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Management consultant salary: how much do I earn as a consultant?

The consulting industry is on the rise. More than 124,000 consultants now work in around 20,000 consulting firms in Germany - and the trend is rising (source). This is not surprising, because the need for advice due to the digital transformation is currently enormous.

In order to meet this need, management consultancies are increasingly providing new candidates and are also ready to dig deeper into the staff coffers when it comes to compensation. This of course makes the consultancy profession all the more popular with young graduates. Management consultants who want to change within the industry also benefit from this trend.

If you want to join, change or leave management consulting, you are probably interested in what your salary will look like. In this article we will tell you everything you need to know about the topic Management consultant salary need to know how it is structured and what influencing factors are involved.

Overview:

That's how much you earn as a consultant

How is the salary of a management consultant structured?

What influencing factors are there when it comes to salaries for management consultants?

How much will I earn after leaving consulting?

➥ Infographic: Management consultant salary (PDF)

Why do business consultants earn “so much”?

Your career in consulting

That's how much you earn as a consultant

The average salary of management consultants in Germany is around 69,899 euros gross per year (Glassdoor, May 2019). For young professionals, it is around 50,000 euros (BDU). But these are only general averages. The Salary range in consulting is enormous and ranges from less than 30,000 euros to over 780,000 euros per year (source: CONSULTING.de, salary study, 2017).

That means wage fluctuations of over half a million euros! That's because with your salary many different factors play a role. Your salary can vary depending on which profile you have, which company and which office you work in, what career level you are at. Therefore, it is difficult to make an accurate salary forecast for you.

In this article we want to give you salary ranges as guidelines, but above all we want to explain to you how your salary as a consultant is structured, what it depends on and how it can develop during and after your consulting career. We also recommend the following Salary calculator to try out to calculate your salary a little more precisely tailored to you:

  • Glassdoor: Salary calculator by location and company
  • SalaryReporter.de: Salary calculator based on professional experience and location
  • Salary analysis: Salary calculator for consultants in Switzerland with the option of filtering by federal state, gender and qualification

How is the salary of a management consultant structured?

First of all, it is important to understand how your salary as a management consultant is structured. Usually it consists of three main ingredients:

Fixed salary

The fixed salary makes up around 78% of your total salary and is transferred to you monthly, regardless of what service you deliver. All firmly planned and regulated in the employment contract Salary components are part of the fixed salary, which depends on a number of factors that you can only influence to a limited extent.

The Christmas bonus respectively thirteenth salary is also part of the fixed salary in most consultations. You will also receive this in December or January together with your monthly salary. If you are lucky, you will also get a vacation pay, which will be paid to you shortly before summer time.

Variable salary

In consulting, variable components in the form of bonus payments are common. These are linked to certain events and are determined in the annual interviews with your supervisor. These can be, for example, the following factors:

  • You have yours personal annual goals achieved, such as completing an important project, receiving a training certificate or publishing a text.
  • Your company has theirs Corporate goals, such as a certain percentage growth or a certain turnover.
  • You have special achievements for the company's success contributed, such as acquiring a new customer or recommending an employee.

The following applies: the higher the technical responsibilitythe higher the variable remuneration. This becomes clear on the following graphic. For example, a consultant without a managerial role with good performance receives a variable portion of around 6,000 euros per year, which means a 10% increase on his salary. A consultant who takes on more responsibility such as project acquisition and contract negotiations can, in the best case, expect a salary increase of over 20% and thus earn up to 30,000 euros more per year.

Additional services

Additional benefits are not always stipulated in the contract and are therefore often not included when calculating the salary. If you add them up, however, you will notice that one considerable sum comes together. You can benefit from many additional services privately (for example from the company car) or in the long term after your consulting exit (for example from the financed advanced training).

