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6 Consulting Firms That Should Be Top of Your List if You Want Work-Life Balance

work life balance

For most high achievers in the consulting field, it’s a dream that may seem impossible to realize: in to work by 9am, out of the office by 5pm.

In most industries, such a schedule is a thing of the past but for consultants, long hours and frequent travel have always gone with the territory. But increasingly, consulting firms are recognizing that not all employees want to devote their entire waking lives to their work. What’s more, firms are realizing that offering a less demanding track can be a key method of recruiting top talent and keeping them for the long haul. In fact, many companies are finally recognizing that employees with balanced schedules last longer with their companies and perform better. To see which firms are offering a more balanced lifestyle to their employees, Ivy Exec has the list of a consultant’s best options for clocking in and clocking out.

  • Small Firm, Big Time

Your best bet if keeping your travel and hours to a minimum is a priority will be a smaller, boutique firm. With most of the major, large consulting firms, few—if any—employees are working an average of 40 to 50 hours a week. Even fewer are seeing two days of travel or less. At the boutique firms, however, travel can be limited and there is a wider variety of average hours that consultants are keeping.

Unsurprisingly, a consultant’s best bet for low travel and reasonable hours is our number one ranked boutique firm Vynamic. About 85 percent of consultants at this Philadelphia-based firm do not travel at all while only about 10 percent travel one day a week. About half of the firm averages a reasonable 50-hour workweek and the while about 40 percent enjoy a 40-hour workweek. No one in the firm reported working more than a 60-hour week.

Analysis Group, number three on our list of top boutique consulting firms, is another choice for employees who don’t want to hit the road: 75-percent of the firm travels one day a week or not at all. While no employees reported working less than a 50-hour workweek, the majority do not exceed that amount.

At number six on our list of top boutique consulting firms, Acquis Consulting Group sees almost 90-percent of its employees traveling one day a week or less. And while there is a very small minority of workers who report logging 70-hours a week or more at their desks, about 80-percent of employees work a 40-hour to 50-hour week on average.

  • Big Firms, Some Options

The Advisory Board, number five on our top ranked large consulting firms, is a rarity in our top ten for having a wide range of travel and work hour options. With about 75-percent of the firm traveling one day a week or less, there are still 25-percent of employees tasked with traveling between two and four days per week. As for hours, there is a wide range. With most of the top, large firms seeing no employees reporting a 40-hour workweek, the Advisory Board is a rarity yet again in that about 15-percent of employees get to clock in and out with a relatively flexible nine-to-five. Another 35 percent average about a 50-hour workweek. The other half of employees at the firm report working 60 to 70 hour workweeks.

Number 11 on our ranking of top, large consulting firms is Silicon Valley based Protiviti. This finance and tech firm of about 3,800 employees sees a healthy range of time expected on the road and in the office. About 60-percent of employees travel one day a week or less. Even more encouraging: half of the firm reports working a 40-hour workweek, the other half reports working a 50-hour workweek. No employees reported working more hours than that to Ivy Exec.

  • Honorable Mention

While at first glance, McKinsey & Company’s average work-life balance breakdown would seem grueling at best, the firm embraces a philosophy that gives workers the time to regroup and refresh in between projects. With the majority of the firm traveling four, five or more days per week and reporting that they average upwards of 70-hours ever week, when you’re on with McKinsey, you’re really on. But the firm’s Take Time initiative allows consultants to step away from their desks for sabbaticals between projects. The company has also developed its Pace program to allow McKinsey workers to opt for the level of commitment they devote to their job at different points in their life: for example, if an employee has a kid and wants to work fewer days per week or if an employee wants to devote himself to returning to school part time, he can choose to dial back at work to do so.

About the Author

R. Kress is an Emmy Award winning journalist whose reporting and writing has appeared in national media from NBC News to the International Herald Tribune. She has covered news from cities around the world including Jerusalem, Krakow, Amman and Mumbai.