As the United States comes ever closer to maximum employment, businesses across all industries are continuing to struggle to find people to fill vacant roles. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ April 2022 report shows unemployment at 3.6%, close to pre-pandemic levels, but with the additional complication of an unprecedented number of people quitting their jobs in favor of new employment opportunities. As part of ongoing efforts to attract and retain top talent, consultancies are raising compensation and expanding benefits, with Big Four firm PwC recently announcing a $2.4 billion investment in benefits and wellbeing for workers in the U.S. and Mexico.
While the consulting industry is notorious for long working hours and poor work-life balance, PwC has moved decisively to update its culture and make itself more attractive to job seekers, having already implemented a one-week shutdown in December and offering the option to move to permanent work-from-home (though with a pay reduction) for its staffers. Its newest benefits package, branded “My+,” is adding an additional weeklong shutdown in July, a 5% pay increase, and an extension of paid parental leave from eight to 12 weeks.
"We can't sustainably compete on compensation and benefits alone," Said Yolanda Seals-Coffield, Deputy People Leader at PwC US and Mexico, in a recent interview. "Fundamentally what is driving this strategy is that employees' expectations and mindsets have changed and people want greater control in choice around when, where and how much they work."
The U.S. and Mexico branches aren’t the only ones to see new perks, either. PwC’s U.K. business, which is a separate entity from the U.S., also announced that its 22,000-strong workforce will be able to clock out at noon between June 1 and August 31, according to a report by The Guardian. The move comes as part of a bigger-picture flexible working model known as “The Deal,” which permits partners to choose their own hours, provided they spend a minimum of two to three days onsite.
With consultancies around the world stepping up their offerings and re-thinking their work practices and cultures, it seems clear that investing in people and their unique needs outside of work is likely to pay dividends to companies willing to put in the time, money, and effort to bring about meaningful change.