What Big4 Consultants Can Expect to Earn Annually



Big4 consulting firms are a great option for those who have just graduated from college and are looking for high-paying jobs with excellent career opportunities. These firms offer top salaries and benefits, making them attractive to job-seekers. But how much exactly do these consultants make?

In this guide, we will explore the average income of Big4 consultants in an effort to better understand what to expect from a job at one of these prestigious firms. We will identify the factors that influence salary levels, such as job title and experience, as well as discuss the typical bonuses and incentives available to Big4 consultants. Additionally, we will look at the trend in recent salary increases among all Big4 consultants. This guide is intended to give prospective consultancy applicants an enhanced understanding of the compensation at Big4 consulting firms so they can make an informed decision when weighing different career options.

Salaries by Firm

Being a Big4 consultant comes with great earning potential. Salaries vary greatly between the different firms, depending on the size of the firm, location, and the experience of the consultant. But generally speaking, a Big4 consultant can expect to earn a generous salary.

Let’s explore the differences in salary by firm:


PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) is a large Big4 accounting firm headquartered in London, United Kingdom. In the United States, PwC offers competitive compensation and salary packages for their consultants.

Newer associates at PwC typically start off at about the same pay grade that other Big4 firms offer for junior roles – generally starting around $70,000–$90,000 per year. This is based on experience level and location. Salaries quickly accelerate with performance and experience once regular bonuses are factored in. Senior directors or higher can make six-figure incomes at PwC depending on their seniority and location of work.

In addition to base salary increments based on performance, promotion and tenure, PwC also offers competitive bonus structures that serve as a reward-based incentive program for staff members who exceed expectations or earn certifications or designations with the firm. Signing bonuses equivalent to up to 10% of annual salary may be offered in certain markets to attract elite candidates. Advancement bonuses may also be offered if more experienced professionals move into director positions within PwC’s network of offices worldwide.


Deloitte is one of the biggest consulting firms in the world, with offices in over 150 countries. The salaries for Deloitte consultants are competitive and reflect the qualifications, experience, and accomplishments of the individual.

One of the advantages that Deloitte offers is its “Total Rewards” package. This includes base salary, bonuses, restricted stock awards, long-term incentive plans, and other forms of compensation such as travel reimbursement and tuition payment assistance.

For entry level consultants in private sector positions at Deloitte, median total compensation can range from $72 000 – $122 400 on average annually including bonus amounts. At the mid-level range (3 – 5 years’ experience), total compensation can range from $140 300 – $187 800 yearly including bonuses. Experienced level consulting professionals at Deloitte can expect to earn between $214 800 – $271 600 annually with bonuses included.

Full details regarding total rewards packages are typically provided to applicants upon receipt of an offer.


KPMG is a world leader in delivering audit, tax, and advisory services. The KPMG global brand as well as their commitment to excellent service, good working environments and professional development opportunities has gained them international recognition.

KPMG salaries in the United States vary depending on experience and position. At entry level, the average salary for KPMG consultants is about $99k per year once bonuses are taken into account. For more experienced employees, salaries can increase to around $150k – $200k per year once bonuses are included.

In addition to salaries, KPMG also offers various bonuses throughout the year in categories such as performance-based incentives, profit sharing and sign-on bonuses. Typically these amounts can total up to over 20% of an employee’s total earnings in any given year.

KPMG also offers many other benefits including:

  • Health insurance
  • Generous vacation policy (normally between 22-25 work days)
  • 401(K) contributions with company match up to 6%
  • Tuition reimbursement
  • Flexible working hours (including remote work)

Overall package earnings for employees at KPMG typically land within the range of anywhere from $110 – 250k annually or even higher depending on additional benefits packages that may be associated with certain positions.


At Ernst & Young (EY), the annual base salary range for a consulting employee is typically between $72,000 and $150,000. This can depend on the level of experience, role type and location.

Salaries at EY increase with each promotion. Experienced professionals may reach salaries far above the range outlined above. For example, Senior Manager salaries are often in between $113,000 to $220,000 and Directors can exceed up to $277,000 a year.

