PA Consulting Employee Reviews about "utilisation"

Updated 3 Feb 2020

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3.3
60%
Recommend to a Friend
60%
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PA Consulting CEO and Director Alan Middleton
Alan Middleton
251 Ratings
Pros
Cons
  • "Work life balance can be challenging when matched with client demands(in 32 reviews)

  • "Too much emphasis on utilisation for lower ranks(in 31 reviews)

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Reviews about "utilisation"

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  1. Helpful (4)

    "It's a sales machine..."

    2.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Principal Consultant in London, England
    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    No Opinion of CEO

    I have been working at PA Consulting full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    Some great people. Some interesting work...

    Cons

    Pale, male, stale. Relentless focus on sales and utilisation.

    PA Consulting2020-02-03
  2. "Very knowledgeable and smart team"

    4.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Principal Consultant in London, England
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at PA Consulting full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    Smart and quick on the feet; collaborative and very agile organisation. Senior leaders connect very well with junior resources. Highly recommended.

    Cons

    Bonus is heavily dependent on utilisation

    PA Consulting2019-11-21
  3. Helpful (1)

    "Great people - culture can improve"

    3.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Principal Consultant in London, England
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No Opinion of CEO

    I have been working at PA Consulting full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    Experienced and intelligent people, and very good training. Good work variety, mixing strategic and technical work. Strong capability in some core areas against competitors.

    Cons

    Performance model based on sales and utilisation seems obsolete, as it stiffles collaboration across teams and accounts and it doesn't suit everyone for their career progression.

    PA Consulting2019-11-27
  4. Helpful (9)

    "Don't believe the interview spiel or reviews by management"

    1.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Developer in Belfast, Northern Ireland
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No Opinion of CEO

    I worked at PA Consulting full-time

    Pros

    Some of the people are great. Everyone below management are really helpful and friendly. Convenient location and nice office.

    Cons

    Where to start? Interviewees are sold a lie by management. They mention loads of good work but some of the stuff is blatant lies. Ask current employees about the projects everyone is told about in the interview and you'll soon find out how bad they were. Not just bad but actual failures. You'll be told there is loads of great work but soon find yourself spending time with no project assignments with the promise that a great one is just around the corner, just like 20 other people. When you're unassigned you'll find yourself doing fun work like filling out documents for bids or gathering feedback for someone in London. The majority of work in Belfast is support work. The projects that the Belfast office do have involve awful work and long hours. Work life balance can be awful. In one meeting we were told that we shouldn't feel pressurised into answering emails outside of hours and if we need to work from home then that's no issue. This was quickly followed up by an email from the Belfast manager saying working from home impacts performance and it should be limited. Hours are not that flexible. We were often given one message by London and then another from local management. Management have obvious favourites in the office. If you weren't one of the first employees in Belfast then you will struggle to break into that club. Belfast management have no idea how to motivate. There is no protection and poor leadership from assignment managers on projects. It's all about utilisation and revenue. If you are not utilized you are nothing to this company and your bonus will suffer. If you want promoted you have to make yourself known to the London office. It's all about getting your face out there. Doing good work is not enough in here. It needs to be good and someone in London has to know about it. The Belfast manager constantly bangs on about how revenue is so good compared to other branches and companies that PA have acquired. This only feeds into the us Vs them divide between London and Belfast. Belfast opinion in work is often looked down upon. Particularly when teams are split across multiple locations. Travel is a must if you want good work in here. Don't believe the minimal travel tripe in the interview. If you do like travel though then you can find yourself in exotic environments such as Dundee or Croydon. Every cloud eh? Year end and mid year reviews are awful. If you find yourself underutilized through no fault of your own then expect an awful score. It never fails to amaze how many ways this company and management can demotivate. There are loads of great companies in Belfast. Give them a go. You'll be so much happier.

