Consulting graduate schemes - EY or PwC?


Hi everybody,

I recently received two offers- management consulting scheme at PwC and Advisory Consulting Program at EY. I have been trying to compare the two but still can’t reach a decision yet. I would really really appreciate it if anyone can give me some advice based on what they know or what they have experienced.

Here is the comparison:
PwC- better reputation; larger market share for consulting; salary slightly lower than EY but there is a bonus scheme; 21-month rotational program with Prince II project management qualification; recruiting a lot more new graduates; recruitment process a lot less friendly and enjoyable than EY’s

EY- very pleasant experience at interview and AC (people seemed very nice, including the partner); 2-year rotational program with CIMA foundation qualification

My questions are:
Since PwC have so many new graduates each intake, does it make it more difficult to get recognized for your work?
Does anyone know about career progression in these two firms? (HR at PwC said they still don’t have data for promotion rate for people finishing the graduate scheme, since it only started 2 years ago…)
How useful are CIMA foundation and Prince II or do they not really matter?
What about the atmosphere in these two firms? Is it just me or does EY seem to be friendlier?

I would appreciate it so much if someone can help answer any of these questions. Thanks a lot!
Also, feel free to ask any questions regarding the recruitment processes. I’d be happy to help.


I would probably pick EY if I were you. I think at pwc you end up feeling a bit like a number with no direction. I found the atmosphere alot friendlier at EY too, and I could see myself enjoying my career, I didn’t really feel the same at pwc. In terms of the reputation etc, I wouldn’t worry too much, most people view the big 4 as kind of the same these days. I definitely feel work would be more valued at EY!

Can I just ask the graduate starting salary at both, and also the progression of salary increase after the grad scheme, or during if applicable.

Thanks and i hope that helps


Thanks a lot for your advice. That’s what I have been thinking about too. I think I’m probably gonna go for EY.
As for the salary, there’s really almost no difference. EY offers 31,500 pa and PwC offers 31,000 (both for the London office), which means no difference after tax.
I don’t know about salary increase after the grad scheme… but I think they are probably more or less the same.


good decision! it must be difficult, i think on face value most people would say pick pwc. Is that salary for advisory? My friend told me that graduates in audit start on 28,500?


Yeah, it’s 31,500 for advisory. I heard salary for advisory is a bit higher than audit.


hi onetozon,

I have recieved an offer from pwc MC too, as far as i remember it says in the contract that the salary last year was 31k and its being reviewed and prolly will go up this year for grads in line with inflation, though it wont be too much of a rise, but i do guess they should be trying to bring it up to the deloitte mark of 32,600, if in their own words they pay an industry competitive pay!

Secondly what is the bonus scheme that you are talking about in your first post?

n yes it is true the pay for advisory is higher than that for Audit, and the reason behind that is people in audit study towards the ACA qualification which is around £ 2,500, and then they do get like 4-8 weeks of study leave( correct me if im wrong, im not too sure about that)


Hi Abz,

Thanks for the information and congratulations on the offer.

It says in the contract that PwC has a bonus scheme although it isn’t clear how much one can get, as it depends on business situations. But it does say that new joiners can join the scheme as well. EY doesn’t offer bonuses.



yes i am quite interested in learning about benefits and bonus schemes etc. I didnt know that was the reason behind the salary. My friend working for KPMG said that generally advisory gets paid more because it is a more challenging environment. I may be wrong


@ onetozon

Thanks, and yes i just spoke to my friend working for pwc and yes there is a so called discretionary bonus scheme, although he works in assurance so im not sure if the bonuses compare or not, however from what he has told me the bonus is near enough being pretty much negligible as its 100/200 pounds which you’ll just get at the end of the year as part of the business’s performance. But im guessing if in the coming years performance is going to improve the bonus might get better too but i highly doubt its going to be anywhere near a respectable bonus, something like Accenture’s 10k sign-on bonus (albeit its over 2 years making it 5k for each).


We as outsiders to the company (not being their employees) can argue that the reason for the higher pay is that the work is more challenging, however its difficult for them to do that (legalities BS). So they adopt the approach of making one batch do the professional qualification and the other gets a higher pay. Talking about KPMG i have spoken to a few people there too and it seems like people working in Audit and advisory get the same pay, i.e. somewhere around 27,500 and that is because both the stream of graduates do a professional qualification! either ACA/CA.


I think you should definitely take into account the ambition of PwC in the Consulting arena. PwC’s UK Consulting business is run by Ashley Unwin, who is young and very popular. They’re growth plans are huge and the opportunities that could arise from this for you might be great. Arguably PwC also has the best/most diverse client list. I can however understand your concern of feeling unappreciated/unrecognised etc with such growth.

I also went through the PwC recruitment process- I actually had a very pleasant experience, with everyone being very friendly and everything being well organised, so I guess it can be a bit of luck as to who you get on the day etc…however, I’ve not been through the EY process to compare it to.

I would imagine both PwC and EY would welcome you to go and visit them informally, take a tour of the office and meet some people you might be working with. This might help you gauge which firm you would be best suited to.

As for the bonuses, I have heard that they prob won’t exceed about £2k at more junior levels (but more likely £500-£1000) but start to form a higher proportion of your overall earnings as you move up the ladder. They pale in comparison to banking bonuses but it’s all about reaching director/partner in the professional services firms where the rewards are huge.


@ Abz
They also said that the level of bonuses also depends on the service line you work in, so if consulting is doing very well, you are likely to get a (larger) bonus than if it’s not. And they are doing well now, so probably not a bad time to work for them.


Thanks a lot for the input. I agree with you that the recruitment process at PwC is very well organized and everybody appeared to be very professional. And it’s very true that it largely depends on personal experience. I only got to meet 2 people from PwC consulting, one being my interviewer, but I met many consultants at EY, who were all very nice and helpful. I guess that did make a difference…


Hi all, i have been through both companies and to be honest they are quite similar. Although pwc are much bigger in the consulting filed both firms have ambitious growth plans so i think its a great time to start at either!

Thing that caught my eye was that at EY you will do the cima foundation and then probably the full cima if you wish where as you dont get that choice with pwc. I think thats pretty important but then again any company will recognise that you will have had good training at either of the firms.

I love how the offices will soon be next door to each other haha!


Do PWC not do CIMA at all? Not even the foundation? Which qualification do they do?