Last reviewed 1 July 2022

In a move that recognises rising living costs and the competitive recruitment market, one of the UK’s largest professional services firms, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), is to make what it describes as its most significant increases to staff pay for a decade.

The pay rises, which will see 70% of employees receiving at least a 7% increase (with half getting a rise of 9% or more) will cost the company more than £120 million.

Salaries for many of its entry programmes will also increase — for example, starting salaries in audit will rise by 10%. Those studying the ICAEW Chartered Accountant qualification as graduates will now be offered £32,000 per year in London while, also in the capital, consulting graduates will be offered £33,500.

The changes will see bonuses rising by £10 million compared with last year.

Chairman and senior partner, Kevin Ellis, said, “Our significant investment in pay reflects the strong underlying productivity of the firm following recent investments, and the continued hard work of our people. And as a business and an employer we can't ignore market pressures and want to ensure pay at every level is as competitive as possible.”

PwC is taking on more than 2000 school leavers and graduates this year across the UK. This includes students joining through degree apprenticeships, which PwC has been expanding with Ada college in Manchester being the latest addition.

“We’ve had record applicants for our student recruitment programmes this year,” Mr Ellis noted, “with students citing the breadth of our business and our truly hybrid working arrangements among the reasons for choosing us.”

Comment by Kate Palmer, HR Advice and Consultancy Director at Peninsula

The ongoing cost of living crisis has put significant pressure on household incomes, with many turning to their employer to facilitate higher wages to offset soaring expenses.

Whilst a pay rise is, undoubtedly, the best solution to this problem, many employers, particularly SMEs, will be worried about their financial position and long-term viability, so will be unable to offer a pay increase.

However, they can continue to support staff in other ways; for example, the introduction of hybrid or flexible working can reduce overall commuting expenses. Similarly, the provision of meals and refreshments in the workplace, free car parking and travel ticket loans can also help.