The Big Four professional services firms — Deloitte, PWC, EY, and KPMG — are on a hiring spree in India, prompted by an all-time high demand for consulting services from companies across sectors trying to navigate through rapid technology adoption after the pandemic.
These four top consulting companies and their shared services units in India are likely to hire about 80,000 people in the next 12 months to cater to the demand of business growth and due to high attrition, according to estimates by top company officials and industry insiders.
According to exclusive data shared by specialist staffing firm Xpheno with ET, in the financial year 2021-22, the Big Four and their subsidiaries in the country together created about 55,000 new jobs. About 52,000 of these jobs were created in the technology function alone, as companies sought professional help amid an accelerated pace of digitisation.
Gross hiring for these companies stood at 88,000 for the fiscal year, including the headcount refill due to an annual attrition rate of about 23%, showed the data. This was the highest year-on-year headcount growth of 36% in this cohort of companies.
“Deloitte, as well as others in this sector, have gone into technology consulting in a big way which requires a lot of people and that is what is triggering the huge demand for manpower,” said SV Nathan, partner and chief talent officer, Deloitte India.
“We are hiring across all our businesses. The economic resurrection post Covid is what is propelling a fair amount of the hiring,” he added. The company is hiring freshers from campuses as well as relevant talent from across industries.
PwC India added 3,000 jobs last year in line with its plan to create 10,000 additional jobs in the country over a five-year period. This is a part of the company’s new strategy, said Padmaja Alaganandan, chief people officer, PwC India. “Our talent strategy is focused on what we see as the requirements of the market and our clients, with a balance on internally building and lateral hiring for these capabilities,” she said.
“Digital transformation, workplaces of the future, environment sustainability and governance (ESG), risk (including cybersecurity) and deals are key areas of focus and we are hiring skills to help us deliver to client needs in these areas,” said Alaganandan.
The total net manpower addition at the Big Four and other strategy consultants McKinsey, Grant Thornton, BDO and BCG was 60,000 in FY2022. This eight-entity cohort has registered 28% growth in headcounts, showed the Xpheno data.
The Big Four and their subsidiaries in India currently employ over 210,000 people in tech and non-tech functions and are likely to double the headcount in the next 2-3 years, according to industry estimates.
The firms have seen a spurt in their revenues in the last two years during the Covid pandemic and are set to generate combined revenue of more than Rs 21,500 crore by June-end.
There are primarily two growth drivers for these firms. Firstly, the digital transformation services when companies rushed to create additional digital infrastructure during the Covid pandemic. The other is expansion in their global business, resulting in the addition of shared services units in India.
“Attrition in the consulting services cluster is driven by the buoyancy in the tech services cluster and the consulting sector also drives attrition in the IT services space in return,” said Kamal Karanth, co-founder, Xpheno.
Punit Renjen, global CEO of Deloitte, recently told ET that 20% of the firm’s global workforce was now based out of India with the headcount here crossing 90,000 across functions.
EY and KPMG did not respond to queries sent by ET.
The top technology roles in demand include core development, Devops, cybersecurity, cloud tech, mobility, virtualisation, data science and analytics. In the non-tech space, the roles in demand are in process & functional advisory, business analysts, finance specialists, accounting & audit specialists, business operations consulting, forensics and risk advisory.