Our people

Global Annual Review 2020

With over 284,000 professionals in 155 countries around the world, we come from many different backgrounds and places. Guided by our shared purpose, values and behaviours, we work together to build trust in society and solve problems for clients and the communities in which we live and work.

The wellbeing, safety and development of our people is at the heart of everything we do. This has been more important than ever over the past year. As the COVID-19 pandemic spread rapidly across the globe, organisations of all kinds – including PwC – have had to react and respond appropriately in some very challenging circumstances. With our values steering our decision making, we have focused on:

  • Keeping our people safe: Thanks to long-standing investments in technology, we rapidly switched to remote working. In a matter of days, the vast majority of our workforce was able to continue seamlessly doing their jobs from home. Our values of care, working together and reimagining the possible have been brought to life as our people adapted to new ways of working and collaborating.

    We planned for a safe and measured return to the workplace tailored to each market, taking into consideration safety protocols, updates to workspace configuration, technology requirements, the wellbeing needs of our people and client considerations. Examples include using tracing apps to identity employees who may have been exposed to COVID-19, temperature checks as people arrive at the office, booking systems to manage capacity, and sanitisation and social distancing measures within our offices.
  • Preserving jobs: Protecting jobs has been a priority from the onset of the pandemic. Unfortunately, we have seen some job losses in a few markets around the world, particularly in the Advisory business. But we are working hard to limit these by taking actions such as containing non-essential costs and reducing partner earnings. In the cases where jobs were lost, we have tried to keep our values and behaviours central to how we handled them, and provided care, compassion and support. A testament to this was apparent in the sentiments of staff who openly shared their stories on LinkedIn, drawing hundreds of comments and other media attention. In the few instances where member firms accepted government support, it was for the purpose of protecting employment through wage subsidies or benefits support.
  • Caring for the wellbeing of our people: As governments around the world take measures to curb the spread of the coronavirus, which in turn is having an impact on the economy, we know this is a difficult and uncertain time for our people and their families. As a result, we introduced a range of actions to support our people’s mental health and wellbeing, wherever they may be in the world. These have included access to live webcasts with doctors and mental health professionals; enhanced mental health benefits; additional backup care and educational resources for families struggling with distance learning and to care for children and other family members; resources and tools to support remote working; and COVID-19 screenings at home.

 

PwC partners child home learning

“Juggling care of family while working remotely is challenging, especially as a single parent. Having PwC US provide additional financial support to care for my child during the pandemic, and informal but important signals such as the ability to charge time to a code devoted to lost time when caring for ill family members, is a true demonstration of PwC’s values.”

Dale Meikle Director, PwC US
  • Developing our people: We have expanded the development programmes and opportunities we offer our people, allowing them to transform their skills into new and different areas. We have also swiftly reimagined our learning and development content and delivery to prepare our people to be effective in the new virtual world of work, including by benefitting from all of our technology tools and leveraging our global online learning platform Vantage.
  • Building a diverse and inclusive workplace: We are committed to making sure all of our people – regardless of the colour of their skin, their gender identity, sexual orientation, religious beliefs, disabilities or other differences – feel like they belong and can reach their full potential. Over the past year, many of our firms have taken additional actions to help address potential inequities and discrimination.

    Developing inclusive leadership skills in all our people has become more important than ever before. Across our network, we are investing in a variety of ways to help our people identify potential blind spots and biases, deepen their emotional intelligence, demonstrate empathy and create allyship as core leadership skills. These efforts are continuing as part of our ongoing commitment to cultivating a culture of inclusion.

     

    In addition, in FY20, we took a new approach to help accelerate and activate change, by establishing an Inclusion and Diversity Council to drive action on diversity and inclusion at PwC globally. The Council includes senior leaders from PwC firms in Asia Pacific, Africa, Canada, China, India, InterAmericas, Netherlands and the US. It will be responsible for determining what programmes, initiatives and policies we should continue, stop, scale or start, as well as engaging with leaders across the network to drive accountability and accelerate change at a local level.

