June 22, 2020 / 7:24 AM / 2 months ago

Deloitte Australia cuts 7% of its workforce due to COVID-19

SYDNEY, June 22 (Reuters) - The Australian unit of global accounting firm Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Ltd said on Monday it will shed 7% of its workforce, joining a host of high-profile companies to slash costs amid a revenue downturn brought about by the new coronavirus.

Deloitte Australia in a statement said revenue fell 19% in May from the same month a year earlier, blaming a government-ordered shutdown of most travel and public activity, and that it expects the downturn to last until later in the year.

The company said it would cut 7% of its workforce across most business units. Its website showed it has about 9,000 staff, meaning about 630 jobs would go.

“This has not been an easy day,” said Deloitte Australia Chief Executive Richard Deutsch in a statement.

The cuts “would not have occurred had it not been for the impact of COVID-19”, he said.

Deloitte’s British parent company and its rivals have said they would cut pay to protect jobs during the COVID-19 pandemic. Deloitte’s United States boss said he expects to cut 2,500 jobs, Bloomberg reported last month.

Australia has had a relatively low casualty rate associated with the flu-like illness with 102 deaths and about 7,500 infections, but the economic consequences of anti-virus measures have been on a par with other developed countries. Unemployment hit its highest level in two decades in May, the same month Deloitte experienced a revenue dip.

Professional services firms such as Deloitte have joined the tourism, retail and media sectors in experiencing hefty, sudden declines in revenue. In recent months, the Australian arm of Deloitte rival PwC cut 400 jobs or 5% of its workforce, while KPMG cut 200 jobs.

Reporting by Byron Kaye; Editing by Christopher Cushing

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