Accenture to cut 900 UK jobs as pandemic hits demand

Accenture will cut up to 900 jobs in the UK as the US-listed consultancy lowers costs due to a decline in work during the coronavirus pandemic.

The company told its 11,000 employees in the UK this week that about 8 per cent of jobs at all levels would be cut. Redundancies will start this month and conclude by September.

Demand for consultants has dropped during the financial downturn caused by the pandemic, as companies have paused deals and put large transformation projects on hold. Source Global Research, which advises the professional services industry, estimated the size of the global consulting sector would constrict by nearly a fifth to $130bn in 2020.

The UK’s large advisory and accounting firms Deloitte, PwC, KPMG and EY have cut partner pay by between 20 per cent and 25 per cent since March to preserve cash as fees, particularly from management consulting and tax work, dry up.

Accenture said on Thursday: “We have notified our UK people that it is necessary to go into collective employee consultation for a proposed redundancy programme.

“We remain confident in our business in the UK for the long term. We are taking steps now to be able to continue investing in our workforce and our business, ensuring we have the right people with the right skills to best serve our clients and are well positioned for the future.”

The consultancy told its staff that it had an “overcapacity of people relative to demand” even before the crisis hit, according to the Guardian, which first reported the news.

The note to staff said: “The crisis has caused additional strain on the business due to lower demand and reduced national attrition. In addition, we have identified structural costs that we need to address.”

Accenture is based in Dublin and is listed on the New York Stock Exchange. It employs 442,000 staff in 55 countries.

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