In general, salaries at large firms such as EY tend to be higher than those at smaller companies in the consulting space due to better benefits packages that allow for career growth and stability. In addition, EY’s global reach offers clients around the world access to experienced consultants with specialized skills related to their areas of expertise.

Salaries by Job Level

Big4 consulting firms offer a wide range of salaries depending on the position and experience level of the employee. The salaries can range from an entry-level position to an executive level position.

In this section, we will take a closer look at the various salaries based on the job level. We will discuss the average salary range by job level and the median salary that Big4 consultants can expect to earn annually.


Consultants are the entry-level professionals of the Big 4 consulting firms and typically report to managers or senior managers. Generally, they provide general consulting services to clients with assistance from more seasoned colleagues. A consultant’s roles usually consist of project support, client presentations, research, and analysis.

The salaries of a consultant depend upon the location in which they are located; the salaries of consultants at Big 4 firms are higher than most other organizations. Below is a breakdown of typical salaries for consultants in various locations:

  • United States:
    • New York: $65k
    • Chicago: $62K
    • Los Angeles: $67K
    • Houston: $60K
  • Canada:
    • Toronto: $70k
  • Europe & UK: Varies by location but generally between £40,000–£50,000 annually.

Senior Consultant

As a Senior Consultant at one of the Big 4 Consulting firms, you can expect to experience an increase in salary and numerous added benefits. That’s because senior consultants often earn more than base pay due to variable bonus structures and other performance-based rewards.

The base salary for Senior Consultants at the Big 4 typically begins at anywhere above $65,000, with potential bonuses that go as high as 30-40% per year. This increase in pay is meant to reward exceptional performance and loyalty.

With experience, senior consultants may earn up to $85–95K annually in salary with close to 50-60% bonus potential. The top earners–like Managing Directors and Partners have base salaries of over $400K per year plus expenses and bonuses that could reach up to several hundred thousand dollars.

In addition to pay raises and bonuses, an incumbent might be offered additional perks such as stock options, dividend payments or retirement contributions from their employing firm. Some firms also sometimes offer either paid vacation time or concierge services hence providing an even more attractive benefit package for Senior Consultants.


The manager job level is the third step in the process of becoming a full partner at one of the Big 4 accounting or consulting firms. This position typically comes with an annual salary of $90,000 to $150,000. It is important to remember that all salaries vary based on firm and location. In addition to base salary, managers may also be eligible for bonuses, incentive plans and other benefits.

At the manager level, you will be part of a team that handles more complex projects and are expected to provide more detailed insight into a companies business processes and how they might benefit from consulting services. Managers must be able to:

  • Identify issues
  • Recommend solutions
  • Help execute projects promptly and efficiently for their clients.

They often focus on developing creative ways to exceed client expectations while analyzing data that helps make strategic decisions for those businesses.

Senior Manager

At the senior manager level, most Big4 consultants will have around 8 years of professional experience and will often have specialized technical skills. Salaries vary from firm to firm, but as a baseline, a senior manager in the Big4 can expect to earn an average annual salary of $125,000 per year. Some firms may even offer their senior managers rates that range anywhere between $160,000 and $200,000 a year or more.

In addition to a salary base rate, Big4 consultants at the senior manager level may also receive additional compensation in the form of higher-level bonuses or stock options. Bonuses are typically awarded based on performance metrics and may vary greatly depending on individual achievements as well as overall company performance. In terms of stock options, it is not uncommon for Big4 consults at this level to receive equity stakes that put them in line with the company’s executive leadership team.

The pay gap between junior consultants and senior managers is substantial, so for those striving for top-level positions within these consulting firms, it’s important to demonstrate exemplary skills and dedication to climbing the career ladder. For those who make it to the top levels within their respective firm organizations, however, there is plenty of reward waiting in terms of compensation and other incentives that can increase earnings potential significantly.


Director is the 2nd most senior job level at Big4 consulting firms and directors can expect to earn a base salary of around 180k-220k per year on average. This amount does not include bonuses and other incentives. Directors typically have experience serving as an Engagement Manager for one or two years in their current role before being promoted to Director, making them the top members of their project teams. Further advancement could involve promotion to Principal or Partner, the highest levels in consulting firms.

