The chartered accountancy firm PricewaterhouseCoopers has withdrawn its offer of employment to almost 100 graduate trainees just weeks before they were due to start work.
The firm has cut the number of graduates it will take on in its management-consultancy division after a slowdown in business. The offer has been withdrawn from 78 of the 180 graduates with places on the trainee scheme. They have been offered two months pay about £7,000 in return.
The decision will be a serious blow to the graduates, many of whom have already made plans to move to London and turned down other job offers. It is thought that some are still on their summer holidays and do not know they have been downsized from their first job before they had even started.
A spokeswoman for PwC said: "This decision has not been taken lightly and is a reflection of the current economic climate and our constant need as a responsible business to evaluate our skills mix against our client needs.
"We are trying to manage our intake of new staff appropriately, so when someone does join us, they will have meaningful work that will enable them to use and refine the skills we selected them for initially."
PwC disputed suggestions that its actions might deter graduates from applying in the future. "I sincerely hope not," a spokeswoman said. "It is a great company to work for. This is very unfortunate."
The decision by PwC is the latest in a series of job cuts made in professional services as the economic slowdown gathers pace. So far, investment banking has been the hardest hit.Earlier this summer, Credit Suisse offered a small group of its graduate intake £14,000 each to defer their joining date for a year. Other banks have been offering staff sabbaticals hoping they will not come back.Reuse content