After EY, KPMG, and PwC in the U.K. recently told their employees they only had to come to the office or go to client sites two, maybe three days a week once pandemic restrictions are lifted while allowing them to work from home the rest of the time, Deloitte decided to do them one better.
Deloitte U.K. CEO Richard Houston said on June 18:
“The impact of the pandemic has profoundly changed our way of life, not least in the way we work. The last year has really shown that one size does not fit all when it comes to balancing work and personal lives. It has also shown that we can trust our people to make the right choice in when, how and where they work.
“Once the Government has lifted all of the COVID-19 restrictions and we’re back up to full office capacity, we will let our people choose where they need to be to do their best work, in balance with their professional and personal responsibilities. I’m not going to announce any set number of days for people to be in the office or in specific locations. That means that our people can choose how often they come to the office, if they choose to do so at all, while focusing on how we can best serve our clients.”
While Deloitte was lauded on social media for such a “smart” and “positive” and “game-changing” policy, not everything about it is all rainbows and unicorns, especially for the firm’s executive assistants.
The Telegraph reported this past weekend:
More than 500 secretaries at Deloitte are at risk of losing their jobs as the group attempts to reduce the number of administrative staff as part of its shift to fully flexible working.
The restructuring is expected to result in the loss of at least one third of secretarial staff, according to a source. It could save Deloitte around £4m annually in salary costs.
It comes after the company told its 20,000 UK employees that they can work wherever they want when Covid restrictions are fully lifted.
The shift to remote working will speed up the digitisation of staff services, the company said, reducing the need for secretarial staff.
Those executive assistants who don’t get pink slips “will be banded together in one grade instead of having different levels of seniority,” The Telegraph reported, and their links to their existing teams “are likely to be broken and they will be split into pools of up to 45 overseen by a ‘team manager’.” And their roles will become more varied with “enhanced responsibilities,” according to The Telegraph, although we have no idea yet what that means.
It sucks that executive assistants have beared the brunt of Big 4 cost-cutting measures. KPMG U.K. sacked between 200 and 250 administrative support staffers pre-COVID, and KPMG in the States pushed out some executive assistants last September. In addition, EY Ireland cut some administrative services staff last October.
We hope the equity partners at Deloitte are taking the news of losing some of their beloved secretaries well from their sprawling estates or their beach homes. They’ve suffered enough over the past year, after taking a 17% pay cut in their profits—from an average payment of £882,000 in financial year 2019 to £731,000 in FY 2020.
Good luck to the executive assistants impacted by the pending job cuts at Deloitte.
Deloitte to axe secretaries in shift to flexible working [The Telegraph]