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Weekly Media Briefing - 20 April 2022

20 Apr 2022

This week’s topics: 

  • PwC Consumer Sentiment Survey - the view for hospitality and leisure

  • 1,600 students attend our social mobility schools programme - PwC Chairman & Senior Partner Kevin Ellis comments 

  • Five key employee security behaviours that can reduce cyber risk

 

PwC Consumer Sentiment Survey - the view for hospitality and leisure

  • Our March 2022 Consumer Sentiment Survey shows spending expectations on eating and going out have plummeted; they are now the lowest categories as consumers look for ways to tighten their spending. 

  • Other discretionary spending is expected to be hit hard, with holidays and fashion spending intentions also seeing substantial falls since last spring. Pent-up demand, for example among wealthier customers, combined with weak data comparatives may mean that both categories see double-digit growth compared with 2021, but neither is expected to reach pre-pandemic heights.

  • Successful businesses will not only acknowledge that people are feeling the pinch but offer ways to help them mitigate the challenges. There are actions that retailers and hospitality operators can take to help consumers while also protecting themselves, such as: 

    • Allowing consumers to trade down is likely to help businesses retain customer loyalty.

    • Targeting less affected segments of the population - those who are fortunate enough to have accumulated lockdown savings (typically older and wealthier) will still want to spend on holidays and leisure they’ve missed out on over the past two years. 

    • Thirdly, getting their house in order - all consumer businesses will be affected, not just by the topline squeeze, but also by cost inflation. Plans that were put in place at the start of the year may already need reviewing in light of the new trading environment. Many may need to take proactive action against ‘bad costs’ to make the business leaner and fitter for the challenge ahead, with winning operators acting decisively and quickly.

Lisa Hooker, Consumer Markets Leader at PwC, said:

“It’s clear that consumers are having to deal with a significant change in their spending priorities compared to even a year ago, where the index measured a record level of positive sentiment coupled with spending intentions ramping up in more discretionary categories such as leisure and fashion. 

“The shift in sentiment is both significant and sudden. While there is still some post-Covid recovery, spending expectations on eating out and going out have plummeted as consumers look to tighten their belt as they face up to cost of living pressures. Businesses that can help their customers to cope with the crisis by offering them the choice to trade down - whether special offers, cheaper brands, or set menus, for instance -  are more likely to keep their loyalty for when things get better.” 

 

1,600 students attend New World, New Skills, PwC’s social mobility schools programme

  • As part of New World, New Skills, PwC’s social mobility schools programme, we welcomed 1,600 students into our offices across the UK. For the first time, we invited students as young as 11.

  • To improve access to coaching and opportunities, the students came from schools that have a higher than average number of pupils on free school meals

  • During their visit the students ‘worked' as consultants, with their school as their new client. They looked at environmental and sustainability issues, used financial literacy to consider the costs of improving schools and even did some cyber code-breaking.

  • Over 200 PwC employees shared their diverse career stories, helping students to see a pathway into careers with the firm.

 

Kevin Ellis, Chairman and Senior Partner at PwC, said:

“Our business is about people, we want the very best people to want to join us, and those people must reflect the widest echelons of society. We must make sure that everyone has the opportunity to work, whatever their postcode, upbringing or education.

“The New World, New Skills programme connects young people with professionals. We ran 60 events across all of our UK offices and the sessions are focused on gaining practical employability skills. We’re demystifying the world of work and widening the opportunities that young people consider to be available to them, while at the same time opening up the pool of talent for us as an employer.” 

 

Five key employee security behaviours that can reduce cyber risk

As cyber criminals become increasingly sophisticated, professional and resourceful, businesses should look to extend their lines of defence beyond technical controls and crisis response plans, to their employees.

Richard Jones, cyber security culture senior manager at PwC UK, said:

  • Unfortunately, the crucial people component is not always fully considered; security can be seen as simply a technology problem and there is often substantial underinvestment in educating employees about their role in securing the organisation.

  • The level of resourcefulness shown by cyber criminal groups needs to be matched by businesses in their response. Ensuring that employees fully understand and demonstrate the right security behaviours is key to reducing the efficacy of a potential cyber attack. This can be done in the following ways:

    • Social media. Employees should be encouraged to be more secure and not over-post on social media. As well as training and awareness, drop-in sessions where staff can get hands-on practical advice and tips are recommended.

    • Phishing behaviours. Ensuring that employees are being supported in identifying and reporting phishing is important. Using simulations to catch them out without offering advice or training could be counter-effective.

    • Use of shadow IT. We have seen an increase in this with remote working. There are often reasons people use shadow IT, such as a workaround to help them do their job faster. We advise that organisations speak to their employees to identify why they might be doing this and help them find secure alternatives.

    • Passwords. People often have too many passwords to remember. Reducing the number of passwords where possible by encouraging the use of passphrases, secure password managers and enabling Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) on key accounts will help staff.

    • Consult and report. Often people are not sure what to report or how. Training will help employees understand what to look out for to make it easy for them to consult and report.

 

Something to join:

There are 99 days to go until the Birmingham Commonwealth Games - but what will its legacy be? Join our Twitter Space at 13:45 today (20 April 2022) when we’ll be talking about disability inclusion at the Games and beyond, with Birmingham 2022 Director of Legacy Nicola Turner and Anne Wafula Strike from British Paralympics. Click here to set a reminder.  

 

Something to read:

FTSE 100 pay has returned to pre-pandemic levels in most sectors, according to PwC analysis of the first 50 FTSE 100 companies to publish their 2021 annual remuneration reports. 

 

Something to listen to: 

In the latest episode of our Risk & Regulation Rundown podcast, Financial Services Regulatory leader Andrew Strange discusses how FS firms are reassessing how they use artificial intelligence (AI) and their approach to issues such as governance following a recent report published by the AI Public Private Forum.




 

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Felix Ampofo

Felix Ampofo

Manager, Media relations, PwC United Kingdom

Tel: +44 (0)7841 468245

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