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Accenture axes UK jobs in cull of 19,000 staff

Accenture offices: Atria One, Edinburgh

Accenture is cutting 19,000 jobs over the next 18 months as it joins a list of consultancies laying off workers because of a downturn in workload, particularly in the tech sector.

The cuts account for 2.5% of its 738,000-strong workforce and are believed to be the biggest announced in the consulting sector yet.

It said more than half of the losses globally will come from its human resources, IT, finance and marketing departments over the next 18 months.

It has offices and operations in more than 200 cities in 49 countries and employs about 11,000 across the UK in Edinburgh, Birmingham, London, Newcastle and Manchester where about 300 of the jobs will be lost.

It is lowering its annual revenue and profit forecasts and said it expects to incur a $1.2bn (£980m) severance charge. It will spend $300m (£243.8m) on consolidating its offices to meet its reduced requirements.

McKinsey last month announced plans to cut 2,000 jobs, while KPMG has laid off almost 700 professionals from its US advisory practice amid slowing demand. 

Others like EY are trimming their hiring targets.

An Accenture spokesperson said: “While we continue to hire, especially to support our strategic growth priorities, during the second quarter of fiscal 2023, we initiated actions to streamline our operations and transform our non-billable corporate functions to reduce costs.

“Over the next 18 months, these actions are expected to result in the departure of approximately 19,000 people (or 2.5% of our current workforce).”

Ignacio Rasero, from credit rating agency Moody’s Investors Service, said: “Accenture’s credit profile remains very strong.

“The job cuts reflect stabilising demand, following explosive post-pandemic growth, and prudent cost management.

“Accenture’s diversified business and industry mix helps offset weakness in specific sectors, such as technology, and provides stability.

“Long-term demand prospects for Accenture’s services remain high as the company continues to benefit from digital transformation trends.”

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