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Management Consultant Salary: How much do I earn as a consultant?

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The consulting industry is flying high. More than 124,000 consultants now work in the approximately 20,000 consulting firms in Germany – and the trend is rising(source). This is not surprising, because the need for consulting due to the digital transformation is currently enormous.

To meet this demand, management consultancies are increasingly recruiting new candidates and are also prepared to dig deeper into their personnel coffers when it comes to compensation. This, of course, makes the consulting profession all the more popular among young graduates. Similarly, management consultants looking to make a move within the industry are benefiting from this trend.

If you want to enter, change or leave management consulting, you are probably interested in what your salary will be in the process. In this article, we will tell you everything you need to know about the salary as a management consultant, how it is structured and what influencing factors there are.


This is how much you earn as a consultant

How is the salary of a management consultant structured?

What are the influencing factors in the salary for management consultants?

How much will I earn after leaving consulting?

➥ Infographic: Management Consultant Salary (PDF)

Why do management consultants earn “so much”?

Your career in consulting

This is how much you earn as a consultant

The average salary of management consultants in Germany is approximately 69,899 euros gross per year (Glassdoor, May 2019). For young professionals, it is around 50,000 euros(BDU). But these are only sweeping averages. The salary range in consulting is enormous, from less than 30,000 euros to over 780,000 euros per year (source: CONSULTING.de, salary study, 2017).

Management consultant salary consulting consultingheads blog consultingheadlines
Distribution of total salary with median and quartiles; salaried consultants; n=949 (CONSULTING.de salary survey, 2017)

That means salary fluctuations of over half a million euros! This is because many different factors play a role in your salary. Depending on your profile, the company and office you work for, and your career level, your salary may vary. Therefore, it is difficult to make an accurate salary prediction for you.

In this article we want to give you salary ranges as a guideline, but above all explain to you how your salary as a consultant is structured, what it depends on and how it can develop during and after your consulting career. We also recommend that you try out the following salary calculators to calculate your salary more accurately:

  • Glassdoor: Salary calculator by location and company
  • GehaltsReporter.de: Salary calculator by work experience and location
  • Salary analysis: salary calculator for consultants in Switzerland with the possibility to filter by state, gender and qualification

How is the salary of a management consultant structured?

First of all, it is important to understand how your salary as a management consultant is structured. Usually it consists of three main components:

Consultant salary components consultingheads blog consultingheadlines
Shares (in %) of various salary components in total salary; permanent consultants; n=949 (CONSULTING.de salary survey, 2017).

Fixed salary

The fixed salary makes up about 78% of your total salary and is paid to you monthly, regardless of your performance. All salary components that are fixed and regulated in the employment contract are part of the fixed salary, which depends on a number of factors that you can only influence to a limited extent.

The Christmas bonus or thirteenth salary is also part of the fixed salary at most consultancies. You will receive this additionally in December or January together with your monthly salary. If you’re lucky, you’ll also get a vacation bonus paid to you just before summertime.

Variable salary

In consulting, variable components in the form of bonus payments are common. These are linked to specific events and are determined in the annual meetings with your supervisor. These may include, for example, the following factors:

  • You have achieved your personal goals for the year, such as completing an important project, receiving a continuing education certificate, or publishing a text.
  • Your company has achieved its business goals, such as a certain percentage growth or revenue.
  • You have contributed special services to the company’s success, such as acquiring a new customer or recommending an employee.

The higher the professional responsibility, the higher the variable compensation. This is clearly shown on the following chart. For example, a consultant without a managerial position receives a variable component of around EUR 6,000 per year, which represents a 10% increase in his or her salary, assuming good performance. A consultant who takes on more responsibility, such as project acquisition and contract negotiation, can expect a salary increase of more than 20% in the best case, earning up to 30,000 euros more per year.

Business consultant variable salary statistics consultingheads blog consultingheadlines
Variable salary components; total: n=885; with variable salary components: n=747 (CONSULTING.de salary survey, 2017)

Additional services

Fringe benefits are not always contractually defined and are therefore often not included when calculating salary. However, if you add them up, you’ll find that it adds up to quite a sum. You can benefit from many additional benefits privately (for example, the company car) or in the long term after your consulting exit (for example, the financed training).

