This year we’ve focused on our people’s wellbeing and growth
Ian Elliott
Chief People Officer
UK Annual Report 2023

This year we’ve focused on our people’s wellbeing and growth

Ian Elliott, Chief People Officer
Ian Elliott, Chief People Officer

Supporting our people

Continuing to create the conditions for everyone to thrive remained central to our People strategy this year. We’ve provided security and support to our people, offering opportunities for growth, and making sure they have the tools, resources and experiences they need to make a meaningful difference for our clients.

We’ve stayed focused on building an even more inclusive culture where everyone feels they belong, regardless of their background. While there is still much to do, we’re proud of the progress we’re making and the external recognition we’ve received for our efforts - winning ‘Inclusive Employer’ at the British LGBT Awards; being recognised as a Top 50 Employer for Gender Equality by The Times; and ranking fourth in the Social Mobility Employer Index, to name but a few. We’ve also been doing more to support our disabled and neurodivergent colleagues. You can find out more about our Inclusion plan and progress against it on our Diversity Data page.

Pay gap data (median) (Excluding Partners, at 5 April 2023)
Down from 6.8% at 5 April 2022
Up from -6.4% at 5 April 2022
Socio-economic background
Down from 13.3% at 5 April 2022
Down from 16.3% at 5 April 2022
Sexual orientation
Up from 15.4% at 5 April 2022
Our diversity data plays an important part in helping to build an even more diverse and inclusive culture within our firm.
Numbers have been restated for April 2022 pay gap due to a change in methodology relating to the eligible population for inclusion and inaccuracies relating to additional bonus payments which should have been included in the 2022 data. For socio-economic background, numbers have been restated for 2022 pay gaps due to inaccuracies relating to the eligible population coming from a lower socio-economic background

Enhancing our benefits

‘How you’re valued’ is an important part of the Deal we offer our people, and it’s about more than pay and bonuses. This year, we’ve continued to invest in the benefits we offer, using feedback to help shape our approach. For example, in September 2022, we expanded our existing private medical benefit, available to all of our people and their families, to include chronic conditions and neurodiversity support.

Our people told us that they wanted to see us doing more for parents and carers too. This year we increased the number of funded back up care sessions from 10 to 20 per year, covering child care, adult care support and elder care. Enhancements to our paternity, shared parental, and premature birth and neonatal leave policies were also well received and recognised as another important step in the work we’re doing to support our working parents.

Supporting our people’s financial wellbeing has been another key action area, particularly given the challenging economic climate. Since its launch in November, our people have saved over £400,000 through our new discounted shopping portal, offering discounts and cashback on a wide range of products and services. We also introduced Anytime Pensions, allowing our people to align their PwC pension contributions more closely to their changing individual circumstances throughout the year.

And when energy prices and the cost of living rose, we made targeted winter payments of up to £1,500 to around half of our people.

Two-way flexibility

Alongside the Empowered Flexibility we offer all year round, once again we also offered our people the option of ‘summer working hours’. This gave them the chance to condense their working week and finish early on a Friday where it works for clients and teams over the summer months. We review this on an annual basis, having first introduced it in 2021.

We’ve also formalised our international remote working policy, after a successful pilot last year. This gives more of our people the chance to work overseas for personal reasons for up to three weeks a year.

While continuing to offer flexibility, we’ve been clear about our expectation of our people to spend some time in our offices and/or on client sites each week too. We’ve seen first-hand the benefits this creates for learning, coaching, and the differentiated experience we provide for our clients. And our people have enjoyed perks at our offices throughout the year too - from free yoga classes and discounted food and drinks, to free fruit, oat milk, and sustainably sourced giveaways including vegan treats and chocolate bars.

A place to learn and grow

PwC is a place where people come to learn and grow, and this year we’ve continued to invest in development and progression, with 3,576 of our people promoted within the financial year.

As our clients’ needs continue to change at pace, it’s vital we ensure our people can be as agile as possible and remain well equipped to help them solve their most pressing problems. Alongside the usual technical training and opportunities to learn from others, we’ve offered firmwide training on climate impact and inclusion, and recently launched a new GenAI upskilling programme for all.

Our virtual learning programmes allow us to reach as many of our people as possible and give them the chance to access upskilling resources wherever and whenever they need them. But we continue to recognise in-person training still has its place too. Over 2,500 of our people have taken part in our flagship leadership programmes this year, enjoying a combination of residential group training and individual learning. Our skills-based volunteering opportunities also support our people’s development and wellbeing, while giving them the chance to make a difference in our communities - another important part of the Deal we offer.

This year saw us launch a new international talent mobility programme for our senior associates and managers. ‘Gateway’ offers them the opportunity to spend three months living, working and learning in another country - a great way for our people to broaden their network, deepen their cultural awareness, and further develop their business and global acumen.

A spotlight on social mobility

Imagine a world where your background didn’t matter in the workplace, access to opportunities was fairer, and where you were educated was irrelevant. That’s a future we’re committed to.

