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Vault’s Verdict

A leading and consistently high-ranking firm for HR consulting, Mercer works on some of the most interesting human capital challenges facing some of the world’s best companies. At the heart of those standards of excellence are the people; Mercer insiders describe a firm with an incredible—and international—wealth of intellectual capital and talent. In addition to the collegial and collaborative culture, what Mercer employees value most about their colleagues is their intellectual horsepower, the depth and breadth of their collective knowledge base, and their stellar interpersonal and client-relations skills. From the level of esteem Mercer consultants place on one another, it’s clear that the people are truly what set this firm apart—for clients as well as potential candidates.

That emphasis on people extends to leadership as well. In addition to their praise of leadership as a whole, survey respondents this year expressed profound admiration for leadership’s handling of the Covid-19 pandemic. From a commitment to avoid layoffs to providing additional pandemic-related health and wellness benefits, it’s clear that senior leadership places the well-being of their people at the center of every decision.

Firm Culture

  • “Mercer is the ideal blend of empathy and economics, comprised of supportive, intelligent colleagues.”
  • “Our culture, work/life balance, and commitment to developing knowledge in our field and sharing with our colleagues is one unique combination of factors that make us stand out from the competition.”
  • “Because we don't have the same rigorous travel schedule as other firms, we're able to develop really strong relationships internally. I also really appreciate the humility of the team. Everyone who I've worked with is incredibly smart, but everyone is extremely down to earth and happy to help work through problems (even on projects that they aren't involved with).”
  • “We are a large multinational organization and we have a hunger to succeed. The fact that we have the chance to know our most senior executives in a candid way and general exposure to the business decisions day-to-day is something I greatly appreciate.”
  • “Mercer has a positive and supportive culture that provides challenging work, but a fun atmosphere. It's not always roses, but I always feel like I am a valued employee.”
  • “I love my current employer due to flexibility and work atmosphere. Our leadership has done a phenomenal job at promoting an open door policy with any issues or concerns we may have and fully supporting us on the business decisions we make. It makes us feel valued and an important part of the team when our feedback is validated. We are offered a very relaxed work atmosphere…Work/life balance is very important to me and I am very happy we are offered the opportunity to take it.”

Quality of Life

  • “Mercer wins at quality of life. Our model of traveling only for essential meetings and doing our work mostly from the office [pre-Covid-19] allows for a career in consulting AND the ability to have a life and raise a family.  This work/life balance combined with the challenging and exciting projects we complete are the reason why I chose to come to Mercer after my MBA.”
  • “Firm has an extremely flexible working policy, supporting work/life balance & quality of life. However, it's very easy for workloads to become unmanageable at the analyst/associate levels when you have much less control over your own workflow.”
  • “Mercer offers very generous vacation time (I think four weeks at my level) and local leadership encourages employees to take advantage of that time as an opportunity to recharge so they can come to work and do their best.  Our team-oriented environment allows for employees to take time off and ensure that there project work will be handled.”
  • “Quality of life is relatively great compared to other firms I have worked for in the past. They support outside endeavors and always encourage us to do whatever is best for us personally. Management treats us with respect and gives us freedom to self-operate.”
  • “[The best part] is they are very flexible with how/where/when you want to work. [The worst part] is there is not a huge sense of community between employees. [There are] not a lot of social events to create close relationships.”
  • “The hours are consistent with most consulting firms (more than 40 hours a week, but not anything too restrictive). I have never had work travel impede my life outside of work in any way. PTO is respected by the firm, and the parental leave policies are also very strong. WFH is commonplace and the company is built for employees to be able to work remotely if needed/wanted. Everyone respects the culture around work-life balance, so colleague actions reflect that respect by doing great work and being available when they are working remote or aren't on vacation.”

