Consultants won't leave, so Accenture shows them the door

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New York--Accenture, the Big 5 consultancy currently running a $175 million marketing campaign, announced it will ax 1,500 jobs, or 2% of its workforce. Most of the job cuts will come in the U.S.; 1,000 will be consultants and the remaining 500 will be support staff. CEO Joe Forehand said voluntary employee turnover--something it had hoped for--hadn't happened quickly enough, forcing Accenture to make the cuts. The move suggests that the return of consulting engagements that Accenture-and its competitors-have been waiting for hasn't yet arrived. In June, Accenture cut 600 jobs, and asked 800 employees to take a voluntary six- to 12-month sabbatical with 20% of their salaries plus benefits. Last month, Accenture became the second Big 5 firm to go public, in an offering valued at $1.67 billion. The first Big 5 to go public-KPMG Consulting Inc., in February-also recently announced job cuts. Both firms are under intense pressure from Wall Street, as they try to prove the publicly owned consultancy model is viable.
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