Slowing global growth is weighing heavily on prospects in the banking industry at the moment, even in Asia, but the outlook is evidently brighter for accounting firms.
To meet the scale of the opportunity, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) is planning to more than double its workforce in China and Hong Kong during the next five years. The 15,000 hires will include both graduates and experienced professionals across all lines of the business, the global accounting firm said in a statement. It currently employs 14,000 people in Greater China and Singapore, including 620 partners.
PwC made the announcement in the same week that HSBC said it would axe 3,000 jobs in Hong Kong during the next three years in a bid to cut costs by up to $3.5 billion by 2013. The bank is one of the biggest employers in the city, with 23,000 staff in total.
PwC has committed to hire more than 2,000 university graduates from mainland China and Hong Kong through its graduate recruitment programme, which kicked off with its first campus recruitment talk on September 6. Other interviews will be held in Shanghai on September 19, Beijing on September 27 and Guangzhou on September 28.
“PwC China and Hong Kong continued to grow strongly, with the firm’s people helping PwC to be rated the number one accounting firm in China by the Chinese Institute of Certified Public Accountants, an accolade it has held for the past nine consecutive years,” said Nora Wu, head of Asia-Pacific human capital at the firm.
Wu said the firm is aiming to recruit graduates who possess a passion for the industry and willingness to learn, as well as being open-minded and flexible.
“We emphasise teamwork and require new recruits to be detail-minded and committed,” she said. “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 is recruiting people from a variety of educational backgrounds, including those outside accounting. “We target to recruit the best and brightest graduates from a variety of universities as we focus on quality and believe in diversity,” Wu said.
The firm had already committed last year to hiring 10,000 people in China within the next five years to meet the growing demand for professional services in the country. In particular, it is predicting strong growth for its advisory business.
As part of that plan, PwC said it will add 650 people in its office in Guangzhou, the capital city of Guangdong.