Accenture UK has confirmed it is to cut 300 to 400 jobs in the wake of the downturn in the financial-services sector.
As first reported by ZDNet.co.uk on Sunday, the consulting firm sent out an email late on Friday to thousands of potentially affected workers, telling them that its UK division was to reduce its headcount by between three to four percent.
Systems integration and technology staff are likely to bear the brunt of the redundancies. According to the email, seen by ZDNet.co.uk, the units where the cuts will take place are: Systems Integration & Technology (SI&T), the Analyst Consulting Group (ACG), and Talent & Organisational Performance (T&OP) "where it is related to [systems integration] implementation".
In the email, Accenture blamed the cuts on "softness in the [UK] marketplace [which] in part reflects the global economic uncertainties that many companies are experiencing and more specifically issues in the UK financial-services market".
"Both of these had a direct impact on our systems integration business during the fiscal year just completed," the email added. The UK "softness" stands in contrast to parent company Accenture's generally positive global fourth-quarter results, announced in September. Accenture UK is the local, London-based arm of the corporation, which has offices in 49 countries and which provides outsourcing and technology services. The UK office has a wide client base, with those in the financial services industry including Barclays, Alliance & Leicester, European Bank, Lloyds TSB and the London Stock Exchange.
A spokesperson for the consulting firm said on Monday that the cuts were taking place in order to balance the skills of its workforce against the needs of clients. "Given this, we expect a workforce reduction of approximately 300 to 400 people in certain skill sets where we have excess capacity," Accenture's spokesperson said.
"Managing supply and demand of our resources remains a top priority," the spokesperson added.
The timing of the redundancies will depend on a consultation process that is now under way, through which Accenture will "determine which employees will be affected by this effort to reallocate resources and rebalance skills", the spokesperson said. The consultation process will also determine the number of IT workers who will be included in the final tally.
Accenture's spokesperson also stressed that the cuts would not affect the firm's service to its clients, claiming the workforce reduction was "only in certain skill sets in which we have excess capacity", adding: "We continue to recruit in the UK for other skills in which we need additional capacity to meet demand."