However much money a consultancy makes, it is only well managed – and likely to be profitable – if the fees it earns per head of staff amount to a worthwhile figure. This is how we measure a consultancy’s efficiency for the chart below, basing the figure on UK earnings.

Most groups in this year’s top 20 increased their efficiency last year, the biggest improvements coming from Marsteller Giant, with a 120 per cent hike, Stocks Taylor Benson, up 97 per cent, BCG Communications, up 51 per cent, and Carnegie Orr, up 33 per cent.

Only Black Sun and Glazer have stayed fairly steady, the one slightly up, the other marginally down in efficiency compared with last year.

But WPP Group’s Scottish print business Scott Stern Associates reported fees per head down 19 per cent and The Sandom Group’s figure is down 14 per cent.

The biggest change in this year’s chart is the omission of Enterprise IG. On the figures supplied, the London group would have topped the chart, showing earnings of 269 000 per head – up 29 per cent on last year’s figure. But because the fee-income billed through the London office of WPP Group’s identity network includes fees earned by other Enterprise businesses across the globe, it is not an accurate measure of earnings per head of UK staff.

Newcomers branding specialist Dragon and interiors group Din Associates return to the charts after a year’s absence. The Open Agency is the new name for the former Horseman Cooke McBains.

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