Additional servicesCommonly used in the consulting industry are the following:

  • Office equipment: Pocket calendar, ergonomic office furniture
  • Technical equipment: Company laptop, smartphone, video conference software, etc.
  • Mobility Services: Company car, BahnCard, local transport ticket, travel allowances
  • Further training opportunities: Language course, trainings, certificates
  • Supplementary pension: Retirement provision, child care
  • Wellbeing services: Canteen meals, meal allowances, fruit and drinks in the office, fitness studio discounts
  • Special conditions: Hotel chain discounts, discounts at selected retailers

What influencing factors are there when it comes to salaries for management consultants?

When you get started with counseling Salary negotiations not common at most companies. However, there are some factors and decisions before and during your career that you can use to influence your salary. Flexibility in the location of your workplace, a certain and above all very good degree, for example, can be advantageous for you. But let's take a closer look at the factors influencing the salary for management consultants.

Education

If you are just starting out in your career, both your degree and the subject play a decisive role in your salary when it comes to studying. The higher your study graduation, the higher your starting salary is, of course.

study graduationStarting salary (including bonuses etc.)
Bachelor degree ("Analyst") 43.000-46.000 €
Masters degree 48.000-66.000 €
MBA / PhD 55.000-76.000 €

Source: CONSULTING.de salary study, 2017

Depending on Subject the starting salary can also differ. Natural scientists are particularly popular with an average gross salary of 60,000 euros per year. This is followed by lawyers with 53,000 euros. Business economists, IT specialists or engineers earn an average of 48,000 euros after starting their consulting work.

work experience

If you decide to change within the consulting industry and thereby bring you Consulting experience with, you have a good chance of getting a higher salary. Because your employer benefits if you have acquired a professional appearance through your first experiences and can deal with difficult situations better than a newcomer.

Entry levelStarting salary
Junior Consultant 33.000-64.000 €
Consultant (with professional experience) 45.000-76.000 €
Senior Consultant 55.000-99.000 €

Source: CONSULTING.de salary study, 2017

See also: Salary calculator based on work experience and location

Leadership responsibility

Whether or not you take on management responsibility is one of the biggest influencing factors on your salary. For managing Director the average annual salary is, for example, around 146,000 euros per year. The following guidelines apply to other consultants:

It is noticeable that for all salary values ​​the mean or average value is higher than the Median value especially the more professional experience the consultants bring. This indicates a few outliers that are considerably higher than the other salary values.

Career level

As soon as you have made it into management consulting, you can start climbing the career ladder. Regular career jumps Including salary increases, the large MBB consultations usually take place every two to three years. In smaller consultations, the time intervals can be somewhat longer.

In addition, you have six months Feedback talks with your boss. This gives you the opportunity to bring forward the next promotion if you can show special achievements such as the acquisition of a large mandate.

Annual gross fixed salary according to career level (without managing director)

Career levelMedian (without PV)Median (with PV)
Junior Consultant / Junior Associate / Analyst 45.000 €
Consultant 52.000 € 57.000 €
Senior consultant 65.000 € 75.000 €
Manager / Senior Manager / Associate Partner 83.000 € 90.000 €
Partner / Principal (owner / managing director) 120.000 €

Source: CONSULTING.de salary study, 2017

Location

The location of the management consultancy you work for also affects your salary level. The more attractive the location of your company, the better the chances of getting very good pay (but the more difficult it is to get into these offices). So lie in Metropolitan cities like Frankfurt, Hamburg and Munich the salaries are generally above average. In small towns, especially in eastern Germany, the salary is significantly lower.

As in other professions, the salary level also differs depending on the person federal state. So take a look at the overview of the average annual salaries for management consultants, broken down by federal state:

federal stateAnnual salary
Hesse 69.600 €
Baden-Wuerttemberg 66.300 €
Hamburg 64.600 €
Bavaria 64.200 €
North Rhine-Westphalia 61.500 €
Rhineland-Palatinate 60.000 €
Bremen 58.500 €
Saarland 58.000 €
Berlin 57.700 €
Lower Saxony 56.000 €
Schleswig-Holstein 53.900 €
Thuringia 49.500 €
Saxony 48.800 €
Brandenburg 48.200 €
Saxony-Anhalt 48.100 €
Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania 46.400 €

