Deloitte, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), Ernst & Young (EY), and KPMG are the Big 4 players in the accounting industry, and understanding their hiring process and familiarity with the internship or job acceptance rates is crucial for successfully landing a job afterward.
The ‘Big 4,’ global powerhouses of professional services, attract top talent worldwide, making the application process and acceptance rates highly competitive for aspiring accountants and business professionals.
The acceptance rate of each firm for job and internee positions are:
- Ernst & Young (3.5%)
- Deloitte (4%)
- PricewaterhouseCoopers (4-5%)
- KPMG (8%)
In this article, I will reveal the Big 4 acceptance rates for various positions, shedding light on their hiring statistics that can shape your career in the accounting industry.
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Standard Stages In The Big 4 Firms Hiring Process
Each stage in the Big 4 recruitment process has notable implications as it directly influences the acceptance rate, determining your success in securing a position. From the initial resume screening to the final interviews, I have discussed all below.
1. Online Application And Resume Screening
The hiring process at the Big 4 firms usually begins with candidates submitting their applications and resumes through the firm’s online portal.
This initial screening stage assesses the applicant’s basic qualifications and relevant experience. Recruiters review the submitted documents to shortlist individuals who meet the minimum requirements for further consideration. (Source)
A well-crafted resume and a robust application increase the likelihood of moving forward in the hiring process, positively influencing the acceptance rate.
2. Initial Screening Interviews
After the resume screening, selected contenders are invited for initial interviews, often conducted over the phone or through video conferencing platforms.
These interviews aim to assess your communication skills, professionalism, and initial fit within the firm. At this stage, recruiters ask about your background, experiences, and career aspirations. (Source)
A strong performance during these interviews positively impacts the Big 4 acceptance rate, demonstrating your potential to contribute effectively to the firm.
3. Assessment Tests Or Case Interviews
The next stage of the hiring process may involve assessment tests or case interviews, depending on the Big 4 firm and the specific position. These evaluations typically assess your capabilities in:
- Numerical reasoning
- Logical thinking
- Problem-solving skills
Case interviews, on the other hand, require you to analyze a hypothetical business scenario and provide strategic recommendations. (Source)
Strong performance in these evaluations can boost the Big 4 acceptance rate, indicating they value your potential to benefit the company’s name and add growth.
4. Final Interviews And Offer Stage
Applicants who successfully navigate the previous stages are further invited for final interviews, usually in person or through video conferencing.
These may involve meeting with senior managers, partners, or critical decision-makers who aim to access:
- Technical expertise
- Cultural fit
- Potential for long-term success
If you impress the interviewers, you may receive a job or internship offer, marking the culmination of the hiring process and thus increasing the Big 4 acceptance rate.
Evaluation Criteria Used By Big 4 Firms
Big 4 firms utilize a set of evaluation criteria to assess candidates throughout the hiring process. These may include academic achievements, such as:
- Grade Point Average (GPA)
- Relevant Coursework
- Degree Specialization
Recruiters may also evaluate applicant communication skills, including verbal and written proficiency, as effective communication is crucial for client interactions. Some other factors that the interviewer may consider are:
- Problem-solving abilities
- Critical thinking skills
- Capacity to work well within teams
- Cultural fit
- Leadership potential
- Commitment to professional development and ethical practices
1. EY Acceptance Rate
This reflects the firm’s rigorous recruitment standards, the large pool of qualified candidates, and the limited number of available positions. (Source)
Several factors contribute to the EY acceptance rate that reflects the firm’s attractiveness to job seekers and influences their decision to pursue opportunities within the organization.
1. Technological innovation
EY’s focus on technological innovation attracts candidates passionate about leveraging technology in their work. (Source)
The firm’s reputation as a leader in technological advancements can make it an attractive choice for entrants, potentially leading to a higher number of applications and influencing the acceptance rate every passing year.
2. Corporate Social Responsibility Initiatives
EY is involved in various corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives, including sustainability, community engagement, and pro bono work. (Source)
These CSR efforts can enhance the company’s reputation. This appeals to many job seekers to prioritize social responsibility and apply to the company, resulting in more resumes and potentially shifting the acceptance rate ratios.
