‘Big Four’ accountants speed up recruitment drive in London jobs boost

There is a stronger demand for high-quality grads and school leavers

The City is in the midst of a professional services jobs boom as all of the ‘Big Four’ accountants step up entry level hiring.

Deloitte says its hiring target is 1,650 this year across graduates and school leavers, about 150 hires up on last year, with further increases likely.

Ernst & Young is planning to recruit 1,300 students this year through its graduate and undergraduate programmes. While the number of graduates is steady at 800, the number of school leavers has doubled.

PricewatershouseCoopers last week said it had increased its graduate opportunities to a record 1,450, up 30 per cent on the previously.

While KPMG has not finalised its figures yet, a spokesman said the firm was expecting to increase its entry level hires after a small increase the previous year.

The numbers will be greeted warmly in the City, which has taken a hit from a squeeze in banking jobs in recent years, as big firms have retrenched in the wake of the financial crisis, although the pressure is easing.

Professional services has been a major growth area for London’s financial centre, with all of the big four firms having sizeable operations in the capital. Rob Fryer, head of student recruitment at Deloitte, said: “We are seeing strong demand for high-quality grads and school leavers with the expansion of the practices.” He said it was a “growth time” industry wide.

E&Y said part of its shift of emphasis had been prompted by a shift in the recruitment marketplace, with many young people increasingly wary of the high cost of a degree.

The firm pointed to figures showing students graduating from a three-year degree can end up with £53,000 worth of debt, at the same time as over 941,000 young people are currently jobless.

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