Source: SalaryReporter.de; 2018

company

The larger the management consultancy, the higher the salaries of the consultants are usually. The deliberations can roughly be broken down into the following Salary categories organize:

Company typeAnnual fixed salary for newcomers
MBB, Roland Berger 70.000-90.000 €
Great advice, Big Four 50.000-56.000 €
In-house advice 45.000-60.000 €
Small consultation (5-20 employees) 42.000-48.000 €

Source: SalaryReporter.de; 2018

MBB / Tier 1 consultations

At the strategy consultancies MBB (McKinsey, Boston Consulting Group and Bain) the salary for young professionals is approximate 15 to 30 percent higher than the average. Similar salaries are also paid for tier 1 consultancies such as Roland Berger.

LevelExperienceTier 1 advice
Consultant Beginners min. 70.000 € – 100.000 €
Senior Consultant Beginners max. 80.000 € – 140.000 €
Manager After 5 years 150.000 € – 180.000 €
Senior manager After 5-7 years 180.000 € – 250.000 €
partner > 10 years Over € 300,000

Source: Kienbaum study (from SalaryReporter.de; 2018)

"Big Four" and other top consultations

For the “Big Four” and other top consultancies, the average annual salary is around 50,000 to 56,000 euros. The “Big Four” include KPMG, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), Deloitte and Ernst & Young. They are the four largest auditing firms that are now increasingly focusing on consulting. Simon-Kucher & Partners, Capgemini Invent and BearingPoint are examples of other top consultancies.

In-house advice

This is followed by in-house consultations, for somewhat more modest salaries, but also for one better work-life balance and fewer working hours per week are known. Examples are:

functionMin. FixMax fixØ bonusØ total
Consultant 48.000 € 90.000 € 10.000 € 60.000 € – 70.000 €
Project leader / manager 70.000 € 120.000 € 15.000 € 90.000 € – 100.000 €
Principal / Senior Manager 90.000 € 140.000 € 25.000 € 120.000 € – 130.000 €
Partner / VP 110.000 € 170.000 € 40.000 € 150.000 € – 180.000 €

Source: Kienbaum study (from SalaryReporter.de; 2018)

Smaller consultations (5-20 employees)

According to the Federal Association of German Management Consultants (BDU) count in Germany nine out of ten consultations to smaller providers with annual sales of less than one million euros. The average salary is lowest for this type of company and is around 42,000 to 48,000 euros.

Branch

The final factor influencing your salary as a business consultant is the industry in which you advise. Personnel consultants, for example, earn considerably less than strategy consultants. The following table gives you a rough overview of the annual gross fixed salaries by field of advice:

Annual gross fixed salary according to consulting field (without managing director)

Consulting fieldMedian (without PV)Median (with PV)
Strategy and corporate governance 72.000 € 100.000 €
Organization / processes / project management 60.000 € 81.000 €
IT / software / information management 58.000 € 85.000 €
Industry / technologies / engineering services / logistics 57.000 € 66.000 €
SAP 57.000 € 89.000 €
staff 48.000 € 83.000 €

Source: CONSULTING.de salary study, 2017

How much will I earn after leaving consulting?

In DAX companies such as Allianz or Deutsche Post, the majority of the board members consist of former MBB consultants. As a consultant, many doors are open to you after the consulting exit. From project manager to board member - here the salary can vary just as widely as in consulting itself. It depends on your position and similar to the influencing factors mentioned above.

