PwC Will Be Hiring Aggressively On Campus and Off, Fueled By Clients' Post-Recessionary Needs

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Between 2009 and 2010, PricewaterhouseCoopers' campus recruiting goals in the United States increased 35 to 45 percent, and PwC is continuing to hire at the same accelerated rate for its current fiscal year, says the accounting firm's U.S. recruiting leader.

During the period from July 1, 2010 through June 30, 2011, the Big Four accountancy hired roughly 12,000 people including full-timers and interns. This included 7,000 hired via campus recruiting and another 5,000 experienced hires.

Holly Paul, PwC's U.S. Recruiting Leader in Bethesda, Md. told eFinancialCareers that during its current fiscal year ending next summer, PwC is geared up to do the same. Paul manages a team of more than 200 recruiters in the United States.

"We've had huge growth and goals," she says, with this year on par with last year-a time when the company hired more employees than at any time in its history.

Assurance to get the largest share of new hires

The largest share of hires during the current period will be for PwC's assurance practice, she says, since this is without a doubt its largest line. "The core of that is doing financial statement audits," Paul explained.

That said, PwC's most competitive and sought after positions reside in its advisory practice.

"Advisory is always extremely sought after and probably our most competitive area," the recruiter explained, since job candidates needn't have an undergraduate accounting major or an accounting master's degree to qualify.

"We will [also] hire some economics, engineering, health sciences and computer sciences majors and business majors," for the advisory team, says Paul, which is geared toward helping businesses with business transformations and reorganizations, including mergers and divestitures and IPO activity.

PwC has no geographical preferences for candidates, Paul says, given its 50 offices across the U.S. and the fact that its experts routinely travel to meet with clients. But there are several sets of qualifications the firm seeks.

"We're always looking for people with technical accounting experience and public accounting experience," Paul says. "We're also looking for professionals who've worked in consulting and professional services environments and those with a real desire to work in teams who also have a client service focus." IT skills will be a plus as well.

When recruiting on campus from roughly 150 top accounting schools, meanwhile, PwC seeks:

- A GPA of over 3.5

- Students who are CPA-eligible according to the state definition

-Those with a proven track record of success both in school and in extracurricular activities

It will help if you've led a sports club or another organization during your college career and can show how "you've focused on a particular passion and amassed other individuals on campus to help," for instance.

Paul says the accounting field is hot right now from a job seeker's perspective because so many firms coming out of the recession may be either looking to divest of unprofitable units or alternatively, wanting to get back into the business of doing deals. Either way, says Paul, "They'll bring in a firm like PwC to make them more efficient."

Recently, eFinancialCareers' UK office reported that The Big Four accounting firms tend to hire high volumes of people because so many of them will move on after they've received some basic training.

Paul says there's truth to the statement.

PwC staffers are constantly in touch with company CEOs, controllers and other members of the management team, and they'll often get to know these individuals well enough to attract job offers.

If PwC clients end up hiring PwC accounting professionals, "We don't necessarily see that as a negative," Paul says.

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