Additional benefits that are common in the consulting industry include the following:

  • Office equipment: pocket diaries, ergonomic office furniture
  • Technical equipment: company laptop, smartphone, video conferencing software, etc.
  • Mobility benefits: Company car, BahnCard, local transport ticket, travel allowances.
  • Continuing education opportunities: Language course, trainings, certificates
  • Supplementary benefits: Pension plan, childcare
  • Well-being benefits: Canteen meals, meal allowance, fruit and drinks in the office, gym discounts.
  • Special conditions: Hotel chain discounts, discounts at selected retailers.
Management consultant salary company car statistics consultingheads blog consultingheadlines
Additional benefit: Company car; n=885; (CONSULTING.de salary survey, 2017)

What are the influencing factors in the salary for management consultants?

When you enter consulting, salary negotiations are not common at most firms. However, there are some factors and decisions before and during your career that you can use to influence your salary. Flexibility in the location of your workplace, a specific and, above all, very good degree can be advantageous for you, for example. But let’s take a closer look at what influencing factors there are in the salary for management consultants.


If you are a young professional, both your degree and your field of study play a decisive role in your salary. Logically, the higher your degree, the higher your starting salary.

Degree Starting salary (including bonuses, etc.)
Bachelor’s degree (“Analyst”) 43.000-46.000 €
Master’s degree 48.000-66.000 €
MBA/PhD 55.000-76.000 €

Source: CONSULTING.de Salary Survey, 2017

Depending on the field of study, the starting salary may also differ. Natural scientists are particularly popular, with an average salary of 60,000 euros gross per year. This is followed by lawyers with 53,000 euros. Business economists, computer scientists or engineers earn an average of 48,000 euros after entering consulting.

Become a business consultant Case interview preparation PrepLounge

Work experience

If you decide to move within the consulting industry and already have consulting experience , you have a good chance of receiving a higher salary. Your employer will benefit if you have acquired a professional demeanor through your first experience and can handle difficult situations better than a novice.

Entry level Starting salary
Junior Consultant 33.000-64.000 €
Consultant (with work experience) 45.000-76.000 €
Senior Consultant 55.000-99.000 €

Source: CONSULTING.de Salary Survey, 2017

See also: Salary calculator by work experience and location

Management responsibility

Whether or not you take on management responsibility is one of the biggest factors influencing your salary. For managing directors, for example, the average annual salary is around 146,000 euros per year. For other consultants, the following guidelines apply:

Management consultant salary by work experience and management responsibility consultingheads blog consultingheadlines
Annual gross fixed salary; n=949; (CONSULTING.de salary survey, 2017)

It is noticeable that for all salary values, the mean or average value is higher than the median value, especially the more professional experience the consultants have. This indicates a few outliers that are quite a bit higher than the other content values.

Career Stage

Once you’ve made it into consulting, you can start climbing the career ladder. Regular career jumps including salary increases usually take place every two to three years in the large MBB consultancies. In smaller consultations, the time intervals may be somewhat longer.

In addition, you have semi-annual feedback sessions with your boss. This gives you the opportunity to bring forward the next promotion if you can demonstrate special achievements such as the acquisition of a large mandate.

Annual gross fixed salary by career level (excluding managing director)

Career Stage Median (without PV) Median (with PV)
Junior Consultant/Junior Associate/Analyst 45.000 €
Consultant 52.000 € 57.000 €
Senior Consultant 65.000 € 75.000 €
Manager/Senior Manager/Associate Partner 83.000 € 90.000 €
Partner/Principal (Owner/Managing Director) 120.000 €

Source: CONSULTING.de Salary Survey, 2017


The location of the consultancy you work for also influences your salary level. The more attractive the location of your company, the better the chances of very good pay (though the harder it is to get into those offices). In metropolitan cities such as Frankfurt, Hamburg and Munich, salaries are generally above average. In small towns, especially in eastern Germany, the salary is significantly lower.

