Audit firm KPMG has recruited 107 graduates to join its Kenyan operations, kicking off the hiring season for the Big Four Nairobi-based international accounting firms.
KPMG’s move bucks the recent trend where staff cuts have loomed large as multiple companies have sent home thousands of employees, citing an unfavourable business environment.
An additional 43 recruits are set to join KPMG Uganda, Rwanda and Tanzania divisions.
The Big Four accounting firms — Deloitte, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), Ernst & Young (trading as EY) and KPMG — normally undertake an annual recruitment targeting undergraduate and graduate students.
The recruits are taken in as management trainees and later hired in various capacities as auditors, accountants, business analysts and forensic investigators.
KPMG’s new hires comprise of 150 graduates that are set to undergo specialised training in audit, tax or advisory services before later joining the firm’s team that comprises more than 189,000 staff spread across 152 countries. 1,100 of those are in Kenya.
“The 2017 graduate recruits ….will provide audit, tax and advisory services with a focus on the issues and challenges facing clients in various industries,” said Damaris Lilech, the KPMG East Africa associate director for people, performance and culture.
Accountancy firms are lately seeking to attract a wider range of talent to serve diverse and increasingly sophisticated needs of their clients.
“With the changes in the market and client needs and innovative products the skills sets have shifted. As a firm we are mainly focused on the individual and how they fit into our firm and culture. Character and ability and willingness to learn are very critical,” added Ms Lilech.
Professional services firm Deloitte echoed similar sentiment, saying it had tweaked its selection process to recruit a more diverse “talent pool”.
“Deloitte hires graduates from all fields of study since we have a wide service offering and client base in need of diverse expertise. We believe in training and coaching to equip the graduates to take up any role in the firm,” Doreen Mbogho, talent partner at Deloitte East Africa, said in interview.
She said the graduates will be seconded to the assurance, tax, consulting, corporate finance, human capital, technology advisory, business process services, strategy and operations units.
However, staff have the opportunity to move across different service lines depending on their interests and career trajectory.
KPMG said last year it made changes to its graduate recruitment to suit people born between 1980 and 2000 — the so-called millennial generation.
KPMG follows a set minimum criterion when recruiting graduates where, for instance, one is expected to be below 27- years- old and to have graduated within the last two years.
Its recently recruited select team is set to go through orientation then proceed through the specialised training.
Instead of conducting three separate assessments over several weeks, it now merges the process into one day.
KPMG said it made the change following research suggesting millennials were frustrated by lengthy recruitment processes.
It was not immediately clear how many recruits the other big four firms have taken on board or are eyeing.
Credit: Business Daily