After declaring open season on 1200 full time graduate and student vacancies in early October, PricewaterhouseCoopers UK announced Monday that it had received over 5,500 applications for the spots—representing the firm's "highest ever graduate recruitment levels" and a 118 percent increase from the same period last year. Both recruiters and outside analysts hailed the influx of applications as a sign that recent graduates, many of whom acquired advanced degrees while waiting out the recession, are ready to test the improving job market. The bulk of the jobs on offer are in PwC's assurance practice (700), though the overall allocation also calls for 200 new consultants. More than 500 internships, set to begin in 2011, are up for grabs too; recruiters note that the firm is "putting a stronger emphasis on identifying and attracting the best talent early on."
For American job seekers feeling left out of the hiring spree, fear not! Employment prospects are excellent at many of the top consultancies on this side of the pond—including at PwC. In the U.S., Fortune says, the firm has a whopping 8,528 job openings set to be filled in the next year. Further, the publication notes that advisory, under which consulting falls, is "particularly hot right now." And it gets better. Ernst & Young, one of PwC's Big Four rivals, is seeking 10,000 new hires; BCG (2,000), Booz Allen (1,102), and Accenture (1,000) also made Fortune of corporations making major hiring pushes late this year and into next. Best of all, Deloitte Touche Tomatsu, another Big Four mainstay, recently announced plans to hire an average of 50,000 employees each year for the next five years, totaling a staggering 250,000 by 2015. Considering that Deloitte's consulting division has been by far the conglomerate's most profitable relative to size, it's a safe bet that a good many of those hired will be consultants.
As consultancies begin to open their doors to new hires again, young talent will be among the major trophies recruiters will pursue. Recent graduates, largely frozen out of the bearish job market, are an attractive commodity; cheap, motivated, and likely willing to commit their allegiance to whatever firm actually offers them a job, this demographic should see some well-deserved action in the coming months. Of course, an influx of young, malleable talent also means higher demand for experienced heads to manage them.
So, dispirited job seekers of all ages and geographies, dust off your resumes and bask in the warmth of these rays of hope! But not for too long—the odds of getting hired at, say, a PwC, won't stay at 22 percent (yeah math!) forever.
- Sam Reynolds
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