One difficult thing about observing and reporting on the happenings at professional services firms is that they tend to be really tight-lipped about internal metrics, attrition, and salaries. They know exactly how many people they’re losing in any given period, we do not. Not so much the case in Australia where the Workplace Gender Equality Act requires non-public sector employers with 100 or more employees to submit a report to the Workplace Gender Equality Agency to make sure men and women performing the same role are paid the same amount. You can learn more about the reporting requirement here.
This reporting requirement means Australian Financial Review can publish articles like this:
More than one in three staff members, or 2700 workers, resigned from consulting giant EY in the year to March 2022, a rate of departures that far outstripped the firm’s big four rivals and the overall business average where one in four employees exited during the same period.
EY’s total staff numbers fell between the 2021 and 2022 reporting periods, data submitted by EY to the Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA) shows. In contrast, employee numbers rose strongly at its rivals, Deloitte, KPMG and PwC.
Although EY provided the data itself, the firm has challenged the data and “provided alternative figures from different time frames and alternative calculations to show the firm ‘aligned with our industry in terms of turnover, and staff numbers have increased steadily over the last three years’,” says AFR
Deloitte, KPMG, and PwC accept the WGEA data and say they too experienced peak turnover during the time period EY is pissy about. PwC Australia CEO Tom Seymour says the reporting requirement “holds our feet to the fire” and serves an important role in “driving lasting, system-wide change” at his firm.
The percentage of employee resignations at EY was 37 per cent, or 2723 staff, in the year to March 2022, and 21.2 per cent, or 1593 staff, in the year to March 2021, WGEA data shows.
EY’s WGEA data also shows the total number of employees in the year to March 2021 was 7501 and fell to 7287 in the year to March 2022. The firm grew revenue by 9 per cent to $2 billion in 2020-21 and by 18 per cent to $2.4 billion in 2021-22.
EY countered its own WGEA data with alternative calculations about employee exits and different total headcount figures.
“WGEA data reflects a range of timeframes with headcount provided in a one-day snapshot,” said Kate Hillman, EY Oceania’s people, place and culture leader.
Hillman said staff turnover peaked at 23 percent coming out of the pandemic. “Since then, the trend has returned to a level of staff turnover at around 20 percent,” she said She also offered some headcount numbers: 7588 average annual headcount in June 2020, 7546 in June 2021, and 8623 in June 2022.
“The higher rate of exits at EY raises questions about why the firm is unable to retain staff at a similar rate to its peers and the cost of rehiring and training new staff, wrote Edmund Tadros. “Meanwhile, the falling staff numbers during the surveyed periods also raises questions about staff workloads.”
EY disputes data showing more than one in three staff quit in a year [AFR]