2. Deloitte Acceptance Rate
With a history of over 175 years, Deloitte has established itself as a prominent player in the accounting industry, with a presence in more than 150 countries. (Source)
Deloitte’s acceptance rate is approximately 4%.
While this percentage may vary across regions and positions, but reflects the firm’s strict hiring requirements and the high number of qualified applicants vying for limited jobs. (Source)
1. Reasons For Changes In The Deloitte Acceptance Rate
Changes in the acceptance rate at Deloitte may occur due to various factors. For instance, more applicants with highly competitive qualifications may contribute to a lower acceptance rate.
Fluctuations in the firm’s hiring requirements or focusing on particular skill sets can have a similar effect. Moreover, shifts in the job market or economic conditions also impact candidate preferences and the company’s acceptance rates.
2. Implications For Job Seekers And Career Aspirations
Awareness of the competition is crucial for applicants aspiring to join Deloitte. A 4% acceptance rate highlights:
- The importance of presenting a standout application
- Demonstrating a solid alignment with the company’s values
- Showcasing relevant skills to the recruiters.
In a way, developing a robust understanding of the industry, acquiring relevant skills and qualifications, and actively networking can help you differentiate yourself from the competition.
However, it is essential not to be discouraged by Deloitte’s low acceptance rate. Pursuing other professional growth opportunities is valuable, even if an initial application is unsuccessful. These may include:
- Gaining relevant experience through internships
- Building a solid professional network
- Continuously developing skills
3. PwC Acceptance Rate
PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) provides a comprehensive range of services in areas such as:
- Tax management
The acceptance rate at PwC ranges from 4% to 5%, which is slightly better than the EY and Deloitte.
However, it still reflects the firm’s high selection standards for the limited number of available positions. (Source)
Several variables can affect the PwC acceptance rate, shaping your desire for the company and determining whether you would pursue your career chances there.
1. Training And Development Opportunities
PwC offers robust learning programs and resources that help successful candidates enhance their technical skills, industry knowledge, and leadership capabilities.
The firm’s investment in professional development makes it an attractive choice for job seekers looking for continuous learning and career advancement opportunities.
This triggers more qualified candidates to apply and affects the PwC acceptance rate.
2. Work-life Balance Initiatives
PwC recognizes the importance of work-life balance and has implemented various initiatives to support its employees in achieving a healthy integration of work and personal life.
One of the Indeed members says, “PWC offers great learning opportunities for young professionals. The work-life balance is OK, but it could be tough for many business travelers. The workplace culture is excellent and productive.” (Source)
These initiatives include flexible work arrangements, wellness programs, and support for personal well-being. Emphasizing work-life balance attracts many talented and willing candidates to apply for a positive and supportive work environment.
It might be why the PwC acceptance rate has always changed over the years compared to Deloitte and EY.
4. KPMG Acceptance Rate
KPMG is one of the leading consulting services firms globally, known for its focus on delivering high-quality services, fostering innovation, and maintaining a commitment to ethical practices.
The revealed acceptance rate for KPMG stands at approximately 8%, indicating a moderately competitive selection process, which is slightly more focused than the other Big 3 firms but, at the same time, a little bit more challenging. (Source)
The reasons for KPMG’s better acceptance range can be that getting a job in a consulting firm is difficult compared to accounting, and the company has a smaller consulting arm.
Overall Comparison and Trends: A Holistic View
Although each of the Big 4 companies is more or less stringent in scoring than the others, the whole recruitment process and acceptance is not a walk in the park for many individuals.
I’ve figured that most applicants leave during the assessment or interview and apply to other firms offering fewer recruitment hurdles.
However, the exposure and experience you’ll get at working in Deloitte, PwC, EY, and KPMG are still hard to beat.
In the end, here’s a table comparing Big 4 acceptance rates:
|Ernst & Young||3.5%|
By knowing Deloitte, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), Ernst & Young (EY), and KPMG acceptance rates, you can identify common trends to understand the industry dynamics towards hiring.
On top of this, solid qualifications, relevant experiences, and the ability to be a cultural fit can significantly enhance your chances of getting hired as an employee or an internee in any of the 4 biggest and most sought-after professional services industry leaders.