Just as in other professions, salary levels also vary by state. Therefore, take a look at the overview of average annual salaries for management consultants, broken down by state:

State Annual salary
Hesse 69.600 €
Baden-Württemberg 66.300 €
Hamburg 64.600 €
Bavaria 64.200 €
North Rhine-Westphalia 61.500 €
Rhineland-Palatinate 60.000 €
Bremen 58.500 €
Saarland 58.000 €
Berlin 57.700 €
Lower Saxony 56.000 €
Schleswig-Holstein 53.900 €
Thuringia 49.500 €
Saxony 48.800 €
Brandenburg 48.200 €
Saxony-Anhalt 48.100 €
Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania 46.400 €

Source: GehaltsReporter.de; 2018


The larger the consultancy, the higher the salaries of the consultants. Consultancies can be broadly divided into the following salary categories:

Company type Fixed annual salary for entry-level employees
MBB, Roland Berger 70.000-90.000 €
Top consulting, Big Four 50.000-56.000 €
In-house consulting 45.000-60.000 €
Smaller consulting (5-20 employees) 42.000-48.000 €

Source: GehaltsReporter.de; 2018

MBB/Tier 1 consultancies

At the strategy consultancies MBB (McKinsey, Boston Consulting Group and Bain), the salary for entry-level employees is about 15 to 30 percent higher than the average. Similar salaries are also paid at Tier 1 consultancies such as Roland Berger.

Level Experience Tier 1 consulting
Consultant Beginner Min. 70.000 € – 100.000 €
Senior Consultant Beginner Max. 80.000 € – 140.000 €
Manager After 5 years 150.000 € – 180.000 €
Senior Manager After 5-7 years 180.000 € – 250.000 €
Partner >10 years Over 300.000 €

Source: Kienbaum study (from GehaltsReporter.de; 2018)

“Big Four” and other top consultancies

At the “Big Four” and other top consultancies, the average annual salary is around 50,000 to 56,000 euros. The “Big Four” include KPMG, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), Deloitte and Ernst & Young. They are the four largest accounting firms that now have an ever-increasing focus on consulting. Simon-Kucher & Partners, Capgemini Invent and BearingPoint are examples of other top consultancies.

In-house consulting

This is followed by in-house consultancies, which are known for somewhat more modest salaries, but also for a better work-life balance and fewer working hours per week. Examples are:

Function Min. Fix Max. Fix Ø Bonus Ø Total
Consultant 48.000 € 90.000 € 10.000 € 60.000 € – 70.000 €
Project Manager 70.000 € 120.000 € 15.000 € 90.000 € – 100.000 €
Principal/ Senior Manager 90.000 € 140.000 € 25.000 € 120.000 € – 130.000 €
Partner/ VP 110.000 € 170.000 € 40.000 € 150.000 € – 180.000 €

Source: Kienbaum study (from GehaltsReporter.de; 2018)

Smaller consultancies (5-20 employees)

According to the Federal Association of German Management Consultants (BDU), nine out of ten consultancies in Germany are smaller providers with annual sales of less than one million euros. For this type of company, the average salary is the lowest, ranging from approximately 42,000 to 48,000 euros.


The final factor influencing your salary as a management consultant is the industry in which you consult. Personnel consultants, for example, earn considerably less than strategy consultants. The following table gives you a rough overview of the annual gross fixed salaries by consulting field:

Annual gross fixed salary by consulting field (excluding managing director)

Consulting field Median (without PV) Median (with PV)
Strategy and corporate governance 72.000 € 100.000 €
Organization/Processes/Project Management 60.000 € 81.000 €
IT/Software/Information Management 58.000 € 85.000 €
Industry/Technologies/Engineering Services/Logistics 57.000 € 66.000 €
SAP 57.000 € 89.000 €
Personal 48.000 € 83.000 €

Source: CONSULTING.de Salary Survey, 2017

How much will I earn after leaving consulting?

Management consultant salary after exit from consulting

In the Dax companies, such as Allianz or Deutsche Post, a large proportion of the board members are former MBB consultants. As a consultant, many doors are open to you after the consulting exit. From project manager to board member – salaries can vary just as widely as in consulting itself. It depends on your job and similar to the influencing factors mentioned above.

Unfortunately, there are no known studies on salary after exit. That is why we have analyzed our data for you. The salary preferences of our consultingheads -members who are interested in leaving consulting, we can give you a good insight:

Average salary preferences for full-time positions

Work experience Minimum gross salary per year
1-3 years ~ 65.000 €
3-5 years ~ 79.000 €
5-8 years ~ 91.000 €
8-11 years ~ 123.000 €
11+ years ~ 140.000 €

Salary preferences of consultingheads users for full-time positions by work experience; n=2110; source: consultingheads.

