Accenture to cut 900 jobs across UK operations

09 July 2020 2 min. read
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Professional services firm Accenture is reportedly planning to cut between 700 and 900 jobs in the UK, as it tries to cut costs to deal with the coronavirus crisis. Accenture employs more than 10,000 people in the UK, but the current downturn in key lines of work means it is considering how to strengthen its core business for an uncertain future.

The consulting industry stands to take a sizeable hit from the Covid-19 crisis, and according to the latest estimates, it will be worth around 18% lower at end of 2020 as a result. The drop of $28 billion currently forecast could prove catastrophic to even the largest players in the industry, and several have already moved to downsize their staff in anticipation of leaner times.

Earlier in the summer, Grant Thornton became the first top-table professional services firm in the UK to announce layoffs, axing around 70 jobs in its tax and consulting divisions. Deloitte meanwhile scaled back its global headcount by around more than 7,000 – though along with fellow Big Four members PwC, KPMG and EY, in the UK the firm still intends to cut partner pay so as to save money during the pandemic, and stave off job losses for as long as possible.Accenture to cut 900 jobs across UK operationsNow, Accenture has become the latest professional services heavyweight to cut jobs, with the firm planning to layoff just under 1% of its UK workforce. As many as 900 of the 10,000 people working for the firm in the UK could be made redundant at present, with Accenture due to start consulting on the job cuts in the middle of July.

A statement from the IT and services consultancy read, “We are taking steps now to be able to continue investing in our workforce and our business, ensuring we have the right people with the right skills to best serve our clients and are well positioned for the future… We have notified our UK people that it is necessary to go into collective employee consultation for a proposed redundancy programme.”

The statement followed a note seen by UK newspaper The Guardian, which first reported the cuts. The memo to staff said that Accenture had gone into the Covid-19 crisis with “an overcapacity of people relative to demand,” something which had placed the broader business under “additional strain… due to lower demand and reduced national attrition.” The firm, which has been ramping up capacity via a ruthless campaign of acquisitions in recent years, added, “In addition, we have identified structural costs that we need to address.”

The job cuts come as part of a broader trend sweeping across the UK economy. As British firms grapple with the economic downturn exacerbated by the coronavirus lockdown, UK firms have announced more than 68,000 job cuts in recent months. British Airways alone said it was set to cut 12,000 jobs, while energy firm Centrica also said it was laying off 5,000 employees.