October 31, 2020

Layoff Watch ’20: PwC to Sever Ties with 5% of Its Workforce In Australia (UPDATE) PwC Limits Job Cuts to About 3%

[Updated on Aug. 3 with additional information.]

PwC Australia CEO Tom Seymour said layoffs last month weren’t as large as anticipated—the firm let go of 250 PwCers instead of the 400 employees who had initially been targeted for involuntary departure by redeploying dozens of staff, according to the Australian Financial Review on Aug. 3:

Mr Seymour also said that partners had taken a 5 per cent to 15 per cent cut to their annual pay, while adding that only 65 per cent, down from his previous estimate of 80 per cent, of staff had their pay and hours cut by about 4 per cent.

“I don’t think anyone, whether it’s me as CEO or anyone in my leadership team, ever wanted to be in a position of having to make redundancies in a restructure,” Mr Seymour said.

“It’s not what you want to do, but you have an obligation to do what’s in the best interests of the sustainable whole. We employ 9000 people. In the end, about 250 people left the firm. We had about 300 conversations, in round numbers, and about 50 people were redeployed to different roles within the firm.”

AFR also revealed that PwC’s 2020 revenue in Australia is SALY:

PwC has posted flat results of $2.6 billion revenue for financial 2020, retaining its place as Australia’s largest consultancy despite the COVID-19 pandemic hitting business in its financial advisory and consulting business.

This is the first year since financial 2015 that the firm has not grown by at least 10 per cent, showing just how much the pandemic has caused clients to delay, or cancel, large advisory projects and defer deals.

PwC Australia’s revenue went up 11% to $2.6 billion in 2019.

PwC posts flat result of $2.6b, limits staff cuts to 250 [Australian Financial Review]

[Updated on July 14 with additional information.]

The Australian Financial Review is reporting today that PwC Australia has begun the process of relieving 400 employees of their duties with the firm, which PwC said will take about two weeks to complete.

Those facing redundancy have been, or will be, invited to a meeting with a partner of the firm and a human resources representative from Tuesday.

Staff were told about the cuts, which work out to about 5 per cent of PwC’s 8000-strong workforce, at a firm-wide meeting in mid-June, meaning for the past month employees in consulting, financial advisory and support have been left wondering who will face the chop.

As with many accounting firms—both in Australia and in the U.S.—the job cuts are being made to offset the downturn in business caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

PwC staff to find out if they are one of 400 to be cut from the firm [Australian Financial Review]

[Article originally published on June 17.]

Some bad news coming out of Australia today, especially if you work in HR, recruitment, or in the consulting and financial advisory practices at PwC.

The Australian Financial Review reported:

PwC will cut 400 roles in its consulting and financial advisory business, as well as its support function, after the COVID-19 pandemic cut demand for the big four firm’s services.

Staff were told about the cuts, which work out to about 5 per cent of PwC’s 8000-strong workforce, at a firm-wide meeting held on Wednesday afternoon.

The move will involve partner retirements and staff redundancies but the firm did not specify the breakdown between the groups.

The layoffs are expected to be completed by the end of July, according to AFR.

Here we have another example of a Big 4 firm outside of the U.S. that reduced the hours employees worked during the week by at least 20%, with a corresponding cut in pay, to cut costs and prevent job losses … that still happened anyway.

Back in April, when PwC Australia rolled out its “reduced working week program,” CEO Tom Seymour preached to PwCers that this would be the way “to protect jobs and not make people redundant as a result of COVID-19.” Well, that and cutting the hours and pay of underutilized staffers by up to 40% and cutting partner pay.

Folks at Deloitte in Canada heard the same message, as they were strongly encouraged to voluntarily reduce their work hours and take a corresponding cut in pay so the firm wouldn’t have to kick any Green Dots to the curb. Reportedly thousands of Deloitters did enroll in the voluntary work hour reduction arrangement. And Deloitte still ended up laying off between 300 and 400 people across its Canadian workforce, even those who voluntarily cut their hours and pay by 20%, 35%, or more.

Hopefully PwC and Grant Thornton employees in Canada won’t suffer the same fate.

PwC to cut 400 roles in consulting, financial advisory, support [Australian Financial Review]

Related articles:

PwC Australia Staffers Looking at Pay Cuts of Up to 40%
Layoff Watch ’20: What In the World Is Happening at Deloitte Canada?

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