The numerous jobs on consultingheads from our corporate partners looking for candidates with consulting experience also give us a similar impression:

Average salary ranges of full-time jobs by work experience

Work experience Minimum Maximum
0-3 years ~ 59.000 € ~ 72.000 €
3-5 years ~ 71.000 € ~ 93.000 €
5+ years ~ 85.000 € ~ 96.000 €

Salary ranges of full-time jobs on consultingheads by desired work experience; n=100; source: consultingheads.

The exit to the corporation promises the highest salary, followed by the medium-sized company and start-ups:

Average salary ranges of full-time jobs by company type

Company type Minimum Maximum
Group ~ 77.000 € ~ 91.000 €
Medium-sized company ~ 71.000 € ~ 89.000 €
Start-up (growth phase) ~ 57.000 € ~ 72.000 €

Salary ranges of full-time jobs on consultingheads by company type; n=100; source: consultingheads.

Table: Which consulting exit is right for you? [ PDF ]

Table: Which consulting exit is right for you?  [PDF]
An overview and assessment of the various exit options according to security, responsibility, prestige, salary, work-life balance and flexibility. Also includes typical positions and the ideal time to exit.

Salary in freelance consulting

More and more consultants are making the decision to drop out into freelance consulting. To become a successful freelancer, good preparation is important. For that, feel free to check out our guide for aspiring freelance consultants. Here we have already discussed the daily rate for freelance consultants. The daily rate of the projects we arrange through consultingheads is on average between 700 and 1.500 Euro. It depends on your expertise and work experience.

Your annual salary is determined by the number and duration of your projects. According to Consulting.de, freelance consultants charge a median of 150 days per year. With good acquisition, you can expect annual earnings of between 100,000 and 150,000 euros.

Daily rates for freelance management consultants

Work experience Ø Daily rate Min. Ø Daily rate Max.
Beginner 500 € 700 €
5-10 years experience 700 € 1.200 €
Top expert 1.200 € 1.800 €

Infographic: Management consultant salary(PDF)

Management consultant salary infographic PDF consultingheads blog consultingheadlines

Why do management consultants earn “so much”?

As a management consultant, you have probably been confronted with the prejudices of your profession. “Consultants are overpaid and tell managers what employees already know anyway.” But the “high” salary is justified when you consider the price management consultants pay for their salary. There are three reasons that explain the salary of consultants:

  1. A consultant contributes considerably to the annual turnover of a management consultancy. The daily rate that the corporate client actually pays for a consultant ranges up to 5,000 euros for large strategy consultancies. As a consultant, you will only be paid a small part of this.
  2. Overtime often occurs at a high rate in the industry, but is rarely paid. Most consultants dream of a 40-hour week. Ten hours of overtime per week are the average standard and a 60- to sometimes even 90-hour week is not uncommon. Calculated on the number of hours, the salary then no longer looks so spectacular.
  3. The consulting profession involves a lot of travel, which ultimately means that your free time is also sacrificed. As a consultant, you may have to spend entire weekends at the location of your project, and if you do make it home for the weekend, it’s off to the airport at 5 a.m. on Monday morning.
Management consulting overtime consultingheads blog consultingheadlines
Number of overtime hours per week for all respondents in full-time positions; n=911. (CONSULTING.de salary survey, 2017)

Your career in consulting

So, like any other profession, the job as a consultant also brings disadvantages. But above all, the steep learning curve is one of the most important motivating factors for young graduates to enter consulting. The attractive exit options also play a significant role. If you’re in your graduate studies and want to get into consulting, be sure to sign up for PrepLounge, the world’s largest case interview community. Here you will find everything you need to prepare for your case interviews.

Want to stay up to date on your career opportunities in and after consulting? Then register with us and never miss an opportunity again!

Register with consultingheads and find jobs for consultants

Errors discovered or suggestions for improvement to our article? We are open to criticism and welcome your feedback – via comment or email to [email protected].

Sources:Richter, M. (CONSULTING.de; 2017): “Salary Study 2017.” Accessed at: https://www.consulting.de/gehaltsstudie/

Schulz, C. (Consulting-Life.de): “Finally decoded – the management consultant salary” Accessed at: https://www.consulting-life.de/endlich-entschluesselt-das-unternehmensberater-gehalt/

Gehaltsreporter (GehaltsReporter.de; 2018): “What is the salary of a management consultant (m/f)?” Accessed at: https://gehaltsreporter.de/gehaelter-von-a-bis-z/fuehrungskraefte-stabsfunktionen/unternehmensberater/

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