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It’s a hiring frenzy at the big four in China

The big four accounting firms have all trumpeted ambitious hiring plans in China recently and have kicked off their graduate recruitment campaigns with a bang. We see what Deloitte, PricewaterhouseCoopers, KPMG and Ernst &Young are up to.

Deloitte

The East China HR recruitment team at Deloitte China plans to recruit more than 2,000 candidates next year, including 600 in Shanghai. The firm, which has offices in 15 cities in China, will also undertake about 50 campus recruitment campaigns, the first of which started in September.

In Shanghai, Deloitte focuses on audit, tax, risk and compliance, management consulting and global transactions. Candidates may not have necessarily majored in accounting. The firm values candidates who have active-learning, problem-solving, communication and leadership skills.

PricewaterhouseCoopers

It’s hiring season as well at PricewaterhouseCoopers China and Hong Kong. The firm has announced plans to take on about 15,000 graduates and experienced professionals over the next five years, across all lines of service in Asia Pacific. Its graduate recruitment programme, which started in August, aims to hire more than 2,000 recruits for greater China.

Nora Wu, PwC Asia Pacific human capital leader, says: “We emphasise teamwork and require new recruits to be detail minded and committed. Agility is also important, as priorities can move fast, but this is part of the excitement of being part of a large professional global network.”

PwC invests in comprehensive learning and development programmes that see associates receive an average of 120 training hours in their first year of work. Another draw for potential employees is the firm’s global mobility opportunities. In 2010, 2,700 people from different PwC offices were posted on both short- and long-term international assignments.

KPMG

KPMG is also keen on mobility. The firm recently opened a global China practice which aims to provide professional services for clients who make overseas investments. Margaret So, HR director, KPMG China, says: “It provides a two-way mobility channel for our people. One is to attract people globally to China, and the other is sending out people from China to abroad.”

Talent shortages have been an sector-wide problem for several years thanks to China’s rapid economic growth. Firms are also not only competing with each other, but also with banks and corporates. So says: “We continue to hire experienced talents, and focus on three areas: audit, tax advisory and management consulting. We welcome talented people from both the profession and the industry.”

Candidates from local accounting firms have to adapt to the KPMG environment. “We welcome people with good business connections and who have professional qualifications or industry knowledge and experience. There may be a learning curve for them, but many have settled down well.”

KPMG is recruiting 1,700 graduates in China. “We invest in them, provide training for them to pass the industry exam and gain professional experience. It is a big part of our recruitment.”

Ernst & Young

During the eFinancialCareers roundtable in Shanghai last month, an Ernst & Young representative said her firm engages younger employees via social networking websites, using their lingo and organising activities and events catered for them. Social media is a popular hiring tool and platform today, and the big four firms have all established a presence on Renren and Sina Weibo to attract and interact with candidates.

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