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Accenture Salary – Lowest Compensation in the Consulting Industry?

This is a comparison of salaries for entry level positions in the US for University graduates interested in Business and IT jobs.

Statistics show that Accenture is paying much less than its competition, both in IT and Management Consulting.

The exhibits below show both salary ranges (minimum to maximum) and average salaries per position. While the information should not be considered to be exact, it is useful for evaluating career options and negotiating your income.

Graduate Salaries in the US – IT Positions

The following salary information is for entry level positions that university graduates with an IT focus can apply to. All numbers are total remuneration (incl. wage, cash and stock bonuses, profit sharing, etc.)

Salaries in USDAverage
Software Dev. Eng. II
Software Dev. Eng. I
Software Developer
Program Manager
Software Dev. Eng. Test
Systems Analyst
Software Dev. Eng.
Programmer Analyst
Programmer Analyst II
Programmer Analyst I
Salaries in USDAverage

Source: glassdoor.com where employees report their salary information. This information was updated October 15, 2011. Due to constant new reporting, numbers will change slightly. See the latest statistics for: Amazon (552 reports on salaries from Software Development Engineers II and 505 from Software Development Engineers I at the time of compiling this list), Google (1496), Microsoft (3743, 1260, and 4809, for the respective positions), IBM (205), Deloitte (185), and Accenture (505 reports for Programmer Analyst II and 184 for Programmer Analyst I). Note: company overview pages on Glassdoor.com only show (fixed) salaries, click on a specific position to view total pay.

As the exhibit shows, a Software Engineer at Google would earn 150% more than what a Programmer Analyst I earns at Accenture (on average). Not a nice thing to know that you earn only 40% of what your old class mates at Google (Software Engineer) are raking in, or 47% of what a Microsoft Program Manager earns (comparing average salaries). Makes you feel little appreciated.

An entry level salary at Accenture (average salary for a Programmer Analyst I at $47k) is only:

  • 73% of a Systems Analyst salary at Deloitte (average $64k)
  • 73% of a Programmer Analyst salary at IBM
  • 52% of a Software Development Engineer in Test (SDET) salary at Microsoft
  • 49% of a Software Development Engineer salary at Microsoft
  • 47% of a Program Manager salary at Microsoft
  • 47% of a Software Development Engineer I salary at Amazon
  • 40% of a Software Engineer salary at Google
  • 39% of a Software Development Engineer (II) salary at Amazon (!)

Graduate Salaries in the US – Business Positions

This salary information is for entry level positions for university graduates with a business focus. All numbers are total earnings (incl. salary, bonuses, etc.)

Salaries in USDAverage
Business Analyst (MC)
Procter & Gamble
Assistant Brand Manager
The Boston Consulting Group
Associate Consultant
Booz & Co
Advisory Associate
Mgmt. Consultant Analyst
Salaries in USDAverage
Source: glassdoor.com where employees report their salary information. This information was updated October 15, 2011. Due to constant new reporting, numbers will change slightly. See the latest statistics for: Procter & Gamble (32 reports for Assistant Brand Manager), McKinsey & Co (90), The Boston Consulting Group (61), Booz & Co (15), PricewaterhouseCoopers (286), and Accenture (51). Note: company overview pages on Glassdoor.com only show (fixed) salaries, click on a specific position to view total pay.

Of course it might not be fair to compare Accenture to prestigious companies like McKinsey, The Boston Consulting Group, Google, Amazon.com or the branding power-house Procter & Gamble. But, even compared to “normal” companies (though very good employers) like IBM or PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), Accenture pays badly.

If you would go to Procter & Gamble, you could expect to earn a hefty 60% more than the average Accenture salary as a Management Consulting Analyst. Seen from the other perspective, the Accenture analyst earns 63% (average $60k) of the Assistant Brand Manager at P&G (average $95k). But then again Accenture has little marketing expertise and mainly does CRM installations when it comes to marketing so if you’re interested in that field Accenture would be a very bad option anyway.

Compared to PwC and Booz, the numbers improve slightly as the Accenture analyst earns 93% or 80% (respectively) of average entry level positions at those firms.

According to Wetfeet.com the range for undergrads in IT consulting is $35k-55k per year and in Management consulting $56k-84k per year (2010) in the US.

Accenture is at the very bottom for IT (minimum at $35k and paying average $47k) and with an average barely above the very bottom for management consulting (minimum at $44k, average $60k).

Surely this article will get critiqued, it’s a sensitive topic. And true, the numbers are not exact due to being self-reported, statistically insignificant (e.g. the cases of Booz and P&G), etc. but the conclusion stays the same, Accenture pays well below what other companies pay.

Salary is not all, but it is a clear signal of how much your employer values you, and in Accenture’s case, how you will be treated.

Hopefully this information will increasing transparency and help Accenture employees negotiate salaries and put upwards pressure on the average compensation levels.

July 29, 2011
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  1. I didn’t know Glassdoor was the authoritative figure for your research. That’s like using Wiki to do a research paper. I’m a former ACNer but it is no better in industry. There are so many factors you must consider when comparing salaries that don’t come across in what is reported on Glassdoor. Simply going off a job title doesn’t yield a conclusive observation. A “programmer” at ACN is working on much different things than a “programmer” at Google, Amazon. Salaries are also reflective of where one was educated, the cost of living in that city (Google is mostly in Palo Alto, and you are comparing to ACN which is everywhere), as well as current market demand, and inflation. What a user on Glassdoor reports is not always timely to the present day. But most importantly, salary is not everything. I also completely disagree with your statement that your salary determines how you are treated. Your attitude and ability to produce timely and effective deliverables and work products determines how you are treated.

