But rival firms and institutes said that rather than cutting back on graduate trainees, figures showed the number of graduate posts being taken up was rising.
Their comments came after PricewaterhouseCoopers cut 78 of 180 jobs offered to graduates in its management consultancy arm, due to ‘dwindling activity’ in the sector.
The firm said it was offering compensation to those affected.
Also this week, the ICAEW revealed its trainee intake was down this year, from 4,169 in 2000/2001 to around 3,600 for 2001/2002. Brian Chiplin, executive director of education and training at the ICAEW, said the drop was due to trainees at Ernst & Young and PwC being trained at Scottish rival ICAS.
CIMA and ACCA said they were experiencing an increase in the number of students being offered training contracts – CIMA said figures were up 11% on last year. Deloitte & Touche, Andersen and Ernst & Young said they had no plans to cut back on graduate intakes.