In the last week or so there has been lots of compensation news coming out of PwC, starting with the news from last Friday that "exciting changes" to the compensation structure were happening. There was a lot of speculation and up through yesterday's Steve Beguhn capping Town Hall webcast about what those changes would be and now we're happy to report that we've got the details for you. Late yesterday we spoke to a person within PwC who helped develop the new compensation strategy for U.S. employees and it sounds like their are plenty of exciting changes that are being unveiled today. These changes to the comp structure are part of a large shift in culture and values that all started last fall with the unveiling of the new logo (and here you thought it was all about colors and shapes). But enough with the pleasantries, you're probably anxious to the know the details. There are three major pieces to the change in the compensation structure starting with:
Transparency – PwC hopes to communicate to its employees just how they come up with the numbers that go into your numbers. For example, all those "surveys" and "benchmarks" that get thrown around? The firm plans to tell you exactly what surveys and benchmarks they are using, who participates in them, how many they use, etc. Once all that data is accumulated, the firm will present employees with graphs and other visuals to illustrate ranges of compensation for all the service lines and non-partner levels. They will also show the market midpoint and average vs. the PwC midpoint and average. This will allow employees to know where they are relative to their peers in terms of compensation and through an "open dialogue" in the performance review process, why they are making what they are.
Earning Potential – The next piece is your earning potential. In other words, how well you can expect to do while you're working at PwC. From brand new associate to a new partner, you'll be able to see what kind of scratch you'll be pulling down at each level and in each line of service. Along with this, a new bonus structure will be announced in July for fiscal year 2012. Under this new structure, the firm will state exactly what will come out in the bonus pool; there will be no cap on the pool and it will be based on the following metrics:
Firm performance – The better PwC does, the better you can do.
Line of service performance – Yes, this means that if advisory had a kick ass year, their bonuses will be larger than the audit group's. Likewise, the next time advisory goes through tough times and the tax group keeps on truckin', they'll enjoy a better bonus. Assurance, you're just screwed (I kid, I kid).
Individual performance – The rating system relative to your peers will remain in place. Each line of service will receive quarterly updates on the bonus pool. This is something that is already done in the advisory practice and will now be practiced in assurance and tax. All non-client facing support employees will also be eligible. The firm is launching a microsite and will provide flip books that will lay out all the details in case you ever forget all this.
Recognition and Milestone Awards – Spot bonuses have been around for some time but there was concern that it wasn't always clear how they were earned and what they are. This will also become a more transparent process (sensing a trend yet?). Along with the spot bonuses, the firm is introducing milestone awards that will occur at the senior associate, manager and senior manager/director levels. Here are some of the details for each:
Senior Associate – In addition to compensation awards, new seniors will receive highly specialized individualized offsite training that will help the new seniors make decisions about their careers. This will last for 12-18 months as they adjust to their new roles. UPDATE: And by "offsite," this means "an offsite marquis location."
Manager – New managers will receive a bonus that is equal to 25% of pay. This will be phased in over a couple of years, starting with this year's bonus of 15%, next year 20% and finally reaching 25% in 2013. Since the promotion to manager is such a major achievement, the firm felt recognition of that achievement is appropriate. UPDATE: The reason for the phase-in is so that recently promoted managers will not be jumped in total compensation by their less-experienced counterparts. The firm looks at compensation from a total cash perspective as opposed to comparing salary to salary or bonus to bonus.
Senior Manager/Director – New SMs and Directors will receive four-week sabbaticals to use however they like. They can work to further their professional credentials, spend time with family, take a vacation, whatever they choose.
So there you have it. Some people probably won't be pleased by the changes because well, some people simply can't be pleased. But from the sound of it, the firm is trying to give employees what they asked for and that is more information about the process, what "staying competitive with the market" really means and probably all kinds of stuff you didn't even think you might want to know. Again, some people will be skeptical but those people also probably think OBL is still getting dialysis treatments. So, let's have it P. Dubbers. Discuss the new and exciting changes and throw the questions out there that you're too afraid to ask – TPTB are definitely reading (and it sounds like they are fans of live-blogging).