Big Four and Accenture named top employers for Irish graduates

19 June 2018 5 min. read

Consultancies dominated the list of companies that took home awards at the 2018 Graduate Recruitment Awards in Ireland. KPMG, PwC, EY, and Accenture were all recognised at the ceremony, while Deloitte was named the overall Best Graduate Employer.

GradIreland – a partnership between the Association of Higher Education Career Services (AHECS) and careers publishing company Group GTI – puts on the Graduate Recruitment Awards every year to recognise the best companies in the field of post-studies employment. Two sets of awards are given out – those selected by a panel of experts, and those chosen by the students themselves.

At this year’s awards, Deloitte was chosen by the expert panel as the Graduate Employer of the Year across all sectors, with what judges described as an outstanding recruitment programme that is complete with a sharp focus on innovation in marketing, digital engagement, and the application process. Deloitte also won the award for Best Innovation on Campus. The Big Four accounting and consulting firm has about 263,900 professionals working in over 150 countries, with almost 3,000 employees in Ireland.

“We are delighted to be named Ireland’s top graduate employer,” commented Brendan Jennings, Managing Partner at Deloitte Ireland. “At Deloitte, we recognise that success in the workplace comes in many different forms and so are committed to providing a challenging but inclusive and enjoyable workplace and career path where graduates can develop and grow as successful individuals.”Big Four and Accenture named top employers for Irish graduates

Consultancies dominate

In the other expert panel selected categories, premier consultancies took home another four trophies. KPMG was the recipient of the award for Best Internship Programme with an intake greater than 50 people. KPMG Ireland has over 2800 employees in offices based in Dublin, Belfast, Cork, and Galway.

Fellow Big Four firm EY won two awards on the night – raking first in Best Student Marketing Campaign and Best Graduate Training and Development Programme. The firm grew rapidly in Ireland last year, increasing its headcount by 14% to 2,400 employees, and posting revenues of €247 million. Part of its organic growth is no doubt attributable to its excellent student recruitment and development programmes.

A number of student-selected awards were also handed out at the gala. In an environment where firms are increasingly competing for young professionals with the right talent mix, especially in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields, companies want to make sure that they are attractive to skilled graduates. In the student-selected categories, PwC was chosen as the Best Graduate Employer in the accountancy/professional services sector. The firm experienced positive growth in Ireland last year, growing revenues from €407 million in 2016 to €446 million in 2017, and expanding headcount from 3,596 to 4,163. The company beat fellow Big Four firms EY, Deloitte, and KPMG, as well as BDO and Grant Thornton.

Management and technology consultancy Accenture won the student-selected award for best employer in the consulting category for the second consecutive year. The firm has 2,500 employees in Ireland, and had revenues of €270 million last year. Accenture beat prestigious strategy firms McKinsey and BCG to snag the award, as well as Mercer and Willis Towers Watson.

Ireland’s consulting industry

Ireland’s management consulting industry was worth about €700 million in 2016, and has experienced solid growth in line with the country’s GDP growth. The industry relies heavily on public sector contracts, which account for a quarter of revenues – only Greece’s management consulting industry is more reliant on public sector work, at 37%. The consulting industry is also more dependent on domestic clients than other similar economies, with 89% of revenues sourced from Irish clients. Much of the rest is from UK clients, who are likely to scale back spending due to Brexit. The close economic ties of Ireland with Britain are likely to induce some economic turmoil in the aftermath of Brexit, the effects of which will no doubt also be felt in the Irish consulting industry.