Growth in the profession has exploded this year with the Big Four hiring a
record number of graduates.
With about 3,550 recruits, the four largest firms have between them hired
their greatest number of graduates in the UK for several years. Deloitte alone
has taken on more than 1,000 graduates with ‘still a few openings yet to be
filled’, according to a spokeswoman for the firm.
‘We are taking them in right through until October, with audit and consulting
taking the majority of the demand: 600 graduates will go into audit while around
180 will go into consulting work in London and Belfast,’ she added.
Starting salaries have also risen, with Deloitte’s new recruits in audit
receiving £25,000 and new consultants earning £31,000.
KPMG saw the second highest rise in new staff with more than 850 graduates
employed ‘across the board’. This was an increase of 215 people on 2004’s total
of 635 new starters.
Its starting salary was slightly lower than Deloitte’s at £24,000 for a new
starter based in London.
PricewaterhouseCoopers was the largest employer with ‘just over’ 1,200
graduates reflecting its status as the largest firm. However, the number of new
starters in 2005 was virtually the same as last year.
Sarah Churchman, head of graduate recruitment, was unable to give a figure,
but called it a ‘great year’ with most of the new intake heading towards the
‘assurance side’ of the business. She declined to comment on starting salaries.
Ernst & Young’s intake also rose, but more steadily to 500 from 400 in
2004. An spokeswoman said its starting salary for graduates had risen by £2,000
in two years to £25,000.
The firms, which are posting strong growth, have in the past admitted that a
lack of staff risks holding them back.
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