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    PA Consulting2019-11-28
  5. Helpful (1)

    "Innovative, collaborative, and inclusive workplace"

    5.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in London, England
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at PA Consulting full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    Tradition of innovation and outside the box thinking. Lots of geeky people who are amazing at what they do Collaborative environment where you can work on the same team with people from three continents. The company culture is increasingly inclusive. Different ideas and values are respected, and celebrated. It is not as diverse as I'd like, but the inclusivity is a great step to achieving greater diversity (supported by the CEO). Growing firm. Senior leadership are driving growth successfully. It's a hidden gem. While PA is not a household name, clients provide great feedback and work with PA many times. Great combination of innovation and consulting. Great at turning ideas to reality.

    Cons

    Feels somewhat male, pale and stale. Lots of public sector work, which is good in some ways, but bad in others. For example it leads to 'extend the work' rather than 'get the job done' mentality. Too much emphasis on utilisation for lower ranks. Quality of work should be encouraged over quantity of work. Knowledge management systems need to improve.

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    PA Consulting2019-02-25
  6. Helpful (26)

    "Dull, Uninspiring, Uninformed, Unintentional"

    1.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in London, England
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at PA Consulting full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    Nothing immediately springs to mind.

    Cons

    Culture: Expect to be used without any meaningful reward, recognition or remuneration. People barely talk in the office, and definitely no one smiles. New joiners are barely acknowledged. This is a meat grinder. Having worked in other consultancies and high performing companies, it is really the worst culture I have experienced. There is supposed to be a relaxed dress code in the main office, however the atmosphere is so 1950s that I have seen people give up and revert to the “shiny suit” look very quickly. This is an old boys club, with lots of insecure types around every corner. I have overheard conversations that would make a diversity and inclusion officer’s skin crawl… Some partners walk around with an arrogance that can only mean one thing – they have never left PA and seen the wider business world. PA partners are roughly equivalent to director level at the Big 4, or in some cases, high level senior manager. They lack charisma, leadership and people skills, and definitely don’t give a damn about your career. I only came across one person who I found genuinely inspiring during my time at PA, and they were ex Big 4. Career management: Training is mainly performed internally, to a corresponding standard. I paid for my own training course in the end, for a certification that was needed for promotion. Promotion depends largely on who you know as opposed to being “meritocratic”. They will explain that utilisation is king, however it is only a metric used to manage people out of the business (which happens regularly, mainly due to the relaxed hiring policy - see below). If you are good, and are utilised it is subsequently a case of making sure you get on with your line manager (who will have no people skills to speak of, and no interest in your career) and making sure that you find a "home" i.e. a group of likeminded people clustered around someone with some sort of sales role. Particularly difficult to do as everyone is always fighting over any project that looks like it may not bore them to death, and the need to be utilised. These things do not always correspond with your skill sets, or intended career direction. People are assigned the first project that is available, no matter your skills or interests. Some long running projects may be the only one that you see in your time at PA. People: Currently the trend is to grow as much as possible by hiring as many as possible. The staff turnover is high, so growth is really quite difficult to achieve... unless you can get volume.... this requires new hire standards to drop. New joiners are of uncertain experience or suitability, and even worse, can be managed out of the business pretty quickly, or leave of their own accord pretty sharpish if they are good. It seems that tenure is a key marker for success at PA. If you are here long enough, all your competitors will have left, either to move on upwards elsewhere (if they are good enough), or into to the non-descript, low responsibility, low autonomy, industry roles that PA prepares people for. Projects: Projects are uninteresting, with PA mainly performing resource augmentation tasks or project management. There is no need for expertise, this is by the numbers stuff. Remuneration: Recruitment low-balled me, but promised "the bonus". The mythical bonus is rarely seen, even if you really are doing very well; for example overachieving my utilisation target (well over 90%), and getting excellent reviews (top grades) will not get you either a case for promotion, or even 60% of your original bonus, let alone an overachievement bonus. Pay rises are pitiful. You will be sold a grade or two above your current grade regularly, with no recognition of your true capabilities. There is an air of Kindergarten about the place – real responsibility is rare, trust is rarer. In summary; For me, PA was akin to being in a pool of resources (not people), being assigned to the projects that could be sold by anyone with sales responsibilities. The projects were dull, mainly resource augmentation type. Oh yes, the interior of the new office doesn’t seem to have enough working space, leaving people to camp out in the informal meeting areas all day. I still don’t understand how people don’t know how to make use of an office space properly... but then again this is PA. Not recommended, unless you are desperate.

