What it does: One of the ‘Big Four’ global accounting firms
Staff stats: 284,000 spread across more than 700 offices in 152 countries
The good bits: Professional development and secondment opportunities
The not so good bits: Long hours, modest starting salary
Hiring grads with degrees in: Engineering, Maths, IT & Computer Sciences; Finance, Accounting, Economics & Business Administration; Law & Legal Studies; Sciences; Humanities, Arts & Social Sciences; Medical & Health Sciences; Property & Built Environment; Teaching, Education & Human Welfare.
What’s now EY came into being with the founding of Harding & Pullein in England in 1849. Since then, what’s now EY has gone through several iterations. In 1989, Ernst & Whinney, a descendant of Harding & Pullein and the world’s fourth-largest accountancy firm, merged with the world’s fifth-largest accountancy firm, Arthur Young, to create Ernst & Young. (In 2013 the name got shortened to EY).
EY's main services lines are Advisory, Assurance, Tax and Transaction Advisory Services. In contrast to its three major competitors, EY is not centrally managed. Instead, it’s organised into three areas: EMEIA (Europe, Middle East, India and Africa), the Americas and Asia-Pacific. Each area has the same business structure and its own Area Managing Partner. EY believes this arrangement allows it to “make decisions quickly, execute our strategy and provide exceptional client service around the world”.
Globally, EY has more than 200,000 clients and annual revenues in the neighbourhood of US$36 billion (NZ$55 billion). In New Zealand, EY has offices in Christchurch, Wellington and Auckland.
EY believes that “diverse perspectives, combined with an inclusive culture, drive better decision-making, stimulate innovation, increase organisational agility and strengthen resilience to disruption”.
It lives up to that lofty rhetoric, having won a trophy cabinet worth of awards for being a great place to work from publications such as Forbes, BusinessWeek, Fortune and ComputerWorld. It’s also been lavished with recognition for its initiatives to further gender equality, disability inclusion and LGBTI advocacy.
EY has a well-earned reputation as a good corporate citizen. It backs programmes such as Entrepreneurial Winning Women and Strategic Growth Forum that, respectively, provide encouragement to female entrepreneurs and facilitate entrepreneurs from around the world meeting up to share their experiences. In 2019, EY invested almost US$113 million (NZ$170 million) in community-strengthening projects. In the same year, EY employees spent 745,000 hours working on community and charitable activities.
EY seeks to recruit talented people from diverse backgrounds. Ones who possess passion, curiosity and drive, that can help its clients navigate the complexities of this transformational digital age.
If you’re in the second-last year of your degree, you can apply to do an internship at EY. All of the EY offices in New Zealand recruit interns. If you’ve completed your degree, or soon will be completing it, you can apply for a grad role at EY’s Auckland, Wellington or Christchurch offices.
EY recruits grads from all disciplines but you’re probably going to be better placed if you have an accounting, business or technology background. The process begins by submitting your application form, CV, university transcript and photo ID via the company website. You’ll then be invited to complete an online assessment process. If that goes well, you’ll be asked to attend an assessment day. Here you will have the chance to interact with EY staff and demonstrate why you are a good cultural fit. (If EY isn’t taking applications for its Grad Programme when you visit the website, make sure to join its talent community to be alerted to any future employment opportunities.)
EY doesn’t provide much concrete information about its Grad Programme and it presumably varies depending on the business area. But all grads receive “coaching, formal training and leadership development”, “have experiences that will set you up for success” and work with “all types of companies, from entrepreneurial start-ups to multinationals”. All this should result in you “building your reputation as a trusted business advisor and developing relationships that you’ll draw on for the rest of your professional career” over the course of the programme.
While EY doesn’t divulge any information about its grad salaries, they are reportedly around the industry average. While you shouldn’t expect a lofty starting salary, you’ll have the opportunity to earn big money if you earn internal promotions.
EY does publicise its attractive leave arrangements. These include generous parental leave, the ability to purchase up to six weeks of extra annual leave and the option to take three months’ unpaid leave to enjoy a ‘career break’. There are flexible working arrangements and discounts on an extensive range of goods and services. EY will pay for or subsidise training and professional memberships. It also has a well-resourced health and wellbeing programmes that includes free flu shots and cheap gym memberships.
EY promises staff it will unlock their potential “through customised learning, experience of the latest technologies, and the personal support you need to reach your career goals”. Globally, EY invests US$500 ($NZ758) million a year informal learning programmes for its staff. EY wants to be at the forefront of the fourth industrial revolution. To achieve this, it’s doing everything possible to facilitate employees acquiring “future-focused skills such as data visualisation, data science and AI”.
Rather than annual performance reviews, EY managers provide “ongoing feedback that fuels meaningful dialogue about your career, development and performance”.
Given the size of the business, there are always job opportunities coming up both domestically and internationally. EY sees its greatest asset being “high-performing teams”. If you’re a high performer and a team player you can expect to rise through the ranks from staffer to senior to manager to senior manager to partner to director.
After a few years’ service, you can apply to work at EY offices across New Zealand and throughout the world.
EY has a high-performance culture where teamwork is encouraged. You won’t last long if you’re difficult or unmotivated, but most staff find the workplace friendly and supportive. The EY social club arranges regular informal and formal social functions, including an annual ball.
Overall satisfaction rating among grad employees: 3.8 stars
Share in our purpose and see the world through the lens of better. Better defines the way we work and starts with asking questions like, what’s next? You see, the biggest breakthroughs in the world happen by asking these two small but powerful words. And that’s what we’re all about at EY. And we want you to be part of it. This is your opportunity to do something exceptional — something that matters to you, to us, to the world.
How do you want the world to work better? We’ll provide you with experience and experiences that’ll shape your career for years to come. Because when you grow, we do too. With EY you can influence the future of your career, the businesses you work with and even the world you live in.
At EY, you’ll help define us and we’ll help define you.
You’ll have all the coaching, formal training and leadership development you need to progress quickly. You’ll have experiences that will set you up for success, both now and in the future.
Using the knowledge you’ve gained from your studies, you’ll help all types of companies, from entrepreneurial start-ups to multinationals. And, in the process, you’ll work in a high-performing, global team as you build your reputation as a trusted business advisor and develop relationships that you’ll draw on for the rest of your professional career. Together we can build a better career for you and a better working world for our people, our clients and our community.
You’re curious and motivated. What are your options? The decisions you’ll make, the way you tackle life all point to more. To doing real client work and gaining new skills; to being exposed to a variety of professional experiences; to finding out more about us and where your future could lie. Impress us during your programme and you may secure a graduate role.
Career Compass Programme
Whoever you want to be, our Career Compass Programme will show you how. Take your passion for new experiences and dare to travel beyond your comfort zone. Discover more about yourself, develop interpersonal skills and learn how to make smart career decisions. See our culture, people, and practices, as well as what you’re capable of. Your adventure has only just begun.