Jacobs may not be as well known in the consulting world as behemoths like McKinsey and Accenture, but it has carved out a prominent reputation for itself as a top-tier provider of engineering, scientific and professional services, particularly in civil engineering, infrastructure development, construction management, life sciences, advanced manufacturing, environmental consulting and national defense.
Through a series of acquisitions and a recent pivot towards technology and strategy consulting, Jacobs has grown rapidly in size and scope over the past 20 years to reach $14 billion in annual revenue and over 400 offices across the globe today. Jacobs consulting roles can be found in seven offices in the U.S. and Europe.
If you want to join a global firm and you have a background in engineering or deep experience in a technical field, consider adding Jacobs to your shortlist.
Table of Contents:
- Jacobs Key Stats
- Jacobs History
- Jacobs Careers
- Jacobs Internship
- Practice Areas
- Office Locations
- Career Path
- Exit Opportunities
- Notable Alumni
- Target Schools
- Diversity Programs
- Jacobs Culture
- Jacobs Interview
- Jacobs Salaries
Jacobs Key Stats
Jacobs Website: www.jacobs.com/
Jacobs Headquarters: Dallas, TX
Jacobs Number of Employees: 55,000
Jacobs Number of Locations: 400+
Jacobs Chief Executive: Steven J. Demetriou
Jacobs Revenue: $14 billion
Jacobs’ history begins in 1946, when Joseph Jacobs, an engineer, founded the firm in Pasadena, California. Jacobs began his career at Merck & Co. where he helped produce chemicals and pharmaceuticals. After leaving Merck, he founded a consulting practice that would eventually grow into Jacobs Engineering Group. Over time, Jacobs Engineering Group diversified into a range of professional services centered around engineering, architecture, design, construction management, and related disciplines.
In 2016, Jacobs Engineering moved its headquarters from Pasadena to Dallas, TX, which is home to Jacobs today.
A series of acquisitions including CH2M, Bechtel Jacobs, Edwards and Kelcey and most recently, a 65% stake in UK-based PA Consulting dramatically broadened Jacobs’ service offerings. To reflect this shift, Jacobs Engineering Services re-branded as Jacobs Solutions in August 2022.
Today, Jacobs is organized into three main business units: Critical Mission Solutions, People & Places Solutions, and PA Consulting. Critical Mission Solutions encompasses Jacobs’ work for clients in the government/defense, nuclear, aerospace, cybersecurity, automotive and telecom sectors. In 2021, approximately 74% of this division’s revenue and 33% of Jacobs’ total revenue was from the U.S. federal government.
Most of Jacobs’ other services fall under the People & Places Solutions umbrella. This includes civil engineering, environmental consulting, infrastructure development, supply chain consulting, architecture and design, and advanced manufacturing.
New to Jacobs’ portfolio is PA Consulting, a strategy and operations consultancy advising clients in the consumer manufacturing, defense and security, energy and utilities, financial services, government, health and life sciences, and transport sectors. This newly acquired business, along with the name change to Jacobs Solutions, are part of Jacobs’ drive to rebrand itself from an engineering-focused firm to “a global technology-forward solutions company.”
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Although Jacobs is looking to compete with multidisciplinary strategy, operations and technology consultancies like Accenture and Deloitte, it is still best known for engineering and life sciences projects. Jacobs’ management consulting practice was essentially acquired when Jacobs purchased a majority stake in PA Consulting. However, Jacobs is pouring resources into rapidly expanding its management consulting capabilities as part of its new brand strategy, so available projects and project sites for those pursuing Jacobs careers are expected to broaden in the coming years.
For more information, see the Jacobs careers page here.
Jacobs offers both traditional internships and a Graduate Development Program, a two-year fast-track program that streamlines the process for new graduates to begin their Jacobs careers, matches them with mentors, and provides formal training and classes, assistance with networking in the firm, exposure to senior leaders, cross-functional exposure, and other benefits.
Learn more about Jacobs Internships here.
- Product and Service Innovation
- Future of Work
- Corporate Transformation
- Change Management
- Operational Models
- Organizational Design
- Process Optimization
- Benefits Management
- PMO Consulting
- Maturity Assessments
- Consumer and Advanced Manufacturing
- Security / National Defense
- Energy and Utilities
- Financial Services
- Health and Life Sciences
Jacobs office locations include over 40 countries; however, most of Jacobs’ openings for consultants are in locations with PA Consulting offices: the United Kingdom, Denmark, the Netherlands, Sweden, Ireland, Norway and the United States. A significant percentage of Jacobs’ management consulting staff are based in the U.K.
Management consulting roles at Jacobs (i.e., at PA Consulting) include Analyst, Consultant Analyst, Consultant, Senior Consultant, Principal Consultant, Managing Consultant, and Partner.
