EY is recruiting about 7,500 graduates and interns combined in Asia for jobs starting next year, says the firm’s Asian HR head.
This number will be split roughly 50/50 between grads and interns. Greater China will make up the bulk of the hires, with about 2,500 interns and more than 2,000 grads.
In Singapore, EY plans to add 340 university degree holders, 60 polytechnic grads and 600 interns to its ranks in 2017. The rest of its upcoming Asian campus recruitment will mainly focus on Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines.
“Most graduate hires in Asia are in our traditional practice, audit, followed by tax – but we are also now ramping up our advisory practice in areas such as cyber security and big data analysis for performance improvement, for example,” says Bin Wolfe, Asia Pacific managing partner for talent at EY.
As a result, Wolfe says EY is now trying to target more science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) graduates in Asia.
“While STEM grads often think about going into companies like Google, Facebook or Boeing, not enough of them are considering EY, even though our advisory practice has an increasing number of suitable jobs,” says Wolfe. “We have to raise our profile, which is not as high in this area as it is among business students going into audit and tax jobs.”
Why might a graduate in Singapore, Hong Kong or China choose EY over Google? Wolfe says that while the firm offers competitive compensation, the “huge differentiators” are that it invests a lot in staff learning and development and offers better long term-career growth than many of its competitors.
Wolfe says EY’s Asian graduate jobs are based on an “apprentice model”. “We hire people who have a solid knowledge base from university and we then build on this – so we primarily want grads who are willing to learn new skills and are flexible to adapt to changing market conditions. The skills you need to succeed now won’t be those you need in five years, so you must be like a good athlete who can play different sports.”
EY offers several internship and traineeship programmes in Asia and deadlines vary. Local university students in Singapore, for example, must apply for 2017 graduate jobs this month, with interviews taking place in July. For similar roles in Greater China you apply in autumn and go to interviews September to December.
The recruitment process also varies between countries and divisions, but typically involves one-on-one interviews and a teamworking exercise at an assessment centre. “We might also use behavioural and problem-solving tests and we might test your language skills,” says Wolfe.
Unsurprisingly, competition for places is fierce – EY receives more than 10 times the number of applicants as it has intern and graduate jobs.
To be selected Wolfe says you should understand the specific business unit you’re applying for, research wider industry trends, and talk to EY recruitment teams when they visit your university. “And don’t disregard any of your experience – if you’ve worked in a coffee shop, tell us how this demonstrated your communication and customer service skills.”
“Most importantly, I’d encourage people to be their true selves at interviews and assessment centres. It’s a fairly long recruitment process and you’ll get found out if you try to be someone you’re not.”
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