Someone on a throwaway told all of r/Big4 a few hours ago that they’ve been given inside information about a mandatory return to office at PwC to be announced in a couple weeks.
This screenshot couldn’t have worked out better.
Since late 2021, PwC has touted a super flexible remote work policy. Come in, don’t, whatever. This depends on your team and clients of course but as far as we are aware there hasn’t been any blanket policy to get people back into the office.
One thing to note, and others threw this out there in the Reddit post, a conspiratorially-minded person might suggest that if a business were looking to make cuts without the accompanying bad publicity that comes from layoffs, forcing people back into the office would be a really good way to do it. At least some of those people who threatened to leave if they can’t work remotely will actually leave, still more will not leave but phone it in so hard they can get counseled out without much controversy. Boom, you just eliminated a bunch of people without some business rag putting your layoffs on blast.
One other thing to acknowledge: we have seen advisory layoffs at other firms in recent months. Consulting demand is down across the board. At least down under, Big 4 firms have all said the business is slowing down and PwC Australia specifically told AFR the firm “had no plans to cut jobs despite the fall in client demand.” The red hot job market has cooled, turnover is down a bit from its frenzied peak last year, and firms are lowering their hiring targets to keep headcount numbers under control (plus there’s that whole shortage thing anyway). Steps firms are already taking appear to be sufficient for now unless the business really starts suffering. There doesn’t seem to be much reason for PwC to make a controversial move like this right now. What benefit does it serve the firm?
But wait. Is turnover actually down? No idea. These comments are all over the place.
And then there’s this from Fishbowl:
Wait what? This needs more digging into. Keep you posted. For now this rumor is definitely just a rumor unless we hear otherwise.
Regardless of whether you think its good or bad to make people work in the office, I don’t think this is the best way to reduce headcount. Layoffs are always preferable because the firm chooses who goes, and its always going to be the low performers. This “force ’em back into the office” approach may cause the top performers to peace out.
You’re a Veteran? do you have your CAR? you pog or grunt?? What brank you serve?? didn’t think so – drop the Veteran tag line you aint one and never will be
Trying to reduce headcount without saying they are laying people off is pretty much on par with what PwC did during the great recession. During that time they were touting how they didn’t have any layoffs but they fired more people for performance issues in one week then I had seen let go for that reason in the 10 years I had worked there.
Comments are closed.