Career Development

  • “Mercer is very committed to career development.  From a formal perspective, there are multiple training course areas beginning with interns and new hires that expands into continued professional development.  There is also a multitude of optional/specialized trainings available to employees that are interested in a specific practice or developing a certain skill, looking for additional mentoring/mentee experience, and interested in transitioning into a subject matter expert role.  Furthermore, Mercer offers rotational programs at most levels for those interested in different practice areas within Mercer, different offices, as well as other companies within Marsh McLennan. In addition, Mercer has a number of internal business resource groups (BRGs) that focus on professional development, racial and ethnic diversity, and LGBTQ+ rights/support in the workplace.  These groups are funded at both the office and global level and are staffed by Mercer employees at all levels on a voluntary basis. Promotion progressions are fairly clear, and I haven't been surprised by the timing of the progression of my colleagues (i.e., I haven't seen anyone get promoted who didn't earn the promotion and demonstrate their competency).”
  • “Most training is through on-the-job learning, but we have a great group of colleagues willing to support and help each other through new requests or challenges with clients. We also have access to a wide variety of training resources through firm-wide virtual or in-person learning sessions. For promotions, these are handled very fairly with a lot of colleague feedback collected to inform whether someone is deserving. Upward mobility is quick, and that would probably be my one nitpick. It's almost too quick, but it requires you to keep relying on that on-the-job learning and others throughout your development. Thankfully that's a strong suit of the company.”
  • “Managers highly prioritize your learning. They always take the extra time and opportunity to teach. Worst aspect is that I have to wait for projects in a practice area I want to learn to be available (though I'm sure this is true for every consulting firm).”
  • “Mentoring is part of the culture and enables accelerated career opportunities and growth.”
  • “Some business segments have very clear promotion processes, while others are not very transparent. What it takes to be promoted is not consistent across the firm/regions, which can make it challenging at times. Training opportunities are plentiful, both related to your segment of the business as well as other softer skills training. Mercer provides a lot of virtual learning resources which are always available to colleagues.”
  • “Awesome Omni channel learning - at your place, at your pace! I love that we have access to LinkedIn Learning, Harvard - Manage Mentor & Leading Edge, and edX. We do great virtual festivals and our content is curated around "playlists" that tell you what you can learn based on how much time you have to devote to that learning.”


  • “Room for improvement on salary progression and annual incentives (typically pay out at or below target even for high performers)”
  • “Pretty standard compensation package. Entry-level employees start with a base salary and, depending on what salary grade they come in at, aren't usually eligible for annual bonuses right away.”
  • “My compensation is a little lower than at my other firm, but the work/life balance that comes with it more than offsets any concerns I have.  Further, there are a number of perquisites/benefits (e.g., higher 401(k) contributions, discounts for employees on everything from car insurance to ski lift tickets, etc.) that assuage my concerns.”
  • “I would say that total compensation is very fair and competitive with our competition. I’d say that our annual merit approach needs to be revamped as we have a smaller than median payout at year end and then use mid-year to care for internal equity. If you are a high-performer, you can move up in the organization and total compensation if well cared for.”
  • “Base salary and bonus target are fair given my experience. Room for improvement on other benefits - employee contributions could be lower for insurance plans, any offering of educational reimbursement (i.e. student loan assistance or tuition reimbursement), offer free or discounted parking (other than Wage Works).”
  • “Bonus appreciated, I'm at the top of my salary band so raises are minimal until promotion.”


  • “Our business resource groups that highlight elements of diversity at Mercer are prioritized from the highest levels.  We have female partners, a female CEO, female US Career leader, and racially diverse individuals at all levels of the firm.  I think Mercer really prides itself on all types of diversity.  Like most firms, there are still improvements that can be made, but I think we are quite strong in this area.”
  • “Much progress has been made in the time I’ve been here, in terms of actively reviewing/addressing pay equity issues, promoting women (including a female CEO and CFO).  We're not perfect but we're trying - we follow our own consulting recommendations in this area.”
  • “Diversity and corporate social responsibility are areas highlighted when recruiting. Mercer doesn't just talk the talk, but walks the walk as well.”
  • “At the local office level, where I am most familiar with these issues, we have significant diversity, and both males and females in leadership roles. Our market leader is very egalitarian in the decision-making process, and leads by example in that regard, fostering a continuation of this mantra within work teams.”
  • “Mercer is openly supportive of diversity and inclusion - with groups and teams specifically targeted at raising awareness of D&I issues and ensuring support of those issues.”
  • “I am happy to see regular promotional campaigns and employee sessions on diversity. It's also represented in our senior leadership team makeup, which is nice.”


