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Is a recruitment squeeze coming?

Trainee numbers at the Top 75 UK accounting firms are being squeezed, with the total number of trainees growing by just 2.8% in 2017, according to the latest comprehensive survey from Accountancy magazine.

May 2018

This compares with an 18% rise in numbers in 2016.
There appears to be some big changes in the recruitment policy at firms. The biggest recruiter of trainees, PwC, cut its trainee intake in 2017 by 5.5% to 3,625. Meanwhile, RSM reduced the number of trainees it took on from 400 in 2016 to just 280 in 2017. Thatís a drop of 30%. Top firms BDO, Moore Stephens and Mazars also significantly cut down on trainee numbers.
It isnít all bad news, however. EY increased its recruitment of trainees by nearly 11%, KPMG by 8.5% and Smith Williamson a whooping 34.6%. The biggest Top 20 riser, however, was PKF UK. It took on 302 trainees in 2016 and 459 last year, a jump of 52%.
In all, Accountancy recorded 19,120 trainees in the top 75 firms, but felt that there are clearly signs of the start of a slowdown in the recruitment of future accountants.
The report also highlights the shift in recruitment patterns because of the apprenticeship levy and increasing regionalism, with firms focusing more of their resources away from the capital.

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