The future of staffing
A roundup of hiring and training trends across the profession
EY eyes over 15,000 new hires
Big Four firm EY recently announced that it will boost its hiring in the new year, with approximately 15,700 candidates expected to be brought on board in the U.S. In its 2019 fiscal year (which began on July 1, 2018), the firm looks to add 6,300 “experienced and executive-level positions” in full-time capacities, as well as 9,400 students for jobs and internships.
“With growing demand for our services comes an ambitious recruiting plan,” Larry Nash, U.S. recruiting leader at EY, told Accounting Today. “We need candidates who can work effectively in teams, analyze, innovate and think with a global mindset, regardless of their domain expertise or background.”
EY reports that 20 percent of the firm’s U.S. executive hires in FY18 were women, along with 47 percent of its entry-level hires and 50 percent of its intern campus hires. EY also reports that 39 percent of its campus hires were ethnic minorities.
“As our workforce continues to become more diverse, we also look to hire individuals who lead inclusively,” added Nash. “To better equip our employees to do so, we provide all new managers with unconscious bias training, and conduct regular research on biases to help inform our employees’ decisions and ensure they are giving their colleagues a voice — no matter what their background.”
Hiring more tech-minded candidates — in such areas as cybersecurity, data analytics, blockchain and tax technology — is also on the radar. EY is preparing for the new business landscape not only through hiring but also internal initiatives, such as “EY ARC,” which presents staff with “cutting-edge content ... and case studies” on emerging areas of business.
“Technology’s role in and impact on accounting is only growing,” said Nash. “This is apparent when we think about the skills we’re looking for in our new hires. For example, while we will always need dynamic leaders with traditional business backgrounds and skills in accounting and supply chain, upskilling employees with skills in areas such as cybersecurity, data analytics, blockchain and robotics has become increasingly important. That said, soft skills such as critical thinking and leadership still remain incredibly vital.”
EY is also embracing the gig economy through Gignow, a network of its own contractor talent. Contract workers currently comprise 13 percent of EY’S global staff, the firm says, with some 16,000 contractors registered for Gignow short-term work.
IFAC: Gen Z open to accounting
Move over, millennials: members of Gen Z, the latest age group entering the workforce, are seeking accounting careers, according to new data.
The International Federation of Accountants’ new report, “Make Way for Gen Z: Identifying What Matters Most to the Next Generation,” polled 3,388 individuals from ages 18 and 23 across G20 countries on topics ranging from public policy to their own careers. The report found that there has been a dynamic shift from the millennial to the Gen Z workforce, with Gen Z generally favoring career stability and salary/ benefits. “Gen Z demonstrates an overarching desire for stability and a passion for advocacy in key areas,” stated Rachel Grimes and Fayezul Choudhury, IFAC’S president and CEO, respectively, in the report. “This generation is concerned about financial security, and favors conservatism in government, economics and their careers. Gen Z’s preferences are a notable departure from the traits that have come to define their predecessors, the millennials, including the desire to ‘live the dream at any cost’ and pursue career independence.”
Eighty percent of respondents cited a “stable career path” as an important characteristic in choosing an accounting career, with another 76 percent and 71 percent citing “salary and benefits expectation” and “work-life balance,” respectively.
“Eighty-seven percent of Gen Z see professional accountancy as attractive or very attractive in terms of offering a stable career path, 86 percent in terms of salary and benefits expectations,” the report noted. “It is clear [that] sustained effort is needed to inspire them about the variety of experiences (50 percent attractive/ very attractive) and potential to make a meaningful impact (54 percent) through a career in professional accountancy.” Other findings from the report include:
37 percent of respondents believe jobs will “get more interesting” in accountancy, with another 38 percent believing “more jobs will be created” in the profession.
58 percent believe they have a “clear plan” for their careers.
74 percent of respondents learn of new job opportunities on the internet.
50 percent of respondents cite “a stable career path” as “very important” to their careers, while 46 percent consider “work-life balance” to also be “very important.”
RSM US launches industry eminence program
Top 10 Firm RSM US announced the launch of its industry eminence program, designed to give a volunteer class of staff members an in-depth understanding of contemporary business and tech trends to help them better advise their clients on these concepts in the middle market.
Created and led by RSM US chief economist Joe Brusuelas and deputy chief economist Kevin Depew, the program first began in May, featuring 11 fellows in its inaugural class. The program seeks to help candidates comprehend and communicate a multitude of economic, business and technology trends impacting the firm’s clients.
“RSM’S vision is to be the first-choice advisor to middle-market leaders globally,” said RSM US managing partner and CEO Joe Adams, in a statement. “The eminence program equips RSM to accelerate our delivery of this vision through an intensive business, economic and technology curriculum focused squarely on the unique needs and trends that impact the industries we serve.”
“We designed the program curriculum to be on par with what top graduate programs are teaching their students about this transformative shift in the economy,” stated Brusuelas. “The difference is we are teaching it in a way that has immediate practical applications for RSM and our middle-market clients.”
Depew told Accounting Today that the program is a three-year rotational program taught primarily by himself and Brusuelas. Areas covered include industry analysis, big data, artificial intelligence and machine learning. The program is open to “experienced managers, senior managers, consulting directors and newer partners/principals” from any line of business at RSM US. Program applications are reviewed by an internal committee, with finalists going on to interview with members of the current inaugural class, the RSM national industry leadership team, and program instructors.
“The goal is to train the next generation of audit, tax and consulting professionals to elevate their industry expertise to help navigate the speed and scope of the ongoing digital revolution while providing forward-looking industry insight to internal and external clients,” Depew said. “As the digital economy continues to evolve, it is more important than ever to understand the trends that are affecting and reshaping industries. We are working with leading platforms to analyze economic information, and we have also partnered with outside parties to deliver public speaking and executive presentation skills, as well as media training. Finally, fellows are receiving training through some top universities, both online and in person.”
Clients will receive this new advice in addition to the regular services provided by RSM US staff. “This program and the added value to our middle-market clients is complementary in recognition of the rapidly changing industry dynamics that are critical to the success of their businesses,” Depew continued. “In today’s world, it’s no longer enough to provide just audit, tax and consulting services without also providing deep industry expertise and an understanding of the business issues that are specific to the middle market.”