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Urgent: Is PA worth joining?

#1 Urgent: Is PA worth joining?
28/11/2005 09:15

Potential PAer

I'm in the nice position of having two firm offers, one from PA (speak for themselves) and one from a smaller niche consultancy (40 strong) and growing 40% increases for the last 2 years and on line for this year two, they are the best in their field but unknown outside of it.

Both packages are about the same and both roles are strategy (focusing on technology), the hrs will be longer at PA and there'll be more time away from home, but ultimately will probably produce more money in the long term. Also if it became necessary to find new job PA always looks good on a CV. Although the clients in the smaller place will know the name well and should employ as quickly (theat will be a step out of consltancy I guess).

I'm really confused I always though big consultancy after my current job at a niche - to get broader experience - but the work I have produced in the niche by far outclasses the big places for quality and infact my company was often subcontracted to do the technical work whilst the big companies handled the rest.

I can't have gone through all the arguments - and I'm looking for advice this will be the 3rd position for me and the palce I am likley to stay at longest, I've 3 years esperience in tech strat and am 29 years old - thinking to the future.

I have to inform both parties today...

Thanks for reading this far and any help is appreciated.

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#2 URGENT: TONY - could really do with your insight!
28/11/2005 11:08

potential PAer

sorry to be blunt Tony, but I could really do withh your input on this - people seemed to have dried up on the forum

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#3 Re: URGENT: TONY - could really do with your insight!
28/11/2005 12:07

Tony Restell (

It's certainly true that readers are far more likely to be snowed under with client engagements in the run up to Xmas and so less able to check the forum - though not sure same-day response is ever going to be that realistic when your question is so specific!

In terms of my suggestions / input. First up I would suggest you do a search for PA Consulting on the forum. There have been tons of threads in the last months so you should find a lot of insights to help with your decision.

Second is the question of choice of firm: Big vs. Small. There are huge differences between working for large consulting businesses and small niche players. The larger ones as you say give you greater marketability in future years and are likely to provide better training & development over the years. However larger firms also tend to be a bit more rigid and bureaucratic in the way they do things.

PA has an excellent reputation amongst the larger consultancies and a great client list. My suggestion would be to isolate what are the things that dissatisfy you about your current consulting employer - and what are the things you really value. Then think about whether a major firm like PA or a small niche firm are more likely to overcome your dissatisfactions whilst continuing to offer the things you value.

It's always a surprise to me to see readers considering careers with both niche firms and majors - careers in each are really quite different. So answering the bigger question of "is a niche or major consultancy likely to be the better employer for you?" will probably help you to make the right decision here, almost irrespective of who that larger firm is.

Best of luck, Tony

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#4 Re: URGENT: TONY - could really do with your insight!
01/12/2005 15:48


There is a lot more hype over PA than reality. Having interviewed there I found them heavily focused on Government and they seemed to pay considerably less than other large firms. Heavy focus on chargeability statistics detracted from the generally very strong focus PA seemed to have on people. Not as much to offer in terms of brand strength, opportunity etc. as the likes of CG, Accenture, Deloitte in my view. Having worked for years at one of these (not CG or Deloitte!) I would urge caution. Just my personal view.

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#5 Re: URGENT: TONY - could really do with your insight!
01/12/2005 18:02

Hmmm... some one who was happy to work for ACN for years doesn't like PA's people focus or culture ??? No surprise there !!!

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#6 Re: URGENT: TONY - could really do with your insight!
01/12/2005 21:15

Another embittered ex-Accenture consultant slagging off some place with a decent people focus. What a surprise !

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#7 Re: URGENT: TONY - could really do with your insight!
01/12/2005 23:18


I dont think that's fair. 2 facts about PA are undoubtedly true:

(1) Outside government, they do not have a substantial client base;

(2) Their explicit reward policy is to pay at industry averages not above them as Accenture does.

I don't think this constitutes bitterness or "slagging off" just a simple statement of fact. What I do find strange is the knee jerk reactions people have against ACN people on this forum.

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#8 Re: URGENT: TONY - could really do with your insight!
01/12/2005 23:55


Go back to ACN or IBM. I would bet my house you work for one of them!!!!

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#9 Re: URGENT: TONY - could really do with your insight!
02/12/2005 14:47


Just to clarify - I have nothing against PA at all. Just trying to share my experience and the feedback i've got from colleagues who used to/still work there.

I left Accenture not at all bitter. I think there is a place for the full-service consultancies and that includes PA, Accenture and others. I just want to re-iterate some of the facts:

- PA is very bonus-culture and profit focused (a good thing commercially)

- PA is very people focused (a major attraction for me)

- PA were very professional during the interview process

- PA are very well regarded and have worked with some big clients

However the points I was trying to make were:

- PA trades on being able to offer "independent advice" but has the same desire to implement that the Accenture, IBMs do also!

- PA relies heavily on government and is struggling to build presence in terms of co-ordinated presence in other industries - e.g. retail

- PA does not pay as well as the likes of Accenture, CG, IBM et al but that is all part of the trade-off.

My current feeling is that PA's Strategy & Marketing group will increasingly come under pressure from the likes of EY, PWC in the government sector as they build presence. Everyone has their own views, and I don't mean to engender bitterness here!

PS i learned bullet-points at Accenture...

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