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KPMG layoffs

KPMG
New answer on Dec 11, 2023
9 Answers
2.4 k Views
Anonymous A asked on Feb 15, 2023

KPMG is laying off 5% of staff. Should we expect something similar at other firms, including MBB? Or if not layoffs, other measures (e.g. delayed start dates, unpaid leaves etc)?

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Hagen
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replied on Feb 16, 2023
#1 Bain coach | >95% success rate | interviewer for 8+ years | mentor and coach for 7+ years

Hi there,

I think this is an interesting question that may be relevant for many people. I would be happy to share my thoughts on it:

  • I feel that you need to put things into perspective regarding the KPMG layoffs. The KPMG layoffs were essentially a non-event on an organizational level as they only occurred in the US and affected just 700 employees (i.e., 2% of the workforce in the US). While we cannot know for certain what happened, it is likely that since currently, many people panic about a recession, they just stick to their jobs, including those in the Big 4. However, given that personnel planning in consulting/ accounting is made with a certain churn in mind, this was likely just a correction for that churn.
  • Moreover, contrary to what another coach said, there have been layoffs (or the European version of it, being asked to leave) in both the great financial crisis and the COVID-19 crisis. For instance, during the COVID-19 crisis, BCG in the DACH region is said to have asked a lower double-digit share of employees to leave.
  • As for the future, we really cannot tell. So far, to my knowledge, there have not been any layoffs, but recruiting has slowed down or been frozen altogether, and start dates have been delayed.

If you would like a more detailed discussion on how to address your specific situation, please don't hesitate to contact me directly.

Best,

Hagen

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Florian
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replied on Feb 16, 2023
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Hi there,

There is definitely a potential for further layoffs.

Already at the moment, there is a large number of consultants on the beach. A former client of mine reached out recently and told me that in his MBB there are more than 1,000 juniors on the bench…

I heard stories from McK Europe in 2008/09 where people were let go after a couple of months on the beach + higher ranks in the company were not promoted (=counseled to leave).

What I am currently seeing across my network are three things:

1. Hiring stop or significant slowdown

2. Harder to get through the resume screening (related to 1)

3. A lot of people on the beach

Cheers,
Florian

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Anonymous B replied on Dec 11, 2023

Although it is true that KPMG has announced that it will be laying off five percent of its workforce, this does not necessarily mean that other companies, such as MBB (McKinsey, Bain, and Boston Consulting Group), will follow suit or implement measures that are comparable to those that have been announced by KPMG. Each company functions independently and makes decisions based on the particular circumstances and business strategies that pertain to what they engage in.

Note that the consulting industry, which includes MBB firms, is highly competitive and frequently adjusts to changes in the market. This is an important point to put into consideration. When confronted with challenging economic conditions, consulting firms may investigate a variety of options to manage their workforce. These options may include modifying hiring plans, implementing cost-saving measures, or restructuring teams. The specific actions that are taken, on the tunnel rush other hand, will be determined by the specific circumstances and strategies of each individual company.

 

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Ian
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replied on Feb 16, 2023
#1 BCG coach | MBB | Tier 2 | Digital, Tech, Platinion | 100% personal success rate (8/8) | 95% candidate success rate

Hi there,

Please remember that these layoffs pale in comparison to the hiring of 2022. Media loves headlines.

Of course we are in a bit of a slowdown. You should expect some other measures as you ahve indicated (for example, we have see a slowdown in hiring).

 

 

 

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Rodriguez on Jan 18, 2024

What are the requirements for continued employment? Or are we required to recruit new people? Does this take too much time to train? Need testing staff 2 player games

Cristian
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replied on Feb 17, 2023
#1 rated MBB & McKinsey Coach

Hi there, 

It's impossible to predict these things, as you might expect. 

Consulting firms tend to be rather resilient and adaptable in these situations and fortunately they still have clients regardless of whether the economy is doing well or not. 

Also remember that all these layoffs also depend on the geography that you're in. In countries such as Germany these things almost never happen because of tough labour laws, whereas in the US they tend to be more common.

Best,

Cristian

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Benjamin
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replied on Feb 15, 2023
Ex-BCG Principal | 8+ years consulting experience in SEA | BCG top interviewer & top performer

Hi,

Historically, as far as I know, MBB (at least BCG) did not lay off consultants during the GFC in 2008 2009. Neither did BCG lay individuals off during Covid. 

In fact what happened during the GFC was that some firms slowed down hiring so much that some offices did not have enough capacity when business picked up again post-crisis.

What I expect to see and what I have heard anecdotally is:

  • Lower hiring quotas so less interviews being given out
  • Delayed start dates 

 

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Florian on Feb 16, 2023

Hi Benjamin, I heard stories from McK Europe in 2008/09 where people were let go after a couple of months on the beach + higher ranks in the company were not promoted (=counseled to leave). Cheers, Florian

Hagen on Feb 16, 2023

Hi Benjamin, indeed, there have been layoffs (or the European version of it, being asked to leave) during the great financial crisis. However, maybe this was not the case for SEA and as such, you didn't know.

Adi
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replied on Feb 16, 2023
Accenture, Deloitte | Precision Case Prep | Experienced Interviewer & Career Coach | 15 years professional experience

Most big Consulting companies will lay off or are already laying off staff. Contractors, underperformers or those on the bench for a long period (>6-9 months) will be the first ones to go→ I know through my network that EY is doing the same.

A lot of this is also done quietly specially in partnership firms vs public firms (e.g. Accenture). When the lay off numbers are big (>5%) they have to annouce to the market.

Its the sad reality of capitalism (relentless focus on profits and share price) and the unstable economic conditions.

Its very difficult to generalise this in every office and every country as you can imagine, but broadly what I have said is true.

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Rushabh
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replied on Feb 22, 2023
Limited Availability | BCG Expert | Middle East Expert | 100+ Mocks Delivered | IESE & NYU MBA | Ex-KPMG Dxb Consultant

Hello,

It would just be taking a guess to predict the future. But looking at the trend from KPMG and more recently McKinsey, one could argue that this is a consequence of over-hiring soon after the pandemic. 

Also, keep in mind that McKinsey has laid off their back office employees. Further, these are incidents that have happened in mature markets, not in emerging markets like Asia / Middle East - where hiring is still strong, albeit relatively slower than expected.

Best,

Rushabh

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sachalizz on Oct 18, 2023

It is also one of the reasons. But I think they want to change personnel to have new things instead of long-term staff with no new ideas for development

Pedro
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replied on Apr 07, 2023
Bain | Roland Berger | EY-Parthenon | Mentoring Approach | 30% off first 10 sessions in May| Market Sizing | DARDEN MBA

Delaying interviews or the starting date for employment offers, definitely.

Delaying start dates (where there are already agreed upon start dates) unlikely for MBB/Tier 2.

Layoffs for strategy consulting firms, not really (for non consulting staff, yes; for consulting staff no). The reason is that rotation is quite high for consultants. They manage the total number of people mostly from adjusting recruiting (fresh grads and experience hires - and the experience hires are the first to be delayed) and through a bit more aggressive up or out (but this is not the most important tool).

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Hagen gave the best answer

Hagen

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