We have been noticing that all the Big Four firms have been openly stating their intentions to hire thousands of professionals over the next few years. KPMG Europe wants to hire 8,000, Deloitte has plans to hire over 50,000 each year.
And now it appears that job applicants have clearly heard the message and appear to be inundating the firms with applications.
Ernst and Young (E&Y) UK is now reporting a “surge in demand for its graduate trainee scheme”. Applications appears to be twice the level seen last year and attendance at its campus recruitment events up nearly 110%.
E&Y says it has already received over 4,500 applications for the 700 places available on its 2011 graduate training program. Stephen Isherwood, head of graduate recruitment at Ernst & Young says that just in the last 2 months, interest in graduate programs has skyrocketed. Not only that, the firm had to put on additional events to cope with the level of demand at the campus recruitment events at many of the UK’s leading universities. And the number of applications received for its 2011 graduate trainee program (just opened in July) has doubled from last year. Stephen says that there are still vacancies available for Ernst & Young’s 2011 entry schemes, having increased the number of positions by over 30% from last year.
This is all the more dramatic, given that HECSU (Higher Education Careers Services Unit)’s latest graduate unemployment stats show a 6% drop in overall UK graduate vacancies. But vacancies available in professional services are up a solid 17.1%. E&Y notes professional services are a key bright employment spot which are hiring grads in huge numbers.
Competition is tough – the firm has already received around 6 submissions for every job position available. And Stephen says the best way for students to get a job is to differentiate themselves in the recruitment process with strong application forms.
Wow! Clearly the market supply and demand are quickly moving in line. With the Big Four firms quite likely restarting their return to heady double-digit growth in the next few years, as growth from emerging markets kicks in, they will need to hire smart, savvy and well-education professionals.
If E&Y is inundated with applications, then very likely students are also flooding the other firms, which will make for an interesting recruitment scenario. A positive development we’ll try to keep an eye on.