An increasingly urgent theme of the last year has been driving economic growth and redressing regional disparities around the UK. Place and our regional footprint is a key element of how we deliver our Purpose. We’ve continued to grow our regional teams, with over 10,000 staff outside London now representing our commitment to inclusive opportunities for people from all backgrounds.
In January, we opened our new Birmingham office, One Chamberlain Square, which takes the heritage of the Midlands as its inspiration. It’s now our largest UK regional office, with more than 2,000 colleagues playing their part in the Midlands Engine.
While we’ve maintained connectivity with clients from a distance in recent months, office life remains a vital part of our future.
In our Bradford Assurance Centre, we’ve used alternative delivery models to service clients and were recently named a BITC 2020 Responsible Business Champion for our work there. Elsewhere in the North, we took an extra floor in our Manchester office to continue to grow local talent. In Cambridge, we’re perfectly located to work with pharma and life science clients and, in Reading, we’ve invested in the first regional Frontier hub. Our plans for tech-enabled collaborative spaces will continue with our new Watford office, where fit out recently began, and our Belfast Merchant Square headquarters - both opening within the next year. The latter will become our largest regional office and reflects our confidence in Belfast, home to our innovative operational delivery division Operate, as a growth location.
Technology and data play a pivotal role in our work. An exciting example of this is our partnership with British Athletics, which involves our analytics experts across four of our regional offices. The ignition of the Tech She Can Charter in Scotland from our Edinburgh office was another highlight. Launched nationally in 2018, this stage aims to inspire more girls and young women to consider tech careers across Scotland. By tackling gender imbalance, advances are more likely to reflect wider society, while improving women’s access to the jobs of the future.
Among the highlights for Wales & West is our work in aerospace, defence & security, which is creating opportunities in this region. People from across our lines of service and 300-strong local teams worked with the Ministry of Defence in Bristol as its Efficiency Hub partner in the efficient procurement and support of military equipment.
Looking ahead, levelling up requires recovery plans that redistribute spending on infrastructure, skills, and technology, create quality jobs, and build a greener, more inclusive UK economy. From helping local governments regenerate high streets to attracting international investment for private businesses and investing in our own presence, we’re committed to regional growth.
Clients tell us they value our strong industry expertise and, at the beginning of the pandemic, this was an important factor in allowing us to support clients to deliver the change required when they needed it the most. Whether faced with overnight closure or extraordinary surges in demand, our priority has been to make a difference and help clients focus on business critical issues, including reimagining business models.
During FY20, we continued to position ourselves at the centre of industry convergence and as COVID-19 challenges arose - from protecting employees, customers, and cyber infrastructure to accessing government support - this view across industries allowed us to share vital knowledge and solutions from one sector into others, supporting our clients to respond at speed.
We also launched a Where next? thought leadership series, produced by Strategy& in collaboration with the Leaders of Industry. This gives our perspectives on how the dynamics of 24 different sectors could play out over the next 18 months. Clients know the pandemic will be a catalyst for change. Our industry knowledge, technology, innovation and human insight - which underpin PwC’s Intelligent Digital strategy - ensure that we can support them as they navigate a rapidly changing marketplace and implement transformation programmes that capitalise on new technologies.
Other big questions we have debated with clients during the year include how we act collectively to secure low-carbon growth. Insight produced by Energy UK, in partnership with PwC, is a great example of how re-engaging with the transition to net zero can help power economic recovery.
Fairness and inclusion are also key themes as we talk to business leaders about the future. From how the banks are supporting vulnerable customers to increasing UK-wide access to broadband, we are excited to help our clients in all industries continue to transform for the better.
Annual Review enquiries
Corporate Affairs, PwC United Kingdom