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Weekly Media Briefing - 28 April 2022

28 Apr 2022

This week’s topics: 

  • Staycations - pandemic novelty or here to stay? 

  • PwC teams defying age stereotypes

  • The road to responsible growth across the UK’s energy markets

 

Staycations - pandemic novelty or here to stay?

With passport and airport delays causing stresses for holidaymakers travelling overseas, could staycations, which saw a pandemic boom, prove popular yet again for summer holidays - or will the pent-up demand for overseas getaways hold firm? 

Rob Johnston from PwC's Leisure and Hospitality team responds:

  • Undoubtedly, the staycation sector has benefited from restrictions on travel over the last couple of years, but the real question is whether it is sustainable. Even before Covid, there was an increasing propensity for short-break second holidays in the UK. The onset of Brexit and Covid has introduced additional considerations that support the attractiveness of domestic holidays and/or ownership, such as limits on the duration of stays in Europe, the drive toward flexible working, connecting with nature, and increases in pet ownership. These reasons all lend themselves to arguments for holidaymakers to load up the car and head off.

 

  • Despite the recent relaxation on international travel and the scenes of long queues at airports, domestic travel is holding its own. Operators have seen good volume and yield trends on forward bookings for this year. While this is positive news, there are a few things to bear in mind - the UK was still in the thick of Omicron during the key booking window of January, which may well have influenced some consumers’ decisions (particularly those disappointed by lack of availability for late bookings in 2021). Operators also pushed hard on advertising over this period. Potentially, 2023 could be the first real reference for the post-Covid trend.

 

  • You can’t ignore inflation - this is at the forefront of people’s minds at present. During the pandemic, we saw a divergence of consumer confidence, with higher socio-economic groups benefiting from savings made during this time. PwC's most recent Consumer Sentiment Survey showed a significant drop-off in confidence and spending intentions, with the cost of living inevitably impacting lower demographics. So those with a higher demographic proposition should be ok, but pinches on the wallet could mean another UK holiday seems a far more affordable and attractive proposition for some, rather than heading overseas.

 

PwC teams defying age stereotypes 

  • In the last few years, we have seen four generations from diverse backgrounds working together at PwC.

  • The average employee age at PwC is now 33, rising from 31 in 2020.

  • There is an increase in age diversity across grades. For example, in 2018, there were 102 Senior Associates (a junior / below manager grade) aged between 50-60 and 18 aged over 60. This rose to 128 aged between 50-60 and 27 over 60 in 2021.

 

Anne Hurst, Inclusion Lead at PwC, said:

“Having four generations in the workplace at once has a direct impact on how we work and is something we are mindful of as we aim to create an increasingly inclusive environment. We know that careers are non-linear and people are working for longer, so age diversity will play an increasing role in helping us address potential skills and labour shortages.

“As we understand and treat other aspects of diversity such as gender, ethnicity and sexual orientation, being curious about the perspectives and experiences of others of all ages will help us to hone our skills of empathy and inclusivity, and help us to navigate the future world of work.”

 

The road to responsible growth across UK energy markets

With energy markets in turmoil, Strategy& has released its latest report, The Road to Responsible Growth for Energy. Vicky Parker, Head of Power and Utilities at PwC, comments on the challenges and opportunities for the energy sector as it navigates this path:

  • Events including the pandemic and the Ukraine war have caused significant economic shocks, exacerbating pre-existing turmoil in the energy markets and adversely impacting businesses, supply chains and the cost of living. Despite the challenging backdrop, the energy sector needs to chart a path to recovery and growth which reflects the needs of shareholders and wider society.

  • In the energy sector, responsible growth means delivering a fair and balanced energy transition - maintaining resilient energy supply and addressing affordability while also investing in the low-carbon solutions we all need. 

  • And while the end goal remains a pathway to net zero, the response to the current turmoil may require deviations from that pathway. It will also require firms to be fleet-of-foot if they are to succeed in volatile and fast-evolving energy markets. Strategies and business models will need to be adaptable to market change, while operating models must be lean.

  • It's important to recognise that energy organisations have a difficult balancing act while they transform. They also need to upskill their workforce to become digitally enabled while redeploying people and operations to achieve their transition goals and responsible growth.

  • The need for partnerships between business and government will be an important catalyst for the transformation of energy systems. The pace and scale of change required to ramp up investment and deploy low carbon solutions also means a degree of coordination between corporates, government and investors rarely seen in the past.

  • Businesses, governments and institutional investors who identify the levers for growth in the energy sector and act upon them will be better placed to achieve responsible growth in the energy and utilities sectors.



Something to read:

With challenging economic conditions, firms are running a gauntlet of issues ranging from short-term squeezes on liquidity to longer-term digitisation and decarbonisation. A blog by Ed Irwin, operational restructuring director at PwC, looks at how the appointment of a chief restructuring officer can help businesses turnaround and address these challenges. 

 

Something to listen to:

The pandemic presented challenges for everyone, and now as the cost of living rises, we’re all trying to find ways to cut back, to the detriment of independent retailers. However, for some small businesses, these challenges have turned into opportunities. PwC’s regional chair for the North Armoghan Mohammed learns more about five small businesses that have thrived during the pandemic in the latest episode of our Northern Lights podcast.

 

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Felix Ampofo

Felix Ampofo

Manager, Media relations, PwC United Kingdom

Tel: +44 (0)7841 468245

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