Yesterday's Business Insurance Magazine survey on biggest HR and Benefit Consultancies named Mercer as both the largest worldwide and U.S HR consultancy. Among tier 1 HR consultancies (I'd say that's Mercer, Towers Perrin, Watson Wyatt, Delloitte HR, Accenture, and Hewitt), Mercer may be the biggest, but are they the best?
Let's start with the easiest: Hewitt. Personally, I no longer consider them an HR consultancy. They are really an outsourcer who's consulting practices support the growth of the outsourcing business. So let's nix them off the list.
Big 4 players Accenture and Deloitte: Very respected, but they may not have the true domain expertise that the other 3 have (Wyatt, Towers & Mercer). However, in terms of pure brainpower and overall strategy consulting as it pertains to HR, these guys are good. I personally thing Deloitte has a better reputation and Accenture tries to play too much in vendor sourcing and implementation.
Wyatt: Are they going to enter the HR consulting space with any major force and conviction? Or are they going to be satisfied being the biggest and baddest actuarial firm out there? Once again, they have a huge amount of brainpower, but their corporate direction (which is what?) defies understanding.
Towers: Solid with a great reputation. In my opinion, this is the best consultancy out there. They may not have the weight to push around that the big 4 and Mercer has, but they have enough to be pretty comfortable. Probably #2 in size to Mercer, Towers has great people and great coprorate direction.
And Mercer: Similar to Towers, look for these 2 players to dominate the HR consulting marketplace as they have in the past. Their corporate direction will be to focus less on DB revenues and increase HR consulting and technology revenues.