PwC predicts hiring wave of 100,000 people over five years

PwC will increase its global workforce by more than a third over the next five years as part of a $ 12 billion investment in recruiting, training, technology and transactions designed to capture a growing market for environmental, social and governance advice.

The plan, announced on Tuesday, marks a significant acceleration from the audit and advisory group’s $ 7.4 billion investment since 2016, during which time its annual revenue rose 20% to 43 billions of dollars.

The expansion will add 100,000 people to a workforce that has grown by more than a quarter to 284,000 people over the past five years.

It includes a $ 3 billion plan to double its activities in Asia-Pacific, which generated $ 6.4 billion in revenue in the year through June 2020, and the launch of “trust leadership institutes” in the United States and Asia to train clients in ESG basics business ethics.

Investors are increasingly scrutinizing the social impact of the companies they support and its effect on their financial returns, and PwC’s investment plan is the strongest signal to date that the Big Four accounting firms are expect ESG advice to become a central part of all their industries, just as digital capabilities have become the norm over the past decade.

Bob Moritz, global president of PwC, said the company “will invest heavily to redefine and re-brand itself to ensure that we are useful for what our customers need and what the world needs.”

The market for professional advice on “pure” sustainability issues, such as clean technology and sustainable investing, reached $ 1 billion globally in 2020, according to Source Global Research, which expects the combining sustainability advice with other services is even more lucrative for advisers. .

The other large companies – Deloitte, EY and KPMG – integrate sustainability issues into long-standing practices such as auditing and insurance, and place ESG more prominently in their operations. EY has appointed Steve Varley, the former director of its UK member cabinet, as its very first global vice president for sustainability, for example.

Accounting firms are also providing ESG training to auditors as the industry prepares for increased regulation in areas such as climate-related disclosures by companies. As regulators discuss standardized ESG information Like international accounting rules agreed decades ago, all PwC staff needed at least “a basic understanding” of ESG, said Tim Ryan, US president.

Ryan said the U.S. company would combine its accounting and tax reporting operations into a single unit that would be labeled “trusted solutions.” Both divisions were expected to make similar investments, he said, and both were working to help customers gain more trust at a time when society’s expectations of businesses are rising.

There will also be a $ 1 billion investment in quality control and audit automation. Ryan said PwC is planning acquisitions to enhance its capabilities in areas such as ESG, cloud technology and artificial intelligence.

The company has made small tech acquisitions in recent years, but the focus on ESG should be seen as its biggest strategic change since it acquired strategy consulting firm Booz & Co in 2014.

PwC’s spending plans include $ 125 million for a US initiative to find 25,000 jobs for racial and ethnic minority students over five years, including 10,000 at PwC. The American company currently employs 7,000 to 8,000 people a year in total.

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