PA Consulting Group Reviews | Glassdoor.ca

PA Consulting Group Reviews

Updated 15 January, 2018
356 reviews

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  1. "Great Company, has management challanges"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Healthcare Consultant in New York, NY (US)
    Current Employee - Healthcare Consultant in New York, NY (US)
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at PA Consulting Group full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Great people, strong opportunities and ability to grow

    Cons

    Poor senior management in some areas of the business is limiting growth


  2. "good company to work"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends

    I worked at PA Consulting Group part-time

    Pros

    good work life balance

    Cons

    limited growth opportunities for work


  3. Helpful (2)

    "Varied and interesting place to work with talented people"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Cambridge, East of England, England (UK)
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Cambridge, East of England, England (UK)
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at PA Consulting Group full-time

    Pros

    Recruitment is carefully done and brings in very talented individuals
    You are your own person and get to grow and work your 'brand' in the business - it can be very empowering
    A wide range of technology work in a variety of sectors but with the benefit of being able to work with the wider consultancy services to really broaden your career
    A meritocratic culture which drives the right behaviors, If you work hard you will be rewarded
    As a software engineer I have been able to branch into a wide range of roles, doing high-end rewarding work - far from just being a monkey at keyboard
    Light touch and flat management structure

    Cons

    Work-life balance could be better


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  5. Helpful (3)

    "Principal Consultant"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    Quality and culture of the people

    Cons

    Management is ultra traditional and not moving with the times, nor looking after its people


  6. Helpful (3)

    "Clear signs of decline"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    Current Employee - Partner in Copenhagen (Denmark)
    Current Employee - Partner in Copenhagen (Denmark)
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    Trainings and onboarding is good
    People seem friendly

    Cons

    Skills are outdated, extremely poor in digital capabilities
    Horrendous management : partners are out killing each other
    Culture is toxic
    Sales is chocking
    Utilization is driving everyone mad

    Advice to Management

    Please just step aside and sell this firm before its worth a lot less


  7. Helpful (2)

    "Old boys network in preparation for retirement"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    The company is only in the UK a significant player, so all the other countries have to work globally and integrate themselves into the UK structures. This is good if you want to work in international teams, but it is a nightmare for administrative processes (try to explain UK admins German law) and if you want to staff projects. If you make your objectives they normally let you do what you want. You just have to learn to ignore most of the internal tasks (usually the partners forget the task after a couple of days anyway)

    Cons

    PA is an old boys network with a group of partners who own almost all of the 49% of the shares which are not owned by Carlyle (51%). You get your own shares on all levels, but because of the small bonus you have never a chance to get a significant package. Bonus is calculated by the UK guys in a very intransparent way - in fact they have every year an excuse why to pay no bonus at all or just a small one. Promotions are intransparent and depend only on your personal relationship with the partners. There are no soft objectives - only utilisation for all below Principal Consultant and additionally sales credits for Managing Consultant and above. If you can book on a project is decided by the partners. The sales credits are also decided by the partners, which means as a MC you have to share your credits with 2 partners even if they don't contribute anything - you can't sell alone you always need 2 of them. Since Carlyle bought 51% of the shares the organisation is totally in Cost Down mode. They fired lots of the admins end of 2016 - now you have no front desk or other admin functions in most of the offices (but small postits on the door bell explaining the UPS guy how to deliver stuff). Everything is highly centralised in the UK or delegated to the Consultants. It feels more like a group of Freelancers now. Since the Carlyle investment also the objectives are executed very rigidly. If you're not utilised you're in severe danger - no matter if it is your fault or not (e.g. when the partners don't sell anything). If you like working like a horse including weekends, don't like your family and your friends, want everything decided for you (but beeing responsible for anything which goes wrong) and you find appreciation or at least a fair salary on market average are an offense - this is your place to work.

    Advice to Management

    Change leadership model from this egomanic culture to a P&L oriented one. Allow people to be creative and give them the freedom to decide things on their own.


  8. Helpful (4)

    "Interesting projects - Great talent - Strange Internal Management Practices"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Principal Consultant in Cambridge, East of England, England (UK)
    Former Employee - Principal Consultant in Cambridge, East of England, England (UK)
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at PA Consulting Group full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    The variety of interesting new product development jobs are brilliant - across FMCG, consumer electronics, healthcare, and defence.
    The package offered is competitive within the Cambridge area, but with a lot of emphasis put on bonus remuneration.
    PA attracts the best software, mechanical, electronic engineers, applied scientists and industrial designers all under one roof in Cambridge.

