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KPMG Australia Recruits From High Schools to Meet Demand For Talent

KPMG Australia was in the news the other day for a new recruiting program involving high school grads (who were clearly rounded up from the burnout section behind the building joke) and it’s an interesting idea: on-the-job training in lieu of university. You’ll note these are technology recruits, we’re not desperate enough for accountants yet to let teenagers perform audit procedures.


7News writes:

KPMG Australia’s pilot traineeship program launched this year after the company struggled to find enough technology graduates to fill positions.

The rapid expansion of the tech industry in Australia and the impacts of COVID-19 are largely to blame, KPMG head of technology consulting Richard Marrison told

And salaries. You forgot salaries, Mr. Marrison. Accounting firms are cheap and if you’re a tech graduate why work for KPMG when you can work for literally anyone else more prestigious technology companies.

He goes on to tell 7News that the industry has been reliant on a steady stream of immigrants in the labor market and since the Rona cut that source off they had to look elsewhere. So KPMG went to several schools in the greater Sydney burbs where not as many kids go on to university hoping to find some hidden gems.

“We thought, well, there’s probably a large number of really smart young people but, for whatever reason, and it may be social, cultural, economic reasons, (they) choose not to go to university,” Marrison said. “But they’re still smart kids that could work in our industry.”

There are eleven high school graduates in the three-year program (the video segment says ten? Maybe they round down in Australia) and so far none of them have dropped out. “The level of engagement and enthusiasm has been really, really high,” said Marrison. Their work experience includes data analytics and software implementation, and KPMG Australia plans to expand the program to other offices. No mention of what the group is currently making but he does say getting your foot in the door eventually pays off. “Very, very quickly you can get into six figures, well into six figures,” Marrison said. “(The average salary) is pretty high.”

Just going to leave this here:

a screenshot of a Glassdoor page for average software engineer salaries at KPMG Australia

And one last quote from the 7News article that seems relevant: “We think we’re doing something really positive by giving kids that wouldn’t ordinarily have the opportunity to join our profession a path into the profession,” said Marrison.

Snark aside, this seems like a good way to bring in fresh meat and give them hands-on experience that their peers who pursued university won’t get until they themselves start internships. Right? I encourage any naysayers to use the comment section to explain in excruciating detail what’s wrong with this idea, I’m open to a perspective change as always.