Analytics Careers at the Big Four

Analytics Careers at the Big Four


Considering taking your analytics career to a Big Four firm? Whether starting out in the field or considering a lateral move, working at either KPMG, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), Ernst & Young (EY) or Deloitte may be the right fit for your analytics career. Below explores the positives and drawbacks of working in Data Analytics and Data Science at one of the world’s largest professional services networks.

Working as either a Data Analyst or Data Scientist at one of the Big Four professional services firms naturally has both benefits and drawbacks, and is considerably different to working at any other business. The main difference of working at a Big Four firm compared to working elsewhere is the nature of Big Four business. Auditors and accountants, who make up the bulk of Big Four firm employees, have a unique way of thinking when compared to Data Analysts or Data Scientists. Also, the analytical requirements needed are very different to other workplaces. The Big Four place a strong emphasis on visualisation rather than just the analysis. Auditors and accountants need to be able to understand and utilise the insights extracted by the analytics team.

Most larger consultancies, not just the Big Four, provide Data Analysts and Data Scientists with an analytical platform unattainable at smaller practices. Rather than needing to build the required infrastructure, for example, larger companies are likely to have ready-built infrastructure with easy data storage and extraction capabilities. All of the tools required are internal and the data professional’s role is specialised and focused. This allows analytics professionals to develop specific expertise. Larger companies also allow analytics novices to hone their expertise through mentorship and training. Larger companies also have greater data engineering support which allows Data Analysts and Data Scientists to focus on analysing rather than structuring the data. 

Another big drawcard for data professionals to join a Big Four firm are the progression opportunities. Given their size, Big Four firms are able to offer continual progression opportunities within the business. And, where the possibility of becoming either a partner, Analytics Director or Chief Analytics Officer is limited to one or two employees in smaller businesses, there is greater potential to reach these sought after roles when working for a Big Four firm. Many professionals are also attracted to the benefits packages offered by these larger firms. 

In contrast, the Big Four are known to be a demanding workplace. Considerable hours and lower salaries are two of the drawbacks often cited. Many professionals who have left Big Four practices note the hours as a major factor pushing them to move on. Beyond the workload, Big Four Analysts and Data Scientists have strict structure and internal bureaucracy to navigate.

Finally, working for bigger businesses means roles that are more structured and defined. These bigger businesses maintain a proper hierarchy. At a startup or a smaller company, the analytics work is varied and employees are expected to be adaptable. 

Taking your analytics career to the Big Four could be the perfect move for your career. Whether just graduated or considering a career move, Data Analyst jobs and Data Science jobs at the Big Four are in abundance across all levels. Whilst not the right fit for every Data Analyst or Data Scientist, the benefits, stability and substantial growth opportunities offered at Big Four firms make them workplaces that should not be overlooked.


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