McKinsey's 'unsatisfactory' performance warning for 3,000 workers is the latest bad news for big consulting companies

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McKinsey's 'unsatisfactory' performance warning for 3,000 workers is the latest bad news for big consulting companies
McKinsey & Co. is among several top consulting firms coming off a pandemic boom. Chris Jung/NurPhoto via Getty Images
  • McKinsey has given about 3,000 staffers poor performance reviews recently.
  • The number of employees at the firm has grown 60% since 2018 due to pandemic-era hiring.
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The latest bad news to hit an already gloomy year for the consulting industry? Poor performance reviews.

McKinsey & Company has recently given some 3,000 staffers poor performance ratings, which are internally known as “concerns,” according to Bloomberg. Employees who receive these ratings are typically told they have about three months to shape up or be “counseled to leave" the firm, Bloomberg reported.

The fraction of employees who received these ratings remains consistent with numbers from previous years, a spokesperson for McKinsey told Bloomberg.

But it might also be a symptom of a pandemic-era hiring spree at big consulting firms. Many of these consulting companies grew their ranks at the time only to find later there was no longer enough work for everyone.

McKinsey now has about 45,000 employees, a 60% increase from 2018, according to Bloomberg.

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Many clients have pulled back over the last year, however, as they grapple with uncertain macroeconomic conditions. For many consultants that now means there isn't enough work to go around.

Several consultants have complained in interviews that they’ve been spending their time “on the bench” running errands, catching up on sleep, and fretting about when their next project will come through, Business Insider reported. New hires at major consulting firms, especially, are worried about how all the idle time will impact their performance reviews.

McKinsey did not respond to a request for comment from Business Insider but a spokesperson told Bloomberg that the company has "always maintained a high bar for performance."

Some staffers at the firm say that's not the whole story.

“There is simply not enough work for the number of client service professionals at the firm,” one associate partner wrote on the professional networking site Fishbowl. “This is not personal, everyone is in survival mode at the moment.”

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