Recent graduates with less than a year of experience will start their Jacobs career path at the Analyst level, where they support a team of consultants while learning critical consulting skills. Recent graduates of a master’s program would most likely start at the Consultant Analyst level. In Jacobs’ UK offices, both Bachelors and Graduate-level recent hires can either specialize immediately or enter a rotational program to gain broad exposure across Jacobs’ business areas. There are two rotational programs: strategy & analytics and business transformation.
An experienced hire with 7-10 years of experience would most likely enter at the Senior Consultant or Principal Consultant level. Once you reach Managing Consultant or Partner, you will be expected to start meeting sales targets for bringing in new clients in addition to managing projects.
Jacobs exit opportunities mirror those of other similarly-ranked consulting firms. They include other consulting firms, industry, and entrepreneurship. Transitioning from Jacobs directly to MBB is unusual, unless you have niche expertise that one of these firms happens to need.
Jacobs alumni can be found in a wide range of roles. Because of Jacob’s focus on engineering, many Jacobs (and PA Consulting) alumni can be found in roles related to energy, utilities, and technology. Others transition to other consulting firms. Here are some examples of where Jacobs alumni have ended up:
- Principal at Slalom
- Associate Partner at McKinsey
- Senior Manager at Strategy&
- Associate Director at Wayfair
- Principal Product Manager at Amazon
- CEO at a startup
- Vice President at an energy company
- Senior Vice President at a public utility
- Chief of Staff to the COO at a major bank
Since Jacobs’ management consulting subsidiary PA Consulting is based in the U.K., it follows that Jacobs target schools include well-known U.K. educational institutions such as Oxford, Cambridge and London School of Economics, as well as lesser-known schools such as University of Nottingham, University of Durham and University of Bristol.
However, PA Consulting has been quick to point out that their campus recruiting in the U.S. is “absolutely fundamental.” As a result, recruiters for PA Consulting can be found at many of the major U.S. MBA programs as well.
“We live inclusion” is one of Jacobs’ four core values, and Jacobs’ intentional efforts to promote diversity, equity and inclusion can be seen across the firm. Jacobs diversity programs include a variety of employee networks, such as Racial Inclusion and Social Equity (RISE), a Women’s Network, and a Pride Network. Jacobs received a top score of 100 from the Disability Equality Index in 2021 and received a perfect 100% score from Human Rights Campaign as a “Top Place to work for LGBTQ Equality” and came in at number 6 on Stonewall’s list of “Top 100 Employers for LGBTQIA+ People.” Jacobs was also identified by the U.K.’s Sunday Times as one of its “Top 50 Employers for Women” and was recognized by Australia’s Workplace Gender Equality Agency as an “Employer of Choice for Gender Equality.”
Like many large global companies, Jacobs’ culture varies significantly from office to office. Company alumni cite many of the issues often seen with similar-sized organizations, like excessive bureaucracy and corporate politics. Employee feedback regarding Jacobs’ newly acquired consulting practice PA Consulting is generally positive, with consultants giving high marks to the firm for interesting work, smart and engaged colleagues, and a supportive culture. Employees also point to PA Consulting’s relatively smaller size and flat organizational structure as helpful for building relationships with colleagues. However, a lack of clarity on performance metrics, ambiguous criteria for advancement and below-market salaries were cited as concerns. It remains to be seen how PA Consulting’s culture will change following its acquisition by Jacobs.
Candidates report that interviewers are warm and collegial and go out of their way to build rapport with candidates. Jacobs interviews are strongly focused on cultural fit and a candidate’s motivation for applying to Jacobs. Candidates should also expect behavioral questions, like how you would handle a difficult client. In a Jacobs interview for more senior roles, be prepared to talk about new business you can bring in as well.
Jacobs Interview Process
The typical Jacobs interview process consists of an initial screening call with a recruiter, followed by a series of 2-3 interviews with progressively more senior staff, culminating with a final interview with a partner. The Jacobs interview process usually includes at least one case study or technical interview.
The typical Jacobs salary for an entry-level Analyst is around $90K, with average pay approaching $120K for consultants and $250K for principal consultants. Partners can expect to earn around $400K, split evenly between salary and profit-sharing.
To see our full Consulting Salaries Report, click here.
As Jacobs seeks to reshape itself from an engineering powerhouse into a “solutions company” and take on the heavy hitters of the consulting world, it has poured considerable resources into growing its consulting staff and capabilities. If you can handle the risk of joining a firm that is undergoing tremendous change, you may find that your investment pays off down the road. If you’d like help customizing your resume to stand out to Jacobs recruiters or navigating the Jacobs interview process, let us know – our consulting experts will help you put your best foot forward.
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