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    PA Consulting2018-09-18
  7. Helpful (18)

    "Hit and miss"

    1.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Principal Consultant in London, England
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at PA Consulting full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    PA seem to be able to hire genuinely high quality professionals from time to time, but they leave shortly due to the overall environment. I treasure those very few I got to know there and we keep in touch, but that has nothing to do with the company, but rather that high quality professionals keep together regardless of the circumstances.

    Cons

    Unfortunately a lengthy list, that would require immediate improvement...I should say complete cultural change: 1. What you are told during the hiring process is not even close to what they are giving you (e.g. bonuses, that came up in other reviews as well) and salaries are below the industry average . 2. Utilisation is king, rather than quality service to clients, which makes it hard to develop long-lasting client relationships....I've seen very opportunistic approaches which are damaging and the leadership doesn't seem to notice it. 3. Internal fights and segregation over sales in selling positions make it almost impossible to approach bigger clients in a professional, coordinated manner or to offer them meaningful services. 4. Male oriented culture with an approach towards women, that is far from being equal, let alone being fair (this includes what opportunities are given to women and how their performance is evaluated in general). I've seen the term "old boys' club" in other reviews, which is a good reflection on the atmosphere. 5. Zero leadership from your line manager and zero direction as to how to navigate the corporate politics to get the value out of your hard work (a good example would be that I've never seen leadership acknowledging if they had made a bad decision or in case they were wrong) 6. Bad work-life balance - if your area of expertise is in high demand, they will work you to death to get their profit, but if your area of expertise cannot be sold well enough, then you don't get support to strengthen other areas to get on more/better projects either. If you over perform, leadership keeps the reward to themselves, it won't show in your bonuses. 7. Overall lack of transparency on evaluation of performance and lack of visibility on leadership decisions and directions. 8. Complete disregard of your feedback while you are on board, which speaks volumes of the arrogance of the leadership. 9. They don't support newcomers at all. I don't say you should not stand your ground and be responsible for your development and utilisation (after all you want to be a consultant, so an outgoing, positively pushy personality is key), but for the first few months, there should be support to find your feet in the organisation to develop your portfolio, which they say they do, but this isn't the case (I was lucky that I was in high demand due to my area of expertise).

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    PA Consulting2018-09-23
  8. Helpful (5)

    "good and bad"

    3.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Managing Consultant in London, England
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No Opinion of CEO

    I worked at PA Consulting full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    some great people, and really interesting work in the Technology Innovation practice in particular.

    Cons

    i worked within a team with little direction or sense of purpose, everything driven by near term goals of utilisation . Senior hire largely left to just get on and sell with little collaboration or support.

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    PA Consulting2018-08-27
  9. "Review"

    5.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Consulting Analyst in London, England
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at PA Consulting full-time for less than a year

    Pros

    Very people focused and you are in control of your own destiny in terms of assignments

    Cons

    Very utilisation focused which means you cant always shape your brand as much as you would like.

    PA Consulting2018-08-03
  10. Helpful (7)

    "Great flexibility, not so great leadership"

    2.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Consultant in London, England
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at PA Consulting full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    -Flexible working and working from home - Good pay and bonus -Interesting clients with international work if you are interested in travelling

    Cons

    - This business cares only about sales; the people are irrelevant and uncared for. Top talent is always leaving for this reason. - Promotions are based solely on utilisation score (all the way up to senior manager / managing consultant level!). Client feedback and glowing reviews are irrelevant. - Management really don’t know what they’re doing. - Maternity leave pay is rubbish in comparison to other companies (3 months full pay only) - Leaders are not empowered - Diversity and inclusion is a tick box activity rather than something that leaders truly care about - Uninspiring leaders - Nothing new to say in terms of thought leadership and always behind in the marketplace.

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    PA Consulting2018-03-28
Found 31 reviews