irg executive search finance

Cash is not King

When salaries are so similar, what can companies do to elevate their offering?

In 1997 Steven Hankin (McKinsey & Co.) coined the term ‘War for Talent’ referencing the ever more competitive field in which companies seek to hire employees. 23 years later and the war has only intensified.

Whereas Management & Strategy Consulting firms used to have the pick of the market, nowadays Technology, Digital, and Marketing firms are more and more able to compete.

The global strategy consulting market has grown at a rate of around $1 billion per year since 2011, and with overall attrition at around 14 per cent, it is abundantly clear that firms must do more than just pay well to get the people they need.


Travel is of course a major part of the consulting world with many people spending 80% of their time away from the office. It would be a stretch to suggest this will change overnight, but perhaps year by year we may see fewer Consultants onsite Monday to Thursday. More than anything having the option to reduce travel is something that can be extremely attractive.

IRG works with a firm who have lowered the travel demands on their Consultants to 50%, allowing them to attract some truly excellent Consultants from MBB firms and market leading Tech companies. In many cases, the opportunity to spend more time with family and less time on the road was a major pull factor.

With the technology available to us all in 2020, it is easy to be there for clients without actually being there.


One of the most consistent themes that underpins companies hiring strategies is the matter of diversity. Many firms still don’t know how to go about identifying or attracting the people they need to diversify their business. Many struggle to even understand why their current strategies are not working.

Whilst plenty point to the efforts, they are making to increase diversity, surely the best read of how seriously they are is the boardroom. In a recent search one senior candidate commented how refreshing it was to see a business where there was so much diversity at leadership level, ultimately being the convincing factor in agreeing to meet.

Candidates consider the make-up of potential employers more now than ever.


Company culture is a particularly difficult thing to quantify. How can you put across how entrepreneurial a company is through an article on a website? How can you portray how collaborative an environment you have through a phone call or interview?

The fear many Consultants have when they move from one firm to another, is that they will be essentially doing the same job with a different name over the door. And if the culture at your current company is something you love about where you work, why take the risk.

One-way companies can differentiate themselves from the competition is the interview process, this in itself can speak volumes about the sort of environment you are walking into. In our experience, companies who involve Partners at an early stage, and hold multiple meetings with candidates, tend to have more success. Something as simple as the wording, arranging meetings instead of interviews, can play a big role in how people view a business.

Whilst compensation of course play a major part in decision making, more and more we see Consultants choose their next employer based on other things. The luxury Consultants have is that barring a disaster, they know they will be well paid wherever they go.

By offering flexibility with travel, by maintaining a strong company culture, and by truly diversifying at leadership level; Strategy Consulting firms can increase the probability that when their offer is being weighed up against a competitor, they hold the advantage.