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EY to hire 23,000 people in FY20

The accounting firm is set to hire in 2020, making the Indian arm its largest workforce outside of the US.

, ET Bureau|
Last Updated: Dec 16, 2019, 01.34 PM IST|Original: Dec 16, 2019, 08.12 AM IST
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The firm is hiring big at a time when many multinationals have hit the pause button.

Mumbai: At a time when the Big Four accounting firms are facing increased regulatory scrutiny for audit lapses, market leader EY has stepped up hiring at its global delivery centres and member firms to rapidly scale up India operations. The firm is set to hire more than 23,000 professionals in financial year 2020, cementing India’s position as EY’s largest workforce outside of the US.

Around 11,000 professionals have already been hired and by June 30 next year (EY financial year ends June 30), EY would have hired another 12,000. EY already has more than 50,000 people in India. “We see India as an amazing base to service our business throughout the world, from a tech perspective, a process perspective and also the human talent element,” said Julie Linn Teigland, managing partner, EY (EMEIA).

“India has one of the most educated workforces, especially when it comes to the STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) fields, and we would be crazy not to leverage that across the globe.” Over 50% of the new hires in 2020 will have a STEM background. Within the EY universe, India has been one of the fastest growing businesses, in healthy double-digits, capping the previous fiscal year at 19.1% year-on-year revenue growth. The firm is hiring big at a time when many multinationals have hit the pause button after government agencies and regulators took unprecedented aggressive action against auditors following recent corporate scandals.

A few months back, the Reserve Bank of India banned EY network firm SR Batliboi & Co from carrying out statutory audit assignments in commercial banks. The firm is also being investigated for lapses in IL&FS group company audits and two audit partners of a member firm were recently arrested in the National Spot Exchange Ltd case. Despite the tough action by government agencies, Teigland said EY would continue to grow its India audit business. “We’re going to continue to invest in this business and ensure that we have a fair market share. We are making sure that the network firms work together with the regulators and the government to improve audit quality. We both have aligned interest in this respect,” she said. Currently, KPMG and EY are neck and neck in terms of maximum number of companies audited in the BSE 300.

Due to the recent scams, there has been increasing 'expectation gap' between the performance of auditors and expectations from investors and regulators. “I wouldn’t call it a gap, but an ever widening and growing expectation. We have to acknowledge that there is a limitation between the present regulations and our prescribed duties under them.

We’re very open to working with regulators, especially in this market. But I don’t think there is a silver bullet if I could say that,” said Teigland. With audit businesses under stress, the Big Four firms - EY, KPMG, Deloitte and PwC - are growing their non-audit businesses aggressively. As part of its growth blueprint, EY acquired two local firms, Fortune Cookie UX Design and C-Centric Solutions, and more acquisitions are on the cards, especially in the digital and solutions space.
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