You may have seen headlines over the past week about Deloitte “looking to AI to help avoid mass layoffs in the future” as first reported by Bloomberg and picked up by multiple outlets (including us putting a link to it in Monday morning’s news brief).
The giants of the consulting world face an unusual quandary this year: many of them are in the process of dismissing hundreds of staffers even after they hired thousands of college graduates to deal with new demand. Now, one of the biggest of them all is looking to artificial intelligence to change that.
Deloitte LLP is using AI to evaluate existing staffers’ skills and map out plans that would shift employees away from quieter parts of the business and into roles that are more in demand. It’s part of a broader bet by the professional services firm that the technology will allow it to moderate hiring growth over time.
The moves come after Deloitte added 130,000 staffers this year. But in the midst of those hirings, though, the firm warned thousands of staffers in the US and UK that their jobs were at risk of becoming redundant after the company was forced to restructure certain areas of the business in response to a slowdown in demand.
“It is obviously a great objective to be able to avoid large swings of hirings and layoffs,” said Stevan Rolls, global chief talent officer at Deloitte, to Bloomberg. “You could always be more efficient and effective about finding the right people.”
Do they not already have talent management software or a spreadsheet or something that can do this for them? One would expect a $65 billion company would have something.
Official layoffs haven’t been announced/reported since Deloitte cut 1200 people in April but according to multiple sources we’ve spoken to over the past few months and reports in r/deloitte of people with decent utilization getting the axe, they’ve absolutely been making cuts beyond the usual dead weight.
A small sampling of recent posts:
Were you laid off? I sure was.
Consulting, Strategy and Analytics, 1.5 years in consulting, MBA, high util, high snapshots and performance reviews, staffed
I genuinely cannot figure out why I was laid off.
Anyone else in a similar boat? Other posts I’ve read are from people who were laid off with very low util which makes more sense.Fall/Winter layoffs, r/deloitte this week
I was expecting it as I’ve been on the bench for two months and had a 49% util but it still stings. I was a campus hire and been here for over a year now. All my performance reviews were around very strong and I tried my very hardest to get on a project. The last four projects I was supposed to be on either fell through or the start date got pushed back. Trying not to take it personally but it definitely feels like a personal failure. If anyone whose been laid off and is still lurking this sub would like to share some positive success stories it would be much appreciated. Adios Uncle DJust received the dreaded business update email, r/deloitte 2 months ago
Layoff is still happening and unfortunately this Friday is my last day. Stayed a bit over year with the firm. About 15% of my starting class got laid off at this point, most of them including me have been riding the bench for 2+ months. Feel like we are set up for failure. I have a big heart and already moving on. But kind words are appreciated.
Performance snapshot: both around very strong
On bench for 3.5 monthsAudit Layoff, r/deloitte 2 months ago
And this excellent comment on the above thread that someone may need to read:
Bro. You don’t need kind words. You need a reality check. I was completely unaware of layoffs until i got laid off this year. I cant explain the effect it had on me because i had 8 yrs experience and joined as M. These jobs and their “performance” is a complete scam. You are young so remember that no job is reliable. You need something of your own. Its your livelihood. So go into a serious life building journey. I am. As for the layoff. I am sorry to hear that but equally excited for what future holds for you. Your post suggests a strong character with a sound mind. Good luck with all the goodness ahead. May God be with you. Remember: this wasn’t about you.
Then there was this in October, a month after Deloitte announced FY23 revenue:
Do you all remember when Deloitte US slashed 5% of the workforce in the first few months of the pandemic? Whoever survived that round of cuts was subject to a reduced work schedule and having reduced pay. Deloitte Ireland and Deloitte UK managed to avoid mass lettings go (let-gos? Whatever) and instead made partners take the hit — 30% reduction in partner pay for Ireland and approximately 20% reduction in partner annual earnings in the UK though UK did reduce/defer bonuses and withhold annual salary increases that year as well. A couple months later Deloitte announced record revenue of $47.6 billion, a 3.9% increase from 2019. To be fair, 2020’s 3.9% increase was the smallest year-over-year revenue growth at Deloitte since 2014-15 when revenue grew by about 3.2%. Violins.
Look, layoffs happen. The economy sucks. Sometimes people even have it coming. But let’s not fall for the hype and blindly accept this impressive-sounding statement as fact. Don’t we remember when blockchain was the overhyped technology that was going to solve all the world’s problems? We saw how that turned out.
Funny enough, if you ask ChatGPT to do what Deloitte told Bloomberg they’re going to do as if it’s some revolutionary concept it basically tells you to do exactly that.
Personally I’d keep the weirdo, you can work them harder because they aren’t wasting effort on endearing themselves to their coworkers.
Any technology Big 4 firms deploy for this purpose isn’t to save jobs, it’s to save partner profits and anyone who believes otherwise is a fool.