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PwC upgrades employee benefits with two week-long shutdowns

Professional services firm PwC is improving its employee benefits and learning and career development programs. It wants employees to have more control over their careers.

Professional services giant PwC is mandating company-wide vacations by shutting down U.S. operations for a week in July and again in December, giving its 55,000 employees additional time off on top of existing time-off benefits.

PwC is also increasing employee benefits and pay, giving an "unprecedented" 5% fiscal mid-year increase to everyone across the firm and will have annual base salary increases effective July 1, the firm announced Friday. It is upgrading its HR and learning technology to give employees more flexibility and control over their careers. The firm said the changes are part of a $2.4 billion three-year investment in its people.

Parental leave is expanding from eight to 12 weeks, free visits to mental health professionals is doubling from six to 12 annually and reimbursement for out-of-network providers is going up to 90%.

Wage and benefit costs are rising for employers across the board, according to a U.S. Department of Labor report last week. Compensation costs increased 4.8% over the previous 12 months, including pay and benefits. For the same period one year ago, compensation costs increased by 2.8%. Many companies have been focused on improving benefits and internal career mobility to help with retention and recruiting, which PwC acknowledged as an underlying reason for the changes.

There were approximately 11.5 million job openings in March, the highest on record, according to a Labor Dept. report this week. Workers are also quitting jobs in record numbers to take new ones.

Competing on more than compensation

PwC is doing more than just increasing employee benefits, said Neil Dhar, vice chairman and co-leader of consulting solutions for PwC U.S.

We can't, on a long-term sustainable basis, just compete on compensation and benefits alone. We've got to do something bold around that personal experience.
Neil DharVice chairman and co-leader of consulting solutions, PwC U.S.

"We can't, on a long-term sustainable basis, just compete on compensation and benefits alone," Dhar said. "We've got to do something bold around that personal experience."

The firm has branded its approach as My+. It has four pillars: well-being, total compensation rewards, career development and a strong alumni network that maintains relationships with former employees.

Dhar said some PwC employees gain experience and then move to other jobs to further their careers. The plan is to give these workers "the best experiences possible" to launch their careers.

But PwC also wants to offer employees new ways to manage their careers and training with personalized career experiences "that engage our people to, quite candidly, stay longer," Dhar said.

The learning platform is getting an upgrade, but the company hasn't selected a vendor yet. The idea is to give employees options for creating their career paths and gaining the skills they need. The overarching goal is to give someone who has been working as an auditor, for instance, the ability to try merger and acquisition work or move to strategy areas; or they might want to work in the firm's cloud and digital practices to help implement technology, Dhar said.

Last fall, PwC offered 40,000 client services professionals the option of working full-time virtually or in hybrid arrangements. Approximately 78% opted for virtual and in-person work, while 22% chose virtual work.

PwC said it saw an immediate 20% increase in job applications after its remote work policy announcement.

Patrick Thibodeau covers HCM and ERP technologies for TechTarget. He's worked for more than two decades as an enterprise IT reporter.

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