    Cons

    The outright emphasis on "utilisation" is forced in to consultants at all ranks across the business. This leads to very strange behaviours at all ranks within the company. Front end work seems to take the largest hit, with junior consultants not being rewarded for efforts that lead on to large projects for others later on.

    The appraisal system is flawed. Bad feedback is frowned upon - not used to help people.

    Senior staff seem disconnected from the day-to-day project work going on.

    If you want to succeed you need to sell sell sell...

    Advice to Management

    Reduce the emphasis on "utilisation" - concentrate on our people doing the best job possible!

    Be strategic with front end projects - allow more time to focus on pitching and selling great work and then opening up projects properly.

    Put less emphasis on bonus remuneration. Employees don't want this - raise salaries and be more fair with remuneration across the ranks. This is not the 1980's.


  9. Helpful (5)

    "PA "Strategy""

    StarStarStarStarStar
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    Pros

    Employees are given a great deal of flexibility and autonomy. I need to add another sentence in order to reach the twenty word minimum.

    Cons

    The company's "strategy" is to constantly change their strategy. There is always lip service being given to some issue or another, but nothing ever changes except for the fact that management makes unilateral decisions that affect everyone and benefit only them. They are constantly rearranging the company, creating new departments and laying people off. Nothing ever gets better , because the core problems of a lack of respect for and lack of communication with their employees are always there. Management never takes and responsibility for the messes they create, in part because they aren't paying enough attention to even know they have created messes.
    A great example of this was their decision to lay off 20% of their admin staff recently. The unsurprising effect of this has been long delays in reimbursing expenses, and a general lack of admin support. They chose to lay off many admin people who had been there for 20 years or longer, risking an age discrimination lawsuit. This is how they show gratitude for years of underpaid, overworked service.
    They have an impressive website, nice wardrobes, and a polished manner, but the truth is that the company is a mess because they just plain do not care.
    If you are a highly educated, white, attractive, slim non-American male, you may do well here.

    Advice to Management

    Resign and let people who have ethics run the business.


  10. "good place to work"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in London, England (UK)
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in London, England (UK)
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook

    I have been working at PA Consulting Group full-time

    Pros

    - good people
    - good benefits
    -lots of freedom

    Cons

    - pay structure encourages bad behaviour from seniors


  11. Helpful (6)

    "Serious flaws with no improvement in sight"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at PA Consulting Group full-time

    Pros

    A degree of independence in the work.
    The chance to work with some very bright and experienced people, if you can find them.
    Impressive client list.

    Cons

    Too much spin. Virtually everything claimed by Management is the opposite.
    Despite claims to the contrary:
    - It is not a transparent organization.
    - It is not a meritocracy, especially for the higher ranks.
    - It isn't innovative, entrepreneurial, nimble or progressive. In fact, it is very much stuck in the 20th century and persists in operating like an Old World Gentlemen's Club.
    - It is not global or even international but parochial, demonstrating real inability to achieve growth in major international markets, like the US.

    Instead of leadership (or even some degree of people management), the company is left to run on a complex network of archaic systems. A process or system is in place to "solve" everything, replacing the need for real decision-making or leadership. A recent poorly thought through organizational change is considered to be a "growth strategy." In fact, the only visible strategy is actually a tactic, and that is for everyone to sell more. Despite all of the evidence that external partner hires generally fail, they persist in hiring senior consultants and partners from outside, many of whom have little to no consulting experience. The outcome of this flawed policy is that inexperienced partners create an increasingly corporate environment because it's the only thing they know. In the end, PA has become a loose collection of business strays trying to be consultants within an overly bureaucratic organization.

    Carlyle bought in over a year ago and brought no improvements. This is a huge source of disappointment for many, since employees now have a stake in this ownership structure, which may or may not pay off at some uncertain time in the future (possibly after many employees are no longer with the company).

    There are also all of the minor details, which are disappointing: remuneration is low by industry standards; the bonus scheme is completely mismanaged, demonstrating a fundamental misunderstanding in how to incentivize employees; the travel policy is outrageously tight-fisted; and the entire evaluation system that determines pay rises and bonuses is laughable. To name a few.

    Advice to Management

    Define a vision - what will PA look like in 5 years?
    Create a proper growth strategy to achieve the vision.
    Deconstruct the systems and processes and replace with trust in your colleagues to make the right decisions and get the job done.
    Find the courage to change the many things that simply don't work anymore (if they ever did). There is literally nothing right or good about how promotion decisions are made for more senior consultants -- Fix this. Hint: When it is so complex that no one can understand it, change it.
    Demonstrate integrity. The bad behaviours displayed by Partners indicates a lack of character and does not go unnoticed by clients, the media, and others.


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