  • Refreshing our career progression framework: We have updated our global career progression framework – the PwC Professional – setting out clear expectations at all staff levels across five key dimensions. The framework, which underpins all elements of career development, helps our people to be effective in the digital world and underscores the importance of inclusion and diversity.

Our people in numbers 

In FY20, PwC firms' global headcount grew by 3% to 284,258 people. We saw the largest headcount increases in Asia (9%) and Central and Eastern Europe (5%). Headcount declined in the Americas (-2%) and Australasia and Pacific Islands (-1%), mainly due to the impact of the pandemic. The PwC network’s global presence remains extensive with firms operating across 155 countries.

 

PwC people by region


PwC people


Looking after our people’s wellbeing

Even before the pandemic, mental health and wellbeing were priorities for PwC. Now they have moved even higher up the agenda. Our member firms have a wide range of initiatives and programmes in place to support people in being the best that they can be at work and beyond. In the UK, our Green Light to Talk initiative encourages open and honest conversations about mental health and wellbeing, with the aim of making them a normal part of our culture. PwC’s Habit Bank provides inspiration for everyday actions our people can take to enhance their wellbeing. Webinars with experts and psychologists are available in PwC firms across the network. In the Netherlands, Malaysia and the UK, PwC offers Mental Health First Aid training to raise awareness and identify mental health issues, while in the US, the firm offers 'Ginger' – an app that helps people look after their mental health. 

Using data and technology to improve the people experience

In FY20, we continued our journey to standardise and streamline our people processes and technologies. This involved building on our implementation of Workday as our one consistent global human capital management system to create an enhanced and more fully integrated experience for our people. Leveraging Workday as a consistent and correct source of data, we improved the ability for leaders across the network to make informed decisions through various reports and dashboards.  

 

Justyna Wasilewska

“Workday has significantly improved my comfort of work in terms of the administrative management of my team. I have all the information I need in one place including dates, goals and feedback. I can also control time off balances, which helps me with capacity planning. Thanks to the reminders, we can also easily celebrate birthdays and anniversaries in the group, which helps build closer relationships.”

Justyna Wasilewska Senior Team Leader, PwC Poland.

Welcoming new joiners

In FY20, 63,053 people joined PwC firms (FY19: 69,734), including 35,591 graduates and school leavers and 23,251 experienced professionals. This is a testament to our continued attractiveness as an employer of choice.  

During the pandemic, PwC firms moved swiftly to provide effective, virtual onboarding experiences. In April and May we onboarded over 5,900 professionals virtually.

New joiners
  FY20 FY19 FY18
Graduate (& school leavers) 35,591 38,053 27,016
Experienced professionals 23,251 26,749 32,924
Support staff 4,211 4,932 4,836
Total 63,053 69,734 64,776

PwC is among the largest recruiters of graduates in the world. As we continue to embed technology across the PwC network and digitise our services, we’re increasingly looking for graduates with degrees in science, technology. engineering and mathematics. In addition to graduates, we are increasingly working with schools to recruit apprentices from a wide range of educational and social backgrounds. 

Student surveys show that PwC is considered an attractive organisation for graduates to join.

Universum World's Most Attractive Employer Ranking

 

  2020 2019 2018
Business students      
Among the Big Four networks 3 2 4
Overall 8 3 6
IT/engineering students      
Among the Big Four networks 2 3 3
Overall 50 49 41

These student surveys were conducted prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. In the wake of the pandemic, we are sharing with students our actions, aligned with our purpose and values, that include honouring offers of employment, holding internship programmes or offering compensation for cancelled internship programmes, and trying to preserve our people’s jobs and caring for their wellbeing. We believe these actions will be seen as attractive by students in 2021 and into the future.

International mobility

PwC’s extensive international mobility programme is key to helping us build the global acumen of our people so they can best support our multinational clients. While our strategy continues to evolve to support client needs, drive business growth, enhance quality, and create opportunities for our people, COVID-19 and the imposition of travel and quarantine restrictions across many countries significantly disrupted international mobility activity in the latter half of FY20.  

