KPMG to recruit 3,500 jobs this year and increase graduate intake

KPMG is set to fill another 2,800 jobs this year on top of the 700 positions already being advertised, Personnel Today has learned.

Michelle Quest, head of people at the professional services firm, said the company planned to return to pre-recession recruitment levels by the end of 2010, hiring as many as 3,500 people in total, in a sign that the recruitment market is recovering significantly.

The move comes as the number of people placed in permanent jobs reached a two-and-a-half year high last month, and unemployment figures out today have recorded a slight fall in the number of people out of work.

However, Quest warned that with more positions available, the ‘war for talent’ would return, with employers competing to attract the best employees.

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Interview with Michelle Quest and Sara Reading

Listen to KPMG’s HR leaders discuss the returning war for talent and measures to increase diversity (3 mins).

She told the magazine: “The recruitment market in the last three to four months has suddenly exploded. There’s a real battle for people who are out in the marketplace and are of great calibre. So I think the war for talent is very much back on.

“As a people function, one of the biggest challenges we will have [in 2010] is to retain the talented people we have got internally, and also to try and steal the great people from our competitors and from other industries.”

The roles available at KPMG this year will be mainly in its advisory business, but also tax and auditing.

Following a cut in graduate recruitment of nearly 25% during the recession, KPMG will also take on 750 university leavers this September. Sara Reading, head of graduate recruitment at the firm, said she “certainly wouldn’t rule out” hitting an intake level of 1,000 graduates per year in future.

The HR chief also said KPMG would pilot a new scheme in July to attract more young recruits from ethnic minorities. Currently, 16% of its staff are from ethnic minority backgrounds.

Flexible working at KPMG

KPMG saved £4m last year by adopting shorter working weeks, which saw 85% of its workforce express interest in adopting four-day weeks or taking sabbatical leave for between four to 12 weeks at 30% pay.

The firm had 437 applications for flexible working last year, with men making up a quarter of all applicants.

Quest said the programme had helped to increase awareness of flexible working.

The pilot, expected to be run across the top four accountancy firms, will see the organisation Sponsors for Educational Opportunity (SEO) visit local communities to find ethnic minority candidates to apply for KPMG’s two-month internship programme. The firm plans to recruit a number of interns later this year, some of whom could end up on the graduate scheme if successful.

KPMG will also target inner-city schools next year by sending in staff to raise awareness about careers at the firm.

Reading said: “We are aware that the profession and the big four brands need to work together to dispel myths and to try and reach out to students or groups that would self-select themselves out and make assumptions [that firms will not recruit them].”

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