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How to get a job at Deloitte, EY, KPMG and PWC

The Big Four, hopefully, should need no introduction.

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If they do, you’re probably in the wrong place. But assuming you’re not, the Big Four are the world’s biggest and most well-known professional services firms: Deloitte, EY, KPMG, and PwC. They’re quite prestigious, well paid, and tough to get in to – but we are here to help you achieve those jobs. 

Which jobs are there at the Big Four? 

Big Four jobs are related to Big Four firm’s functions. Historically, they were best known for their audit & assurance services (essentially accounting), but their bigger revenue drivers now include consulting fees. They also provide tax and legal services, M&A advice and transaction help. They hire students for all these areas. 

What are your chances of getting in to the Big Four? 

Acceptance rates vary between firms (and not all firms are willing to disclose how many people applied or were accepted). Last year, PwC received over 100,000 student applications to its UK early careers roles, of which 2,045 were successful (plus an additional 2,050 on work experience programs). 

EY had pretty similar numbers. In 2023 it accepted 1,800 “graduates, school leavers, and interns” out of 70,000 total applicants. KPMG didn’t disclose how many applicants it received, but it did say that it accepted 1,400 graduates and apprentices last year. 

The Big Four recruitment process 

Most Big Four firms run similar recruitment processes. 

Deloitte’s application process has four stages; an online application form, an “immersive” online assessment that involves “numerical, verbal, and critical reasoning” questions, a job simulation, and a final stage assessment that varies depending on the business area you’ve applied to – it can be anything from an interview to a virtual assessment center. Do note that that part of the process (the final stage, specifically) will be changing in September 2024. That change will likely lead to more assessment centers, most likely in-person.

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EY’s recruitment process is even simpler, featuring a three-to-four stage process that includes an online numeracy test and job simulation, an assessment center (which includes group exercises), and an interview. 

PwC’s process varies depending on what’s been applied to, but it’s longer than both of the above, no matter how you cut it. It includes an online application form, online tests (that look for cognitive skills, behavioral preferences, and numerical reasoning), and then a video interview. 

If that PwC video interview goes well, there’s a virtual assessment center – which includes a group activity, a presentation, and another interview – and yet another interview, for some roles. That can be anywhere between four and seven stages, depending on how you count them. 

KPMG has a shorter application process, but a bit more of a unique one. It starts with an online application that should only take 30 minutes to complete, followed immediately (really immediately – you’re automatically enrolled once you submit your application) by an online assessment. This assessment, which involves fictional small businesses who are consulting you, will take around 90 minutes, meaning you should block off at least two hours on the day you apply. 

If those first two stages at KPMG go well, you’ll be invited to another online assessment, which will take about an hour, and involves one of the small businesses in the previous assessment. If you pass that, you’ll be invited to an in-person event called Launch Pad. At Launch Pad, you’ll have an interview and a group assessment to complete – and within two working days, hopefully, a job offer from KPMG. 

What do the Big Four look for in candidates? 

This varies somewhat less between the firms. In a nutshell, what the Big Four are looking for is unique people – with diverse backgrounds and special stories. 

Kevin Basmadji KPMG’s UK head of talent acquisition says they look for people with something special to offer.” This can include aspects of their experience, strong awareness of business, a curiosity to find out more or the ability to think of new ways to solve problems.” 

EY’s head of UK & Ireland talent attraction and acquisition, Matthew Jeffrey, agreed with the proverbial eye test for candidates. “Talent and potential are determined by more than just academic,” he says. “We look at the whole person, not just their academic achievements.” 

Deloitte’s head of early careers recruitment, Lauren McCafferty notes that successful applicants brought “fresh approaches and new ideas,” and that the firm encourages students “from a range of backgrounds and with different experiences.” 

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Bear with us if you leave a comment at the bottom of this article: all our comments are moderated by human beings. Sometimes these humans might be asleep, or away from their desks, so it may take a while for your comment to appear. Eventually it will – unless it’s offensive or libelous (in which case it won’t.)

AUTHORZeno Toulon
  • LU
    28 February 2024

    Great overview of the Big Four and their recruitment processes! Securing a position at these prestigious firms requires careful consideration and preparation. The details about acceptance rates and the recruitment stages at Deloitte, EY, PwC, and KPMG are particularly insightful. The emphasis on seeking unique individuals with diverse backgrounds and stories is a valuable point for potential candidates to keep in mind. Thanks for providing this comprehensive and informative breakdown!

  • Bu
    24 June 2016

    Vinayak, it means the company makes way more money than what they are actually paying you. For example: Say you work for one of the big 4 at a rate of $20 per hour. Your big 4 company will then bill/invoice the company you've been contracted for at a rate of $40 to $60 per hour.

  • Vi
    14 June 2016

    can you please elaborate "be ready to get thrown into projects where they can bill you for three times what they pay you."

  • Vi
    14 June 2016

    Can you please elaborate on "be ready to get thrown into projects where they can bill you for three times what they pay you." ?

  • DD
    20 May 2016

    Tell me about it. It puts down the reputation of the firm and their professionalism. If not for the experience and to market yourself for the next job, I wouldn't consider to be in the Big 4.

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