One of the hundreds of local Business Journals wrote yesterday about layoffs in our sector, those layoffs being KPMG’s 5% cut announced Monday, Deloitte laying off 1200 or so people in April, and EY’s 3000 layoffs that coincidentally happened shortly after Everest fell apart but had nothing to do with Everest falling apart (according to EY).
That leaves just one Big 4 firm. Here’s what PwC had to say about the possibility of layoffs:
So far PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP is the only one of the “Big Four” accounting firms that has not announced layoffs and said it had no plans to. The firm did allude to attrition in a statement to The Business Journals, but stressed that it did not serve to reduce overall headcount — and that it occurred year-round.
“We are not planning layoffs currently as a firm,” the company said in a statement.
PwC said “attrition is a natural part of our high-performing culture, so too is our philosophy of shared success.”
Attrition seems to be the word of the day. KPMG said in their Monday statement that “economic headwinds, coupled with historically low attrition” led the firm to make the decision to let people go. As much as we at Going Concern get a thrill out of calling bullshit, it looks like firms of all sizes are dealing with low attrition and therefore higher numbers of people who are choosing not to jump. Because leavers are specifically accounted for in firms’ business plans, that means churn must be forced if it doesn’t happen naturally. So that’s where we are.
We’ve heard from sources inside PwC that performance matters much more this year than last year and various posts on Reddit and Fishbowl confirm exactly that. See:
How has PwC not had layoffs make the news? I’ve heard so many friends getting silently laid off this past month, but not sure what’s true.
Posts all seem to use the same creepy language about people disappearing as if they were raptured or something.
On the other hand, you have plenty of OG commenters who say this happens every year (it does, to an extent) and that recent performance-based separations are just that, performance-based. If we believe what PwC sources have told us, it’s just that the definition of low performer has widened to include more people.
Stay billable, friends.