From helping major organizations implement cloud-based data storage solutions to working on software to ensure that the government can keep running, tech consultants perform some of the most vital work in the economy today—and for very little recognition.
While those with strong tech skills have remained in demand throughout the recession and on into the recovery, it's an industry whose stability is often overstated—at least from an employee's perspective. To be a tech consultant requires the development of a critical skillset that must be updated as the tech landscape shifts, in a field where innovation and change is a constant. Even those parts of the industry that seem the most stable can be prone to unexpected change: witness the drop off in spending in Washington that has caused many government contractors—firms that work on critical issues such as the nation's cyber-defense capabilities—to curb hiring and, in some cases, even reduce headcount.
Aainst that background, it would have been understandable had firms decided to drop their standards for treatment of employees—that tends to be what happens in an employer's market. However, in a field where top talent is hard to find and harder still to hold onto, firms in the tech consulting space have been proactive about keeping their employees happy.
So which firms did it best? The Vault Top 10 Tech Consulting Firms for 2013 are as follows:
- Booz & Company
- Deloitte Consulting
- Booz Allen Hamilton
- Clarkston Consulting
- SunGard Consulting Services
Clarkston Consulting and Smartronix Dominates Best to Work For Rankings
Booz & Co. performed strongly in this year’s Best to Work For Rankings, scoring highly in most categories, while taking the top spot in three categories – Overall Satisfaction, Ability to Challenge, and Selectivity.
However, Clarkston Consulting and Smartronix also stood out for their strong performance in the Best to Work For rankings—between them, the firms had 15 No. 1 rankings in the Best to Work For categories. Clarkston Consulting emerged at the top of 10 separate categories, including Firm Culture, Interaction with Clients, Supervisor Relations, Formal Training, Informal Training, Diversity for Women, Diversity for Minorities, Diversity for LGBT Individuals, and Overall Diversity.
Employees at the firm explained why a job seeker would choose Clarkston over other firms, stating, “Clarkston may not have the brand recognition of an Accenture or a Deloitte, but it is truly an organization where you can grow your skills and build lasting relationships with colleagues and clients.” Discussing the firm’s strength in diversity, one survey respondent added, “The firm is pretty diverse and has a good representation of the consulting industry. Minority and foreign employees make up a good percentage of the firm and have equal opportunities to succeed.”
Smartronix earned the No. 1 spot for Work-Life Balance, Work Hours, Compensation, Benefits, Diversity for Individuals with Disabilities, Green Policies and Innovation in the Industry.
One employee summed up the advantages of life at the firm, stating, “Smartronix has given me valuable skills that I'm not sure that I would have attained working for other companies. They empower you to make the decisions you need and trust that by supporting their employees and taking care of them, their reputation will help attract other quality professionals and business opportunities. They provide a competitive benefits package and are always looking for new "perks" to add. I've worked for Smartonix for over 5 years and have turned down opportunities offering better pay because I truly enjoy my job and the company I work for.”
Other winners of Vault’s Best to Work For Rankings include (along with quotes from survey respondents):
- Travel Requirements: Booz Allen Hamilton (“Booz Allen's environment has a unique culture that focuses on work and life balance, networking, and business development.”)
- Promotion Policy: Avasant (“Critical thinking is rewarded and appreciated.”)
- International Opportunities: Avasant (“The international travel can be significant.”)
- Internal Mobility: Avasant (“Ability to move up quickly is completely within the control of the new employee.”)
- Philanthropy Programs: Deloitte Consulting (“Deloitte has IMPACT Day each year where the entire firm participates in a full day of community service across the country.”)
- Firm Leadership: Deloitte Consulting (“Deloitte's leadership and strategies are very forward thinking and innovative.”)
- Business Outlook: Accenture (“We have continued to beat our forecasts and raise our outlook.”)
McKinsey & Company Is Synonymous With Prestige
Proving that its brand has staying power, McKinsey & Co. once again emerged as the most prestigious firm in the tech consulting field. "While the firm is better known for its management and strategy consulting capabilities," said Vault.com Consulting Editor Phil Stott, "McKinsey's performance in the prestige rankings just proves the strength of the firm's reputation, and also underlines the critical role that technology plays in corporate strategy in this day and age."
Survey respondents from peer firms called McKinsey the “best of the best,” “strategic and impressive,” “well respected,” a “consulting trend setter,” and quite simply, “the most prestigious consulting firm.”
IBM Still Shines In Vault Tech Consulting Practice Area Rankings
IBM Global Technology Services performed well in this year’s Practice Area Rankings, taking the top spot for Operations and Implementation Consulting and Cyber Security Consulting, while also coming in at No. 2 for Outsourcing Consulting and Public Sector Consulting. Industry insiders noted that the firm is a “big player,” “packages their technology with consulting well,” are “quick to embrace change,” and has a “solid reputation for delivering solutions.”
Accenture, which survey respondents called a “’Classic’ IT consulting firm” that is still “innovative,” was the No. 1 firm in Outsourcing Consulting this year. Deloitte Consulting, which insiders called an “industry leader,” staffed with “smart people,” topped the Public Sector Consulting category.
View the entire Vault Tech Consulting Rankings.