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McKinsey Vs Gartner – 7 Main Differences 

When it comes to consulting services, McKinsey and Gartner are two of the biggest names in the industry. While both companies have similarities, they also have distinct differences that may influence your decision when choosing one to work for. 

McKinsey tends to focus more on strategy consulting, while Gartner is known for its research and analysis of technology and IT markets. Other primary differences between McKiney and Gartner are:

  • Size and global reach
  • Service offerings
  • Compensation and benefits
  • Work-Life balance
  • Thought leadership
  • Industry focus and specialization
  • Pricing model

In this article, I’ll explore the 7 major differences between McKinsey and Gartner.

Downtown San Francisco skyline seen from the air

1. Size and Global Reach

McKinsey and Gartner are two of the most notable and influential consulting firms globally, but they differ slightly in size and global reach. 

McKinsey has a well-established global presence with offices in major cities across the world. The firm operates in over 130 cities across 60 countries, including Europe, Asia Pacific, and Africa. 


Gartner, on the other hand, boasts a more prominent global presence compared to McKinsey, serving clients in nearly 90 countries.


However, when comparing the workforce and revenue of the two firms, McKinsey emerges as a frontrunner.

The table below compares McKinsey with Gartner in terms of number of employees and revenue:

Company NameRevenueWorkforce
McKinsey10.5 billion USD30,000
Gartner5.5 billion USD16,724


2. Service Offerings

McKinsey primarily provides management consulting services, and their consultants work closely with clients to analyze business challenges and develop effective strategies to overcome them. 

The firm’s service offerings cover various areas, such as:

  • Strategy development
  • Risk consulting
  • Operational improvement
  • Digital transformation
  • Mergers and acquisitions 


McKinsey leverages its expertise in these areas to help clients meet their business goals and maintain a competitive edge.

In contrast, Gartner specializes in research and advisory services and provides valuable insights and recommendations to its clients, which allows them to make informed decisions.  

Gartner provides a comprehensive range of advisory services across various functions and industries, including:

  • Audit and risk
  • Customer service and support
  • Financial services
  • Human resources
  • Data Analytics
  • Information technology
  • Legal and Compliance
  • Cybersecurity
  • Supply chain 


3. Compensation and Benefits

Compensation and benefits are two essential aspects that employees consider when choosing a role in any consulting firm.

McKinsey and Gartner are known for offering their employees competitive compensation and benefits packages. Although both companies offer similar benefits, such as performance bonuses and retirement plans, there are some differences in their compensation structures. 

McKinsey is known for offering higher base salaries and performance-based bonuses, while Gartner provides a more balanced compensation package emphasizing stock options and equity.

The following table shows salaries for comparable positions at Gartner and McKinsey:

Analyst$143,000 $82,000
Senior Accountant$122,000$107,000
Managing Partner$517,000$404,000


4. Work-Life Balance

McKinsey and Gartner prioritize the well-being of their employees, yet they adopt distinct approaches to ensure a healthy equilibrium between professional and personal life.

Gartner places a strong emphasis on fostering a well-rounded lifestyle for its employees and offers flexible work arrangements, such as:

  • Paid vacation and time-off
  • Flexible working hours
  • Health and wellness programs

On the other hand, McKinsey has a reputation for a more demanding work culture, with long hours and intense workloads. 

An employee at McKinsey says: “Hours are long, and travel is frequent. There is a sincere attempt to preserve work-life balance, but it often buckles and breaks against the Firm’s mission to over-deliver for its clients. The work usually far exceeds the resources to conduct it, so it often feels like you never really finish a project – you just run out of time.”


Downtown corporate Chicago by the riverside

5. Thought Leadership

In the realm of thought leadership, both McKinsey and Gartner have established themselves as leaders in their respective industries. 

Gartner is known for its research and analysis of technology trends, while McKinsey is renowned for its business strategy and management insights. 

McKinsey’s thought leadership covers a wide range of topics, including:

  • Technology
  • Healthcare
  • Sustainability


By producing high-quality thought leadership, McKinsey is able to establish itself as a trusted advisor in the business community. Executives and decision-makers often use this research to inform their strategies and decision-making. 

However, Gartner is widely recognized for its thought leadership in the technology industry and is highly regarded by:

  • Technology leaders
  • IT professionals
  • Technology vendors
  • Investors 

6. Industry Focus and Specialization

Gartner and McKinsey distinguish themselves through their industry focus and specialization, despite both offering consulting services.

McKinsey tends to have a broader industry coverage, with a focus on sectors such as:

  • Agriculture
  • Aerospace and defense
  • Healthcare
  • Public and social sector
  • Education
  • Automotive and assembly


Cross-industry perspectives of McKinsey employees allow them to bring insights and best practices from one sector to another, improving the quality of services rendered to the clients.

In contrast, Gartner has a specialized focus solely on the technology industry rather than operating across multiple industries.

7. Pricing Model 

Gartner and McKinsey are very different regarding the pricing models they use for their services.

McKinsey employs a project-based pricing model for its consulting services. The fees charged by the firm are customized based on factors such as:

  • The complexity of the project
  • Number of consultants required
  • Duration of the engagement


McKinsey’s pricing is often tailored to each specific client and project, reflecting the value delivered and the level of expertise provided.

Gartner’s pricing model is primarily based on research subscriptions. Clients can subscribe to the company’s research library, which lets them gain access to:

  • Reports
  • Market analysis
  • Insights

In addition to subscriptions, Gartner also offers advisory services where clients can work with analysts on specific initiatives, and the pricing for these engagements is typically negotiated based on the scope of the project and the expertise required.


  • Will Bennett

    Will Bennett is a Cambridge graduate. He worked as a Consultant and Senior Consultant at Boston Consulting Group (BCG) in London. Will is the Founder of The Cambridge Consultant.