    • Thanks for the input David!

      I agree that there is a bias in self reported data (Glassdoor), so this info should not be seen as exact. I would say it is good enough, as that bias is the same for all companies in the article.

      Also note that the ‘sample’ is quite large, for Google there are about 1500 people who reported their salaries and for Accenture about 500 people. If someone wants to lie (up or down), it is averaged out quite well.

      That said, the data gives a GOOD COMPARISON between companies.

      A programmer at Accenture is certainly not the same as a programmer at Google! But as a soon-to-be graduate, those positions are your alternatives (among many others). Either you take a job for Google in Palo Alto (coolest place on earth?) developing search engines, android, Google+ or similar for 65-116k or a analyst job for Accenture going to the city where you’re assigned to, to install ERP, CRM or similar for 35-46k.

      P.s. I think Wikipedia is an excellent research tool. The days when it was not trustworthy are long gone. It has a lot more reviewers and authors than other articles. It is often the top result on Google meaning people link to it, Google deems it the best result, and that Wikipedia get loads of traffic each day – this keeps quality up and any spam is removed quickly. Imagine Brittanica which is edited and printed once a year by a limited number of employed staff. Long live crowd sourcing!

  2. I would say that potential emplyees look elsewhere rather than Accenture. This is nothing more than a decorated sweatshop with fluorescent lights. In many cases sales and marketing wants a high profile client so badly that they will make concessions that drastically affects the employees. And when you have the temerity to ask for more resources because you are doing the job of 5 people you get verbally abused and declined for budgetary reasons. The pay is also nothing to write home about. Yes I negotiated the salary based upon expectations but Accenture slapped 4 times the work on me within months after being hired. Bottom line – there may be a few cases of happiness but they pale in comparison to the gross reality that is Accenture.

    All that glitters is not gold and in this case – to say that they are tin foil would be an expensive compliment.

  3. I absolutely agree to the article with one point though:

    Most of the people I’ve seen within Acc, are pretty much worthless compared to what would flourish within Google/MicroSoft/many other places.

    They are essentially people that don’t like our disciple, finishes a Computer Science course because their parents pushed them to that or something and achieved good grades in academia because they studied a lot…

    That’s why they’re happy “greping” files around and say they have unix-experience (!) or write 1000s of getters and setters and call it Java programming. Most of them in any other place mentioned in the article would have been kicked out way before end of probation…

  4. If you are in “ATS” or now it’s called Solution then your career will go no where.
    Back in the days lot of people who were not even High School graduates, were put onto this workforce, but then ATS, now Solutions has raised this bar, so all Solution people are slightly more qualified, but ATS Perception will never change.

    Work with any manager (including his/her cronies) and see how he takes credit for every single thing you produce. Few people, running “Solution” workforce, will “NEVER” let you switch your workforce if you have marketable technical skills. Even though Accenture says you can switch your workforce, but if you are stuck in Solutions, then your only option is to quit Accenture. Again, as per Accenture you can switch your workforce, but if you are Solutions workforce, and you have some marketable technical skills, then Solution workforce, will not let you switch. It’s not going to happen. Forget it, and either stay as a second class slave, or leave.

    “Solutions” is a cheap workforce, but no one will say that on your face. Only when you
    produce something valuable at a client side, is when you will see how people change
    on your face. You could realize this within first month of being hired, or some people realize this within 6 months. First two years, unless you know someone from inside, you will not be promoted, and believe it or not, Solution workforce will also not give you a raise as they want to make sure that you will not leave. So, you will not get anything accept few 100 bucks for variable pay. (literally). No one will say all this to your on your face, you just have to be in it to understand it. Accenture is a cheap employer, and this will never change.

  5. Well first of all I received much higher pay than what it shows here from ACN. As an entry level, I accepted offer same range as Booze & Co which does not include signin and relocation.

  6. Accenture can be best described as the greatest jungle of fools, where only hyenas and blood sucking leeches, lazy lumps live. Other companies have increment yearly based on market evaluation and inflation… Here at the cheap world of Accenture we have decrement based on looting by management and blood sucking cheaters. What more can you expect when you have people around without professional expertise and even a graduation?

  7. Please be very careful in joining Accenture. Most of the management are known for nefarious activities. Every year, they are given a target for sacking 10% of the people. Irrespective of how one is performing, if you are not in the good books of the Manager – the manager will put you in that 10%. Then the HR will tell ask you to quietly put down your papers . They will also tell that if you keep shut, then they will give you honourable exit else they will kick you. I have seen people who got promoted in one appraisal cycle and then sacked in 6 months (person who worked 6 years continuously with the company. If you have no other options, then join Accenture. But negotiate very hard with them – on leaves, on promotions, on increment considering that they are totally opportunistic and would kick you out the very day they get a chance. I have seen people being lucky and working for Accenture for 15 years, only to be disgracefully kicked out. Treat each day at the company as the last day and maximize your returns on your stay at Accenture.

  8. Accenture is a great place to work, but a better place to leave. For junior people and graduates its a great environment to learn generic skills, but for senior people (e.g. 5yr +) its almost mandatory to leave asap.