Unfortunately, there are no known studies on the salary after leaving. That is why we have analyzed our data for you. The salary preferences of our consultingheads-Memberswho are interested in leaving consulting, we can give you a good insight:

Average salary preferences for full-time positions

work experienceMinimum gross salary per year
1-3 years ~ 65.000 €
3-5 years ~ 79.000 €
5-8 years ~ 91.000 €
8-11 years ~ 123.000 €
11+ years ~ 140.000 €

Salary preferences of consultingheads users for full-time positions according to work experience; n = 2110; Source: consultingheads

Also the numerous jobs on consultingheads from ours Corporate partnerswho are looking for candidates with consulting experience give us a similar impression:

Average salary ranges of full-time jobs based on work experience

work experienceminimummaximum
0-3 years ~ 59.000 € ~ 72.000 €
3-5 years ~ 71.000 € ~ 93.000 €
5+ years ~ 85.000 € ~ 96.000 €

Salary ranges of full-time jobs on consulting heads according to desired professional experience; n = 100; Source: consultingheads

Exiting the group promises that highest salary, followed by medium-sized companies and start-ups:

Average salary ranges of full-time jobs by type of company

Company typeminimummaximum
Group ~ 77.000 € ~ 91.000 €
Medium-sized enterprise ~ 71.000 € ~ 89.000 €
Start-up (growth phase) ~ 57.000 € ~ 72.000 €

Salary ranges of full-time jobs on consultingheads by type of company; n = 100; Source: consultingheads

Table: Which consulting exit is right for you? [PDF]

Salary in freelance consulting

More and more consultants are making the decision to opt out of freelance consulting. To become a successful freelancer, good preparation is important. Take a look at our guide for aspiring freelance consultants. Here we have already discussed the daily rate for freelance consultants. The Daily rate of the projects that we broker through consultingheads, averages between 700 and 1,500 euros. It depends on your expertise and work experience.

The annual salary you get is determined by the number and duration of your projects. According to Consulting.de, freelance consultants charge an average of 150 days a year. With good acquisition, you will earn an annual income of between 100,000 and 150,000 euros.

Daily rates for freelance business consultants

work experienceØ daily rate min.Ø daily rate Max.
Beginners 500 € 700 €
5-10 years of experience 700 € 1.200 €
Top expert 1.200 € 1.800 €

Infographic: Management consultant salary (PDF)

Why do business consultants earn “so much”?

As a management consultant, you have probably already been confronted with the prejudices of your profession. “Consultants are overpaid and tell managers what the employees already know.” But the “high” salary is justified when you consider the price that management consultants pay for their salary. There are three reasonsexplaining the salary of the consultants:

  1. A consultant contributes considerably to the annual sales a management consultancy. The daily rate that the corporate customer actually pays for a consultant ranges up to 5,000 euros for large strategy consultancies. As a consultant, you only get a small part of that.
  2. overtime are often found to a large extent in the industry, but are rarely paid. Most consultants dream of the 40-hour week.Ten hours of overtime per week is the average standard and a 60- to sometimes even 90-hour week is not uncommon. In terms of the number of hours, the salary doesn't look that spectacular anymore.
  3. The consulting profession is with a high Travel volume connected, which ultimately also sacrifices your free time. As a consultant, you may have to spend entire weekends at the location of your project and if you make it home on the weekend, it's time to go to the airport at 5 a.m. on Monday morning.

Your career in consulting

Like any other profession, the job as a consultant has its disadvantages. But above all, the steep learning curve is one of the most important motivating factors for young graduates to start consulting. The attractive exit options also play an important role. If you are in your studies and want to get involved in counseling, then you should definitely register with PrepLounge, the world's largest case interview community. Here you will find everything you need to prepare for your case interviews.

You want to know about your Career opportunities stay up to date during and after the consulting? Then register with us and never miss any more opportunities!

Found a bug or have you suggested improvements to our article? We are open to criticism and look forward to your feedback - via comment or email to [email protected]


Sources: Richter, M. (CONSULTING.de; 2017): "Salary Study 2017" Access to: https://www.consulting.de/haltsstudie/

Schulz, C. (Consulting-Life.de): "Finally decrypted - the management consultant salary" Access to: https://www.consulting-life.de/endet-entschluesselt-das-unternehmensberater- salary/

Salary reporter (SalaryReporter.de; 2018): "How high is the salary of a management consultant (m / f)" Access to: https://haltsreporter.de/gehaelter-von-a-bis-z/fuehrungskraefte-stabsfunktion/unternehmensberater/