Big Four firm PwC Australia overhauls pay and bonuses as war for talent heats up

It's a big ticket to attract and retain top talent

Big Four firm PwC Australia overhauls pay and bonuses as war for talent heats up

Big Four accounting firm PwC Australia has announced an overhaul of its pay and bonus structure, as well as a $15m investment in a new learning academy, to strengthen the company’s ability to attract and retain top talent.

Under the new strategy the number of employees who can expect to receive bonuses will double on previous years, from 40% to 80%. The overhaul has also provided more simplicity on renumeration bands and progression to better align career progression with wages. It will see an increase in pay progression over the first three years to keep up with an employee’s rising skillset and value in the market.

Speaking to HRD, PwC Australia Head of People and Culture, Catherine Walsh, said the company acted on feedback from their people who wanted more transparency and clarity on how their performance, pay and bonuses were linked.

“This strategy is about ensuring not only that we continue to attract the best and brightest minds in the market, but also that we can continue to motivate, inspire and provide value for our hard-working and talented team of employees at every stage of their career,” she said.

“Our major investment in our learning and education program will also ensure we can continue to innovate, deliver and drive growth in an increasingly digitised and ever-changing world, which will pay dividends not just for our clients, but our hard-working and talented workforce.”

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The firm also announced its new PwC Learning Academy as part of its move to a total rewards strategy. The $15m investment will give employees the chance to gain recognised credentials that could contribute to an MBA-equivalent qualification, as well as access to leadership courses on a range of topics from wellbeing to ESG.

PwC Australia Partner, Andrew Curcio, who is the Joint Global Leader of the Reward and Benefits Practice, said the things employees value most has changed over time – especially in response to the pandemic.

“One such emerging priority is the value of training and development opportunities, and we've listened to our people, who tell us that pathways to development and opportunities to digitally upskill are high priorities for them,” he told HRD.

“While financial reward is important, career development, skill-building, mentoring support and wellbeing are much more than just afterthoughts, but instead are among the key themes people value most.”

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Curcio said businesses should be using data and insights from their employees to tailor the packages offered to various cohorts of employees throughout each phase of their career.

“Employers that transform their total reward offerings with this mandate in mind will create a sustainable win for all stakeholders and have a significant competitive advantage in the ever-present war for talent,” he said.

The difficulty in attracting the right talent has been exacerbated by the closed borders and lack of migration, with no signs of easing in the next 12 months. Technology and the financial services industries are two sectors that have been impacted the most, with skill shortages pushing salaries upwards. But research shows employees are prioritising other factors too.

The ability to work flexibly has pushed to the top of the priority list, with many employees refusing to give up the work/life balance gains made as a result of working from home.

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