23, 2016

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Nov 23, 2016

Fuck. You people are so bland: "What checklist will fit into my spreadsheet!!!! Oooo Kyrgystan bas the best cost of living ratio!!! Yayyyy, my personal EBITDA will increase by .035% in 40 years!!!!!!!"

Have you ever had an original thought? I'm guessing you haven't asked yourself the following:

Where do you WANT to live?
What career opportunities would you have in Kyrgystan after leaving consulting?
Is focusing all of your efforts on Kyrgystan the best idea? Do you speak the language? What about your Visa status?
What happens when you burn out from Consulting?

C'mon man, the career opportunities, lifestyle, culture, languages and barriers are so different country to country it's laughable you'd remotely consider that hassle for slight differentiations in pay for wht is likely a short lived career. Assuming you even get the job.

Nov 23, 2016

I appreciate the thoughts and agree with your point.

Keep in mind I have already answered the questions you pose for myself personally and am attempting to match up what I want in my life with compensation. I can answer the question as to where I want to live and why, but do not have a complete understanding of comp / bene / tax details across the entire world. If I have 5 "suitable" locations that all work from a life perspective, why not also be informed which 2 or 3 offer better opportunities to pay back student debt?

Nov 23, 2016

If paying off student debt is your goal, then I would suggest Dubai over the rest of Europe. Lower COL, good pay (slightly less than Europe I believe), but zero income tax rate. The local industry hasn't been highly affected by the oil plummet, at least according to my friends at MBB there - so there are good exit opps too. Besides, the Dubai offices for most firms aren't backwater outposts - they are often the central hubs for the MENA region. No knowledge of Arabic reqd to break in, and the local culture is lax enough that you can maintain a similar (albeit with less models and bottles vs London) lifestyle. Of course, there's the other issue that you'll get bored soon...

Sources:- Analyst and Partner in MBB

GoldenCinderblock: "I keep spending all my money on exotic fish so my armor sucks. Is it possible to romance multiple females? I got with the blue chick so far but I am also interested in the electronic chick and the face mask chick."

Nov 23, 2016

This response just proved @ArcherVice s point.....

You sound like one of the bot's from WestWorld whose code is outdated and broken

Nov 24, 2016

Amen.

I've taken UK over one of the highest paying countries mentioned here. I definitely have less savings than I could have, but my overall life satisfaction is much higher.

Nov 23, 2016

Two friends of mine recently started their careers at Tier 2 / Tier 3 consulting firms in Zurich.
Their after-tax salaries are almost twice that of the same entry-level position in Germany. Figuring in the much higher cost of living, they're still considerably better off in Zurich than in Germany. Plus, almost whereever you travel, things are considerably cheaper than at your home base.
As far as I know London and Paris don't pay better for entry-level jobs than German offices, despite the rent costing you between 1.5- and 3-fold. So for the first years, your purchasing power will likely be better in Germany.
Once you go advance up the ladder, this can change with European head offices (mostly in London, depends on firm) providing more and faster opportunities to increase your pay.
Some firms let you chose your home office, since you're on client sites all the time anyways.

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Nov 23, 2016

Taxes are definitely much more favourable in Switzerland than in Germany. And for ex-pats without children Switzerland is generally considered very good (childcare can then get quite expensive).

Nov 29, 2016

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Nov 24, 2016

Quite true, although some companies (McK, BCG, some Big 4 consulting as far as i know) have offices in Geneva. Nevertheless, that would require French, and those offices are smaller so there are fewer spots available.

Nov 29, 2016

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Nov 23, 2016

Just my 2cents: purchasing power wise, Switzerland and Germany are your choices. The languages will be the barrier of entry, though.

Nov 23, 2016

UK consulting salaries are not good at all. The best are germany and switzerland. but a big mac menu in switzerland cost you 20 bucks. If you go to Berlin, that should give you the most bang for your buck.

Nov 23, 2016

The Germans don't just make A deck, they make ALL the decks; wlb is shit over there

Nov 24, 2016

That's interesting that everyone thinks Switzerland requires French. Are these coming from direct sources? I just heard from a friend at IMD that this isn't the case and while she doesn't work for a consulting firm, she at least had boots on the ground. Are any of these assertions that Switzerland member firms do not operate in English verifiable from personal experience?

Nov 24, 2016
JohnSchnitzel:

That's interesting that everyone thinks Switzerland requires French. Are these coming from direct sources? I just heard from a friend at IMD that this isn't the case and while she doesn't work for a consulting firm, she at least had boots on the ground. Are any of these assertions that Switzerland member firms do not operate in English verifiable from personal experience?

Rather German (in Zurich) than French (in Geneva): Zurich is bigger in both banking and consulting, Geneva might equal or surpass Zurich in PWM (unsure). The bigger the firm, the more likely they operate mostly in English, if not in English only; analysis and presentations are usually done in English anyways. But they'll always ask themselves "why not hire a Swiss/German?" because it's more practical to have people who can interview anyone in the client firm and who can read any client document in either language.

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Nov 29, 2016

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Nov 30, 2016

I've heard about incentives/guidelines to favor hiring Swiss people over foreigners (all else equal) as well, but you've got it right.

Nov 29, 2016

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Dec 1, 2016

I agree with much consultant wow's assessment of WL balance and pay. Regarding taxes, in the Nordics/Scandinavia, if you are making 100K, you can expect to pay about 35% total income tax, inc. health insurance, retirement etc.. If it's 200k, you can expect about 40%.

Dec 4, 2016

Belgium:
While I'm a student (limited experience): beware of the language requirements. Indeed, the working language is English most often, but speaking French and/or Dutch (depending on the company and the city; eg Antwerp (Flemish) Brussels(either), Walloon region (French)) is highly demanded for client facing roles, or at least notions of that language, generally for better office integration.

While at senior levels English is the standard, entry roles, more often than not, demand at least one of the two, and it gets tough when you compete against "4 or 5-linguals".

(not on the salary topic but relevant- seeing the comments)

Dec 4, 2016

Bain and McK are much higher too so probably BCG as well

Dec 4, 2016
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