Paul Vance, Head of Resourcing, KPMG Ireland

With over 22 years in recruitment and human resources, Paul Vance has seen plenty of change in the graduate recruitment landscape. As Head of Resourcing with KPMG, he manages a workforce of over 2,500 across 5 sites in Ireland and Northern Ireland. He talks about working for a market leader like KPMG and the importance of being proactive when it comes to representing the brand to students and graduates.

Hero image for Paul Vance, Head of Resourcing, KPMG Ireland

Degree subject Bachelors Degree, Business Studies, IT Tallaght
Job title Head of Resourcing
Employer KPMG Ireland

“In 2015, we won graduate employer of the
year at the gradireland awards, this year
we won Most Popular Graduate Recruiter
2016,” says Paul. “It’s something we’re
very proud of, and it’s something which I
feel validates the level of work which we
have been putting in over recent years.”
Indeed KPMG have always been on the
radar of final-year students seeking to
enter the world of accountancy via one of
the world’s most prestigious professional
services firms.

Currently they take on between 280 and 290
graduates for their
Irish operation. So how does that compare
with the intake during the worst of the
recession? “It’s actually not that different
at all,” explains Paul. “The KPMG model is
built around getting the best graduates
and training them to become chartered
accountants, we’re always looking for
the best students and that continues
each year, no matter what the economic
climate. During 2009 and 2010, we were
recruiting somewhere in the region of
240 graduates per year. Every year,
exceptional students will graduate, and
that’s who we are after to help them realise
their ambitions.”

The best and brightest, which KPMG
attracts, enter the firm full of ambition,
eager to continue their upward trajectory,
and that is helped by KPMG’s focus on
continued professional development and
training. “Training, support and mentoring
are at the cornerstone of everything we
do in the people function here at KPMG,”
he adds. “A student may have been
successful in their final exams, but now
they have to face professional exams to
become chartered accountants, we need
to support them through that, help them
embrace the challenge of both working and
studying. We give them the opportunities
to train, travel and develop in this sector,
to give them a career full of potential.”

Having worked in Intel for 13 years prior
to joining KPMG in 2007, Paul does not
view the graduates then and now as
having as stark a difference as some analysts and commentators believe. “I
genuinely don’t believe there is that much
difference in terms of the best students,
they all had drive and ambition then and
they have the same now. Of course they
communicate differently now, everything
is faster and information is expected
to be at everyone’s fingertips. We now
have channels to engage with potential
recruits that we didn’t have then; social
media is how you talk to today’s graduate.

For the graduates of previous decades,
you placed an advert in the newspaper
and waited for the applications. Now you
need to be more proactive, reach out and
engage and communicate clearly and
honestly what this company is about and
what we can offer,” he adds. “There are a
lot of companies out there competing for
the same talent that we are, so we need
our message to be clear and consistent.
Each time we communicate with a student
we’re communicating the KPMG brand, and
that needs to be done in the best possible
manner. Small details really do matter,
it’s small things that can sway a person’s
decision. We need to be consistently doing
it better, faster and at a higher level than
our competitors and we believe that we
do, and the awards we’ve won recently
demonstrate that. It’s a trend we’re
committed to continuing.”

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