PwC Ups Salaries to Deter Turnover and Attract Talent

Jim Walsh Here’s the latest sign that the War for Talent is heating up: PricewaterhouseCoopers is paying all 30,000 employees annual raises two months earlier than scheduled to help deter voluntary attrition and, in directly, attract new hires.

“We’ve historically paid our annual increases on September 1,” when the new fiscal year begins, says Jim Walsh, PwC Human Capital Leader. “Because of the economic pressures we were facing last year, we did not give overnight increases on September 1, except for those that took on new roles. Those consultants received a 5 percent increase to recognize their new responsibilities. And we kept the bonus pool intact for our highest performers.”

Now, as the economy improves and demand is improving, PwC is making an attempt to reassure its people. “We want to offer the best quality of service to those that helped us weather the storm and helped us—and our clients—through the tougher times,” Walsh says. “In the last six months, we’ve started to see things rebound in certain sectors,” he says. “And there’s no question that as the job market unfreezes a bit, our staff are in higher demand. Our top talent is getting more inquiries from headhunters.”

Specifically, Walsh says his consultants in the faster-growing industry segments—financial services and the energy sector—are the most vulnerable, he says. As a result of the new industry opportunities, Walsh says he’s already seen about a 1 percent increase in voluntary attrition compared to a year ago. While that increase isn’t much—especially since voluntary turnover in 2009 was the lowest in at least the last 25 years—firm leaders wanted to get ahead of the curve, Walsh explains.

PwC Ups Salaries to Deter Turnover and Attract Talent “With the unfreezing in the job market, we know we’re going to see a bit of an uptick in attrition,” he says. “So, we increased our effort to target and recognize our top talent, those a notch or two above their peers. And we’re going to be providing raises to everyone.”

The raises are designed to serve several needs. “First, they show our appreciation to our staff. They are designed to instill a level of confidence in our current footing and our confidence in where we’re going,” he says.

In addition, the raises are also designed to send a message to would-be hires. “Our non-audit business is experiencing significant rebounds. And we are aggressively going after new talent to help fuel that growth,” Walsh says. “We hope that committing to raises—and committing to them two months early—will bode well to those considering leaving their current organizations to join PwC.”

The size of the average raise is “still in flux,” he says. “We’ve read that the average raise across corporate America will likely be in the 2 percent to 4 percent range. We expect to be slightly above that, but things are not yet settled.”

—Jess Scheer