Bain & Company has regained its position as the top consulting firm to work for in Asia-Pacific, ending rival McKinsey's two-year reign, according to a new survey by career information site Vault.com, which attributes Bain's climb back up the rankings to its focus on the quality of life of its employees.
"This year Bain edged back into the top spot due to the firm's commitment to firm culture, training, compensation and work-life balance. It will be interesting to see how McKinsey responds next year," said Phil Stott, consulting editor at Vault.
The survey, published on Tuesday, polled more than 500 consulting professionals across the APAC region. Respondents were asked to assess their firm as well as their peer firms on a variety of factors including prestige, practice area strength, firm culture, compensation, overall satisfaction and hours, among other factors.
McKinsey, which edged down to second place, was trailed by A.T. Kearney, Oliver Wyman and Roland Berger Strategy Consulting, in the third, fourth and fifth spots.
PricewaterhouseCoopers, Sia Partners, Arthur D. Little, L.E.K. Consulting and OC&C Strategy Consultants rounded out the top ten.
The consulting industry, known for its gruelling hours and incessant traveling but also healthy compensation, has been losing some of its shine among job seekers in recent times, says Stott, because of the comparative attractiveness of other industries—especially technology.
"The top consulting firms know that, and so have been increasingly focusing on quality of life as a means to attract and retain top talent," he said.
Bain took the top spot in 15 quality of life categories - including internal mobility, international opportunities, promotion policies, vacation policies and work-life balance – and also swept the diversity rankings. "There was no other firm that even came close," Vault said.
While McKinsey is still regarded the most "prestigious" firm in the industry, according to the poll, it did not perform as well on the quality-of-life front.
Discussing why this may be the case, Vault quoted one unnamed McKinsey consultant: "I think that the firm leadership is the strongest in the industry, especially in the region. But innovation is difficult, as the business model requires corporations to change their cultures to fully recognize value of consulting."
McKinsey's did dominate practice area rankings, outshining competition in seven practice areas: economic consulting, energy consulting, financial consulting, healthcare consulting, management consulting, strategy consulting and retail consulting.