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April 30, 2008

Big Four axe jobs across Ireland

By Nicholas Moody

The Big Four in Ireland is reacting to the economic slowdown with redundancies, pay cuts and a possible drop in graduate recruitment.

KPMG Ireland is to lay off about 200 staff and Ernst & Young in the UK and Ireland said 120 people are at risk of redundancy. PricewaterhouseCoopers Ireland (PwC) is to cut the pay packets of some professional and support staff by 10 percent while Deloitte will also cull some positions.

KPMG Ireland is making about a tenth of its workforce redundant and forcing other staff to take pay cuts of up to 10 percent. Both measures will take effect in May.

The redundancies were initially thought to affect recently qualified accountants and support staff but Irish media reports suggest 75 job cuts could be at manager or director level.

The Irish Independent reported 40 senior staff would be culled from the tax division, 20 from advisory, 10 from audit and five from support services. Another 85 cuts will be made to newly qualified accountants with the remaining 45 cuts from support and secretarial areas.

Pay cuts of 5 percent will apply to remaining staff earning less than €35,000 ($44,000) and 10 percent to salaries above this figure.

No trainees have been made redundant and the programme will not impact the 250 graduates joining the firm this year.

Ernst & Young said about 120 people were at risk of redundancy in its UK and Ireland offices. An E&Y spokesperson said some of its workforce has been redeployed, particularly in restructuring, but also in other growth areas across the Europe, Middle East, India and Africa region.

E&Y expects to take on around 600 graduates in the UK and Ireland later this year.

PwC is making plans for a number of initiatives to avoid redundancies, including reduced working hours, incentivised leave for travel or study and secondments to other firms in the PwC network.

Where there is surplus capacity and all other options have been exhausted, some roles may be made redundant in the future.

Deloitte Ireland is to cut about 70 staff.

Nicholas Moody

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