  • “COVID-19 makes the current situation difficult to navigate, but the firm seems solid and leadership is strong.”
  • “Mercer is really focused on its employee experience and retaining employees, even during difficult financial times. I'm grateful to the leadership for having a long-term perspective on its team vs. reacting to the current economic difficulties with layoffs.”
  • “As a result of COVID-19, Mercer's parent company announced: 1) no layoffs, 2) PTO and Sick time will not be counted, 3) a $5M fund to help employees, 4) reimbursement of work-from-home expenses. Mercer is very stable and does the right things in difficult times.”
  • “We have great employees and great leadership. Despite the COVID-19 situation, we are well positioned to support our clients through this time.”
  • “COVID-19 is going to impact everyone and our firm will be no different. We are anticipating hits to our revenue and growth just as the economy is reeling. We are strongly positioned to survive but no one knows how long and the course that this will take.”
  • “The current environment will be fairly challenging for human capital consulting, but we will work through it and have long-term success.”

Hiring Process

  • “Each office and line of business operates their recruiting process differently. We typically do a resume screen and invite a smaller pool of candidates to participate in a recorded video interview via HireVue. After we review the HireVue submission, we will invite select candidates to participate in in-person or live video interviews. The in-person interview involves a mix of behavioral and case questions. We're looking for candidates who show strong analytic ability (able to break down a problem and talk through their thought process in reaching a decision), are well spoken, show an interest in consulting, but also have an understanding of the specific type of consulting done at Mercer.”
  • “We usually have two-four rounds of interviews, depending on how many applicants we get for a certain position. The ideal candidate is analytical, smart and knows how to present themselves well to clients/ colleagues. We are looking for a good personal fit within our local team.”
  • “The interview process can be slow, as we're a large company, and there's a lot of back and forth between the hiring manager and HR. If candidates are offered a first round interview, they will complete a video interview. Next steps usually include in-person interviews [pre-Covid-19] with multiple team members.”
  • “The ideal candidate is someone motivated and hard working. We go to career fairs, review resumes, and bring in candidates for in-person interviews.”
  • “We look for candidates who have the rare combination of technical know-how (especially Excel, R, or other data analysis skills) and who have the social wherewithal to interact with clients effectively.  We also prioritize humility as our staffing model, which places us on multiple projects at once, is strongly based in a team-oriented, familial culture.”
  • “Process is fair and timely. Ideal candidates have initiative, work well with others, and are analytical.”

Interview Questions

  • “While this varies across the firm, what we strive to evaluate during the recruitment process is whether a prospective employee has the "consultant DNA" that will lead to the firm's future success.”
  • “Our case questions typically test a candidate's understanding/aptitude for HR decision-making, writing, and quantitative analysis. At least in our office, we don't do full-scale case interviews (we focus more on culture fit) but we have made greater efforts in recent years to ensure that candidates can evaluate what kinds of investments in compensation, benefits, employee programs, etc. that clients might make depending on the issues (retention, attraction, rewarding critical talent) they are facing.”
  • “Our questions are client situation based (i.e. what would you do if you found an error in the presentation).  We ask questions to get at someone's work ethic and how they prioritize assignments or obligations.”
  • “The majority of the interview is behavioral; however, we include a small case study relating to updating the Total Rewards Strategy for a firm utilizing employee feedback. Also, [we conduct] a quantitative and writing assessment”
  • “Based on what you know, please fill in the blanks on this financial statement. How would you approach this talent issue at this company? What are some questions you would ash the CFO or CHRO? Please interpret this chart.”
  • “Multiple behavioral, multiple cases, one report walkthrough so interviewees know the type of work we do.”


Mercer LLC

1166 Avenue of the Americas
New York, NY 10036
Phone: (212) 345-7000

Firm Stats

Employer Type: Subsidiary
Stock Symbol: MMC
Stock Exchange: NYSE
President & CEO: Martine Ferland

Major Office Locations

New York, NY (HQ)
Offices in 44 countries

Major Departments & Practices

  • Health
  • Wealth
  • Career