At this level, directors typically work hands-on with clients while managing a team of junior consultants and analysts – often times leading multiple projects simultaneously. Allowing directors to gain higher exposure towards own areas of expertise such as:

  • Strategy development
  • Market research
  • Operations improvement
  • Business transformation

These skills translate well into other roles outside of consulting that offer more advantages such as venture capital investing, corporate development programs or specialized executive positions among others.

Bonuses and Other Benefits

Working as a Big4 consultant is one of the most sought after and highly lucrative opportunities in the job market. Not only do Big4 consultants have the potential to earn an impressive base salary but they also have other benefits such as bonuses, stock options, and a range of other incentives.

In this section we’ll be looking at the bonuses and other benefits available to Big4 consultants.

Sign-on Bonuses

Sign-on bonuses are offered to new consultants to help bridge the gap between their former salaries and the Big4 consultancy rates. Sign-on bonuses can be significant and can vary greatly according to an individual’s qualifications, experience and performance in the interview process. Consultants should also be aware that sign-on bonuses are often paid out in multiple iterations and some may only be available if the consultant remains with the firm for a specific period of time.

In addition to potential sign-on bonuses, consultants will often receive additional benefits such as:

  • Vacation days
  • Meal allowances
  • Health insurance
  • Retirement planning

These benefits may be subject to taxation or fees, so it’s important that all terms and conditions associated with them are understood before signing an offer letter. Beyond these financial perks, there’s also the added benefit of participating in exciting projects that offer exposure to cutting edge technology and influential personnel.

Performance Bonuses

In addition to modest base salaries, top performing consultants can expect to receive performance bonuses on an annual basis at most of the major consulting firms. Bonuses are typically awarded as a percentage of base salary, though the exact percentage can vary greatly by region and level. It is worth noting that more junior staff may not be eligible for bonuses, or may only receive them (pro-rata) depending on their tenure with the company.

Performance bonuses are not guaranteed and are generally linked to team or personal objectives rather than overall company performance targets. As such, bonus payouts tend be variable in nature and may fluctuate significantly from year to year. Corporate culture also plays a role – some companies place higher value on bonus payouts than others, meaning total take-home pay could differ significantly from one firm to another if both offer similar base salaries. Be sure to inquire about bonus policies before signing an offer letter.

Other Benefits

In addition to the generous monetary compensation, consultants can also expect to receive a comprehensive benefits package that includes a 401(k) plan, health insurance, vacation and holiday pay, free meals and snacks for long hours worked during project engagements, flexible spending accounts for non-medical expenses and life/dental/disability insurance.

Furthermore, Big4 Consulting often follows standard consulting practices that allow employees to work from home part of the time on certain projects. It’s beneficial for both the employee and employer because it reduces stress for the Consultant during long hours and cuts associated overhead costs for travel, meals etc. Accredited programs may also be available at no cost; bigger consultancies have established strong corporate relationships with accredited institutions to provide tuition reimbursement when enrolled in approved programs.

Additionally, Big4 Consulting typically provides its consultants with industry certifications at their expense; this is advantageous because they tailor their training programs according to the requirements of clients and future employers. Professional development courses are made available as well – these range from polishing soft skills such as business etiquette or presentation skills to official language classes in multiple languages such as French, Chinese or Spanish. While not always paid (unless you’re in management consulting or an MBA program) these classes help Consultants stand out in confident interviews and create amazing value for any future employer.


After considering the large number of factors and variables associated with the salary of Big 4 consultants, it is safe to say that consultant salaries are quite varied and depend on the individual consultant’s qualifications and work experience. The key takeaway is for potential recruits to not only focus on the potential pay scale but instead pay attention to establishing expertise in certain areas that can help increase their earning potential.

Big 4 consolidation and transformation initiatives offer investors a chance to gain professional experience with a top-tier consulting firm, develop management skills, enhancing business acumen, and be exposed to global businesses. For those considering a career in consulting or already working in the field of Big 4 Consulting, an understanding of the industry standards regarding compensation can help shape expectations for their future earning potential. Understanding how compensation models vary from company to company can also be beneficial when navigating a client’s offer or evaluating roles within different organizations.

Ultimately, remaining vigilant as economic effects likely influence current market conditions should prove beneficial in making decisions on advancement opportunities or employment offers.