McKinsey puts 3,000 consultants on notice

12 February 2024 2 min. read
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McKinsey & Company has warned approximately 3,000 of its global consultants that their performance is unsatisfactory and needs to improve, people familiar with the matter told Bloomberg News.

The “concerns” ratings were given to employees as part of their performance reviews in the last several months, the sources said. Employees typically have three months to improve performance before being “counseled to leave.”

The prestigious consulting firm tends not to fire underperforming staff, instead “counseling them to leave” and find a new employer. The idea is that a McKinsey resumé point holds enough clout for the employee to easily find work elsewhere.

McKinsey told Bloomberg the proportion of staff receiving concerns ratings was largely in line with past years. “Our proportion of concerns ratings is consistent with our historical range,” the McKinsey spokesperson said. “It is not an unprecedented year.”

McKinsey puts 3,000 consultants on notice

The difference is pure volume, as the consulting firm has swelled from 28,000 people in 2018 to 45,000 currently.

That ballooning in size – driven by strong pandemic demand – led to a rare round of cuts last year as demand cooled. The New York-based firm slashed 1,400 roles mostly in non-client-facing and support functions.

McKinsey this month announced the re-election of Bob Sternfels as managing partner for a second and final term. Sternfels required three rounds of voting to secure a narrow majority of senior partners.

The firm’s larger size has made it more difficult to build consensus among the senior partners who cast votes on the firm’s leadership – increasing from approximately 400 people 15 years ago to 750 today.

Previous managing partner Kevin Sneader was voted out after a single term, falling victim to various scandals that reached a boiling point during his tenure, including the firm’s controversial work for opioid manufacturers and authoritarian regimes, as well as its implication in the Gupta family corruption scandal in South Africa.

Sneader is now an executive for Goldman Sachs in Asia.