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November 21, 2022

St. Petersburg Times

(UPDATE) Layoff Watch ’10: Checking on PwC in Florida

~ Update includes clarification of the number of layoffs.

Remember those 500 layoffs that PwC announced in July? Jeff Harrington of the St. Petersburg Times reports, “According to a state-required layoff notice filed Friday, 280 jobs will be phased out by Dec. 31.”

According to the report, many layoffs occurred immediately:

PwC said another 150 positions have already been cut since July, with half of those displaced workers finding other jobs through PwC or a third-party vendor it is using, India-based Tata Consulting Services. The other half left voluntarily after finding other jobs outside the company.

That leaves 70 unaccounted for at this time and we’re trying to determine when these are happening. It’s our understanding that the 150 is a bit of squishy number so that may make up part of the difference but it remains a mystery (as Big 4 layoffs tend to be). SEE UPDATE BELOW.

As for the 200 positions tax and accounting that the firm said it is adding, the Times reports that they’ve added 30 positions so far since “last summer.”

If you’re in the know about the layoffs in Florida (or anywhere else for that matter) get in touch with us at [email protected] and we’ll keep you updated as we hear more.

About 280 PricewaterhouseCoopers workers in Tampa get pink slips [St. Petersburg Times]

UPDATE – October 19, 2010: A source at PwC has informed GC that the number of layoffs is actually 470, a figure that was determined a few months subsequent to the July announcement of 500 cuts. Employees that comprise 280 cuts mentioned in the Times article were notified by letter that their last day would be December 31st. The source confirmed that half of the 150 employees cited in the article did obtain internal jobs with the firm or Tata Consulting Services while the other half resigned or found positions outside the firm.

Our source said that the remaining 40 IT cuts are being made in offices around the country and that the employees were notified in July. The exact timing of these cuts was not immediately known. We’ll keep you updated.

People Are Still Talking About Those PwC Layoffs

Remember those PwC layoffs in Tampa a week or so back? Right. Anyway, the St. Petersburg Times decided to poke around this story a little bit more and discovered some things that most of you have known for awhile: there are two very different sides to large accounting firms and PwC is no exception.

PricewaterhouseCoopers has cultivated an image as one of corporate America’s upper-tier workplaces. Competitive pay. Great benefits. A perennial on Fortune’s list of Best Places to Work.

Human resources experts with the company have preached to clients about effectively managing workers and using layoffs as thes of crisis.

However, interviews with a half-dozen current and former Pricewaterhouse employees support a different picture of a financial evolution within the company in recent years. The accounting and professional services giant, known as PwC, has quietly and methodically slashed hundreds if not thousands of well-paying jobs, offshoring many functions to cheaper labor overseas.

A perennial on the Fortune list! It’s impressive to see the MSM catch on to the Big 4 M.O. so quickly. Anyway, the article goes on to explain that the accounting firms aren’t like regular corporations because, as we know, the “shareholders” are the partners of the firm:

Pricewaterhouse and the other top global accounting firms “make a lot of money, and they’ve had an increase in revenue for many years,” said Christopher Ames, president and CEO of the Ames Research Group, which analyzes financial data of the world’s largest professional services firms.

“These firms work differently than a publicly traded company. In the firms, the shareholders are the firm and there’s not that many of them. From the partners’ perspective, they want to keep that money … and they’ve done pretty well.”

Not only do the partners do well, St. Pete’s reveals a couple of other things we all know and that is 1) that getting a firm to admit that layoffs have even occurred is nothing short of water into wine and 2) the process and numbers involved are a complete mystery:

Confirmation of the latest layoffs was unusual. Many cuts happen below the radar. PwC has not filed any WARN layoff notices with the state this year for any cuts, including the latest one.

Consultant Francine McKenna, a former PwC employee who tracks the Big Four audit firms in her award-winning blog, re: TheAuditors, was shocked the company even confirmed the layoffs publicly. “They just don’t issue press releases,” said McKenna, who broke news of a previous PwC layoff in November.

Several PwC veterans said that is partly due to the process. A mass layoff is not typical; cuts come in small groups. Workers receive messages to “touch base” with a partner, a telltale sign they are about to lose their jobs. The total numbers are also murky, workers say, because a percentage of dismissed employees are offered either lateral jobs or lesser-paying jobs to stay with the firm.

Remember the November layoffs? If you don’t, it got ugly. The PwC loyalists got their claws out on that one.

PricewaterhouseCoopers spokesman Jon Stoner is quoted throughout but it’s mostly bites from the firm’s previous statement and he stonewalls reporter Jeff Harrington on any meaningful details.

For readers of this here fine publication, none of these tactics are new but Harrington dug up all the right dirt which is refreshing. He includes a quote from a former employee that probably sums it up for a lot of you, “It used to be a great place to work. They took care of their workers. “[Now,] it’s a company of bean counters, and all they care about is saving a few pennies.”

For PricewaterhouseCoopers, layoffs pad bottom line [St. Petersburg Times]