How much do Big 4 partners earn in the UK?


It’s only human: most of us have probably wondered how much money partners at the Big 4 bring home each year. It’s not an easy question to answer, but in this blog post, we take the publicly available data and analyse it to get a good idea of the average partner drawing.

When KPMG filed its accounts for the year ending September 2012, it was reported that UK partners’ profits had fallen from £682k per partner to £568k. A fall of 17% takes some swallowing, but hey! I wouldn’t say no to earning more than half a million pounds in a year!

At Deloitte, for the year ending May 2012, partners’ average earnings increased by £31k to £789k.

At PWC, in the year to June 2012, UK partners saw their average drawing fall from £707k to £697k.

Ernst and Young don’t publicly report their partners’ drawings, but my back-of-the-envelope calculations lead me to believe they must average between £500k and £1 million.

It seems slightly churlish to mention this, but the profit per equity partner (PEP) for Magic Circle firms is over £1 million.

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But there’s more to how much a partner really earns

You thought I said it wasn’t an easy question to answer? Well, remember that these figures do not represent the money in the bank account each year. Firstly, partners have repayments and interest on any partnership loans they took out to get them to where they are. Then they have their pension pot to contribute towards, and finally, they’ll pay income tax as a self-employed person. These are all going to be hefty deductions from the amounts mentioned above.

All the same, those amounts may still seem very attractive to you, and certainly, partnership is one route to becoming a very rich man or woman. Remember though, that these big firms make sure they get their pound of flesh in return for these huge sums.

Or, as one member of my network put it:

I realised that if I had made partner at E&Y, there would always have been three people in my marriage.

Making partner may not turn out to be quite what you expected. Read the post on What does it really mean to make partner? for more insight into this.

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If you are thinking about joining a Big4 firm, progressing your career in a Big4 firm, or even getting them as a client, then How to make partner and still have a life, will be an invaluable guide to understanding how these firms tick and how to progress your career with them.


Read more:

How do I become a partner at the Big 4?

How long will it take me to get to partner?

How much do I need to buy in as a partner at the Big 4?

Making partner or not: the pros and cons

What are you being offered? Salaried partner, fixed-share partner, equity partner?




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"Regardless of how much help your firm gives you, this is an essential read. There is no silver bullet when it comes to making partner, but this will do a damn good job of helping you get there if you act on the advice it contains. I really wish this book had been around when I was making the journey."

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 "I started reading this book few months before getting into the partner track process and always regretted not getting hold of it earlier; this book has helped me to brainstorm about what is expected at that level and what is being done now and I was able to steer myself in the right direction. I would strongly recommend senior managers; directors to use this book at the earlier stage to start the journey towards the partnership".
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Author Credit:

Written by Heather Townsend, who helps professionals become the The Go-To Expert. 

Heather is the author of the  award winning and best-selling book on business networking, the FT Guide To Business Networking, co-author of How to make partner and still have a life, The Go-To Expert and Poised for Partnership. Connect with Heather on LinkedIn and Twitter,


  1. Carl Reader says

    Interesting article Heather. If anyone came to me for advice on this, I’d refer to the E&Y quote – after a certain level, you really do need to think about living life rather than earning money!

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