The total number of new international moves in FY20 was 2,938, which represented an 11% reduction (FY19: 3,294). These moves took place across 114 countries (FY19: 118 countries). The proportion of new international moves undertaken by women in FY20 was 44% (FY19: 45%).

As the COVID-19 pandemic spread, we accelerated our efforts to assess the viability of deploying our people’s skills across borders without them needing to physically relocate. We anticipate that such international remote working arrangements will supplement traditional mobility options in certain scenarios in FY21. 

Global People Survey

Due to the pandemic, we postponed our Global People Survey for FY20. We didn’t want to burden our people with an additional request at a time when they were adapting to full remote working and juggling personal and professional responsibilities. Instead, we focused on real-time communication and polling of our people to make sure we stayed connected with and responded to what they needed most during the height of the pandemic and as they were starting to return to our offices. We plan to carry out the global survey again in FY21.

Illustration of woman and geometric heart

Developing our people

Fast, easy and more personalised learning

On our journey to continuously personalise learning, Vantage – our online learning platform – gives direct, easy and fast access to a wealth of learning content from PwC and beyond to all of our 284,000 people globally. This platform enables all our people to customise their learning for both content and usage.

In the past year, our professionals accessed an average of 1.2 million learning assets each month. In addition to the untracked on-the-job learning that is a key element of our learning strategy, the average training hours per employee using Vantage in FY20 was 57.9 hours (FY19: 52.3 hours).

While a baseline number of hours of learning is foundational to our culture of perpetual learning, as COVID-19 took hold, we used Vantage to help rapidly upskill our people and enable an effective transition to new ways of working, leading virtual teams and maximising their effectiveness in working remotely. In turn, this equipped our people with the capability and confidence to serve clients in a responsive and quality manner. 

Vantage enabled our people, in real time, to design their own learning paths, accessing the content they needed, when they needed it, in a variety of ways ranging from podcasts and videos, to articles, assessments and live-streams. By the end of March – when the vast majority of our teams had transitioned to working from home – our people had accessed relevant assets over 23,000 times (a 1600% increase over February). Twenty-nine percent of these assets were in the top 100 informal learning items for March, focused on virtual working, managing virtual teams, moving to virtual learning, and top tips around safety related to the coronavirus.     

In addition, we successfully made the move to primarily virtual learning. While initially part of our COVID-19 rapid response effort to convert critical in-person learning to virtual delivery, this has seen us reimagine learning and development, including converting hundreds of hours of existing in-person learning into compelling virtual experiences, complete with ‘blueprints’ for sustainability. As a result, we have repositioned learning in a bold new way for the future. 

Equipping our people with digital skills

Our Digitising the Network programme is aimed at equipping our people with the skills, knowledge and digital resources that will help them and PwC be fit for the future. By upskilling our people, we’re able to create the next generation of solutions for clients while giving our people the skills needed in today’s world. 

PwC’s Digital Accelerator programme puts groups of PwC people through a two-year immersive training programme that teaches them skills in technology such as automation, machine learning, design thinking, and digital storytelling. They become local champions who lead by example and coach their colleagues to bring a digital approach to every client engagement and to our internal ways of working. In FY20, more than 3,000 PwC people in 20 countries took part in the programme.

Meanwhile, Digital Academies provide our people with hands-on learning in data wrangling, analytics, visualisation and robotic process automation, leveraging a wide array of tools. In FY20, more than 100,000 PwC people completed the global curriculum modules for Digital Academies, and over 35,000 PwC people became active users of analytics and workflow tools, running over 4.1 million workflows in a 90-day period. And our people created more than 7,500 assets which were included in our Digital Lab, an online community where PwC people from all around the world are actively sharing their ideas and  inventions with each other. 