Unlocking talent across the UK

Advancing social mobility doesn’t just happen. It depends upon targeted, meaningful actions to remove barriers and broaden access to jobs and career-enhancing opportunities. So ensuring our recruitment processes are attractive and accessible to all is central to our five-point inclusion plan. This is the right thing to do, but it’s also a commercial imperative.

We believe academic qualifications alone are not an indicator of workplace potential and that for too many students there are other factors that influence academic results - socio-economic background being one of them. So this year, we removed the 2:1 degree criteria for our graduate and undergraduate roles.

It’s giving talented young people with the attributes and potential our business needs, improved access to careers with our firm.

Alongside policy changes, partnering with specialist organisations and education providers is core to our strategy. During the financial year, 100,950 university students engaged with us through social mobility aligned organisations, including upReach, which works to create better opportunities for undergraduates from lower socio-economic backgrounds.

Our work with the charity over the last few years has already seen members of PwC’s Social Mobility network volunteering their time to provide mentoring support. But this year, we also established a new, three-day, paid work experience programme specifically for upReach associates (students). Some 45 students joined us through this route in spring 2023 and we’re hopeful many will return for an internship or placement and then a graduate role with us.

“We work hard to get ourselves in front of talented people who might not otherwise have heard of us. By casting our net wider, we have more choice and can expand economic opportunity further afield. We’ve had most success where we’ve worked alongside local government and educators. Collaboration is critical.”

New World, New Skills

One of the greatest ways we can create better career prospects for future generations is supporting skills development and raising aspirations through our New World, New Skills (NWNS) programmes.

Over the last financial year, more than 3,000 PwC volunteers were involved in delivering upskilling sessions for students from lower socio-economic backgrounds and social mobility target schools across the UK. Inviting over 2,600 students from lower socio-economic backgrounds into our offices helped them imagine themselves working at an organisation like ours, while supporting them in developing skills such as communication, teamwork, and business acumen. As one teacher said: “The students told us it has been one of the most insightful experiences they have ever had in terms of careers.”

Over 200 Year 12 (and equivalent) students from across the UK also joined us for a NWNS paid work experience week, all of whom met our social mobility criteria.

Beyond our schools programmes, we’re committed to supporting communities and making a difference for other under-represented groups, including refugees, through our community engagement work and partnerships.

A sustained commitment

The ongoing challenges in the external environment will likely increase inequality across society. So, while we’ve made progress and been recognised as a top five social mobility employer, we know there’s still much more to do.

We were proud to be selected as one of 13 employers and professional bodies on the Social Mobility Commission’s new Employer Advisory Group in November 2022. This means we’re well placed to help influence change, share best practice and learn from others.

We continue to support the Social Mobility Foundation’s (SMF) campaigns and marked Social Mobility Day with a LinkedIn Live with the SMF’s Chief Executive Sarah Atkinson reaching over 600 people. The theme of the day was #SpeakMore - something we encourage all year round, with our 2,600-strong Social Mobility Network proving to be a popular forum for story sharing, alongside volunteer engagement.

Undertaking extensive research with Thinks Insights & Strategy helped us better understand and enhance the experience of joining the firm for those from lower socio-economic backgrounds. We plan to use this research, along with our pay gap data and our new socio-economic background targets, to hold ourselves to account and do more to ensure individuals from all backgrounds have a fair chance to succeed.

university students engaged with us through social mobility aligned organisations. 100,950 10,000 students supported through New World, New Skills programmes. 2,600+ students from lower socio-economic backgrounds visited our offices.
Creating fairer access to opportunities

Diversity of thought, perspectives and skills is more important than ever, so we’ve taken further action to broaden access into our industry and help bridge the gap between education and the world of work. As one of the UK’s largest graduate employers and a top five apprenticeship employer, we aim to lead by example.

A highlight this year was the removal of the 2:1 degree classification requirement for all of our graduate roles, and undergraduate internships and placements. This is one of many actions we’re taking to help advance social mobility, having previously dropped A-level/UCAS requirements for undergraduate and graduate roles. We also visited a wider range of university campuses than ever before, with our ‘sustainable booth’ installations proving popular among students who want to know more about the purpose, ESG credentials, and commitments of prospective employers.

Recognising the impact of the university marking delays on this year’s graduates, in June we wrote to our 1,600 graduate joiners, guaranteeing their start dates. With the students graduating against a backdrop of disruption and other pressures including the rising cost of living, we wanted to provide them with security.

We also welcomed more students on paid work experience via our diversity programmes than in previous years. And we’re proud of our new partnership with 10,000 Able Interns, which connects disabled students and graduates with paid internships, training and development.

Health and wellbeing data
Absence though sickness
Percentage of staff who 'agree' or 'strongly agree' with firmwide staff Youmatter survey question “The people I work for make wellbeing a priority for our teams”
Looking ahead

As always, our greatest measure of success is the feedback we receive from our people. We were delighted to see an overall engagement score of 79% in our annual staff survey - just 1% lower than last year’s record. But we’re not complacent. Next year offers us another opportunity to make this an even better place to work.

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Corporate Affairs, PwC United Kingdom

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