Are you considering a career move in 2022?  With a long list of dynamic and ambitious clients across Ireland, KPMG is looking for more excellent people to join the firm. We caught up with Paul Vance, KPMG’s Head of Resourcing, to get his views on opportunities for those looking for a new role in 2022.

The conventional view of a global professional services firm like KPMG is rooted in the audit, tax and deal advisory services. While excellence in these areas is fundamental, the reality is that the service offering spans the full spectrum of client solutions from artificial intelligence to workforce enablement covering cybersecurity, virtual reality, fintech and data analytics.

“KPMG has evolved greatly over the years and continues to evolve,” says Paul Vance. “The range and type of services we offer and the type of people we have working here have changed hugely. Whilst we continue to recruit people with accounting, taxation and deal advisory expertise, we’re also constantly on the lookout for people from consultancy, project management and technology backgrounds who can work across digitally based areas like cybersecurity, AI, data analytics, business modelling and so on. We look for specialists in those areas to work across our four core functions of audit, tax, deal advisory and consulting.”

From cybersecurity to digital transformation

Recently KPMG opened Platform X, their exciting new investment in innovation in Dublin. Platform X connects KPMG in Ireland to 32 global innovation hubs. “Platform X helps us work on specific issues and challenges with our clients” says Paul. Businesses need to transform at a pace, building a future with digital at its heart. “Platform X allows us to be dynamic and creative using the latest collaboration and communication technologies for our client solutions and our employees are excited to showcase this technology with clients.”

Our people aren’t pigeonholed by their skillset or area of expertise. “To provide client solutions, very often we leverage the full spectrum of skills and talent across the firm,” Vance explains. He references the pace of digital innovation and its influence on the work KPMG does for its clients, citing KPMG’s recent CEO survey as an example. It shows that 78 percent of CEOs surveyed worldwide (76 percent in the Republic of Ireland and 80 percent Northern Ireland) believe they must be quicker to shift investment to digital opportunities and divest businesses that face digital obsolescence. “Of course, sometimes the client need means that just one skillset is required and in other cases we may need to deploy a very broad range of expertise. At one end of the spectrum, it could be a cybersecurity expert working with an audit team to test a client’s exposure to cyber risk and at the other it could be the design and implementation of an enterprise-wide digital transformation solution. These cross-functional multidisciplinary teams form and re-form according to client needs.”

The shift to hybrid working, home and office, has brought the importance of these IT skills into even sharper focus, according to Vance. Clients’ IT systems are being put under enormous strain as they struggle to cope with unprecedented levels of traffic. Meanwhile systems which were perfectly adequate while confined to the organisation’s premises became suddenly vulnerable to cyberattack when distributed across hundreds or potentially thousands of employees’ homes.

“This is an area where a lot of companies were really challenged,” he remarks. “It’s not just the obvious areas like financial services that are exposed. For example, retailers which pivoted to online sales have opened up vulnerabilities which didn’t exist before. Cyber security remains a pressing issue for clients and the wider business community and is just one factor in driving demand for the broad set of skills KPMG can deploy.”

Valuing a wider skillset

Dealing with issues that are not part of the core business of most organisations has also created opportunities. “Cyber for example is not always the kind of expertise that companies have on the shelf. That’s where we come in. Our teams come in and help do it for them. We will also look at their systems to identify gaps and areas of risk which need attention. The same applies to data analytics. Our people are working with clients to make better use of their data to support better decision making and more accurate future forecasts.”

While functional skills and expertise are important a wider skillset is highly valued. “We want people who are able to interact on a personal level with clients, who can understand their business very well, and whose technical expertise makes them highly credible in front of the client. We are looking for someone who will understand the problem, look into the future, and create the solution that meets the client’s needs. We source this talent from every sector, from multinationals, indigenous SME, universities and overseas.” 

Exceptional graduate programme

Graduate recruitment is particularly important. “The economy may slow and hasten but graduate recruitment is a constant for us,” Vance points out. “We have a very big graduate programme. 2021 was a fantastic year for graduate opportunities in many sectors, and thankfully a graduate career with KPMG is highly attractive for top graduates. We hired 480 graduates into our Dublin, Belfast, Cork and Galway offices. We are the Gradireland Employer of the Year for 2021 and winners of the Best Internship Programme 2021, and we will be recruiting similar numbers of graduates for 2022 across all areas of the firm including audit, tax, deal advisory and consulting.”

The three-and-a-half-year programme covers everything required for a successful career in business. “After the initial training period, our graduates move on to gain other business and leadership skills and they will typically come through to management grades in the firm within five years. That doesn’t happen by accident. Our people are trained to work with teams and to lead them. The get experience of work with the senior leadership team at the same time as they are completing their professional exams and receiving other training. The programme is evolving all the time. It’s something we are constantly innovating.”

The KPMG culture is one where everyone strives for excellence. “We’re very proud of the fact that we attract the best people to come to work here. Everyone in KPMG is treated as a professional regardless of level and we all work together to develop the best solutions for our clients and each other. People appreciate working with really, really good colleagues and they raise their game as a result. Our aim is to do things better every year. But that’s not an instruction from above, that’s a shared mindset and a way of thinking that we bring to everything we do for our clients.”

Opportunities for global talent

Overseas recruitment forms another key element of the talent pipeline. “We search far and wide for the skillsets we need, and we bring in professionals from all over the world. Ireland is seen as a very positive place to live and work and to build a career. Our team here look after relocation, immigration, personal taxes, accommodation, settling in and all the other aspects of moving to a new country to live and work. We take the stress out of it and offer practical as well as financial support.” 

The switch to hybrid working has affected the nature of the workplace. “It’s affected us all,” Vance notes. “The technology has been great. For 2022, we expect employees will be able to balance office, home and client site working. While we are all trying to trying to get a handle on the ever-changing situation, having flexibility is here to stay. 

Looking ahead

The impacts will be felt for some time to come. “A lot of organisations are still figuring out how to manage remote working and 2022 may be as unpredictable as the last year,” he adds. “At KPMG our policy is to follow and be informed by government advice and guidelines. We hope to have people back in the office when it’s possible but only when it is safe. Graduates and other new hires benefit from personal interaction with colleagues and that’s hard to replicate online. We will have a rotation system for people to spend at least some time in the office and that rotation between office and home will suit a lot of people as 100% home working isn’t for everyone.” The shift to hybrid working has changed everyone’s perspectives says Vance. “I anticipate a great degree of flexibility on home and office for employees - it will be nice when this is a matter of choice rather than necessity. Regardless – we’ll continue to have an amazing range of great careers here for people who love business and get a real sense of achievement from helping solve client challenges.”

Get in touch

We have a range of great career opportunities at KPMG for ambitious graduates and more experienced hires. If you, or anyone you know, has an interest in any of our roles, we’d be delighted to discuss further. Get in touch today – we’re looking forward to hearing from you!

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