Providing a visible, portable record of learning

In today’s rapidly changing digital world and gig-based economy, skills represent a new form of currency. PwC’s Badge Programme promotes continuous learning by supporting our people to acquire the skills needed for the future, pursue career goals, unlock new opportunities and increase their value to clients. 

Badges enhance the value proposition by providing a visible, portable record of learning. To date, the programme has reached over two dozen countries including the US, UK, China, Germany and countries in the Middle East with additional countries adopting it in the coming year. Already, close to 103,000 badges have been earned by over 66,000 PwC partners and staff. Find out more.

 

Michael Pantages

“Earning badges really piqued my interest in new digital tools and helped me learn how to apply data wrangling and visualisation solutions on client engagements. The response from my clients has been really positive – they appreciate our innovative digital perspectives. They look to PwC to lead the way.”

Michael Pantages Senior Manager, PwC US

Learning and education to drive quality 

PwC member firms are committed to delivering quality services around the world. This commitment is supported by an approach to technical training based on the requirements of the member firms in each of our lines of service.

The PwC approach to assurance technical learning and education is to provide access to a curriculum of formal courses needed to prepare partners and staff for the delivery of high quality assurance services. In some cases, member firms may supplement this curriculum to address additional local training needs.

To maximise consistency in the network, the formal curriculum provides access to training material covering: the PwC audit approach and tools, updates on auditing standards and their implications, and areas of audit risk and areas of focus for improved quality.

The curriculum uses a blend of delivery approaches, including remote access, classroom/virtual classroom learning and real time, on-the-job support. The curriculum supports PwC’s primary training objective of audit quality, while providing practitioners with the opportunity to sharpen their professional judgment, scepticism, and technical and professional skills.

The PwC approach to technical learning and education in our other lines of service – Advisory, Tax and Legal – is to provide access to courses needed to prepare partners and staff for the delivery of high-quality services. This network-wide training is also supplemented by, and supplements, local courses.

Example areas covered by the technical courses include:

  • International tax and legal academies

  • Core consulting skills

  • Our newly launched Global Cyber Academy, which provides externally recognised certifications in cyber skills. 

Leadership development

PwC’s designated Centre of Excellence for Talent and Development is responsible for the leadership development and succession planning of our most critical partners across the network. Our Network Key Talent Pool is comprised of a grouping of around 500 member firm partners, who are on succession plans for critical roles and whose development and succession is supported in a bespoke manner. It is also responsible for delivering the Network Leadership Development Program which is designed to accelerate the development of approximately 200 selected member firm partners annually, thereby building our leadership bench strength for the future. 

Now in its fourth year, this 22-month experience provides participants with the opportunity to engage in a series of assignments and formal learning activities, several team challenges, leadership networking and interactions with an assigned mentor. In addition, the programme features intensive cultural and business immersions that bring to life important and diverse markets around the world, expanding participants' worldviews and increasing their effectiveness in leading through complexity and uncertainty. The advent of COVID-19 saw us pivot all of this development and succession work to online delivery. Examples include providing regular, timely leadership insights for these partners and asking for feedback to ensure the support being offered is meeting their needs.

In addition, PwC used the opportunity of the enforced virtual environment to launch ‘Reinventing the Future’, a major development initiative designed to ensure key client-facing partners from around the network are equipped to support clients in repairing, rethinking and reconfiguring their businesses in the light of the massive changes happening in the world and to build a more sustainable future. This five-week series of seminars and tutorials challenges partners to grapple with key strategic topics and translate them into their client context. Four hundred member firm partners are currently participating in this initiative, with the expectation that it will be scaled up to more client-facing partners.

 

Man using VR headset
Mike Davies

Mike Davies

Director, Global Corporate Affairs and Communications, PwC UK

Tel: +44 7803 974136

Email

Andrea Plasschaert

Andrea Plasschaert

Senior manager, Global Corporate Affairs and Communications, PwC Switzerland

Tel: +41 58 79 29 123

Email

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Mike Davies

Director, Global Corporate Affairs and Communications, PwC United Kingdom

Tel: +44 7803 974136

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