PwC UK has promoted 61 new equity partners – the most ever in one sitting. Of the new partners, 28% are women, reflecting the firm’s commitment to reducing inequality at its top. The firm has also sought to boost its mid-level gender diversity, 40% of the newly promoted directors are female, up from 30% last year. Additionally, the firm is continuing to support young talent from a diverse background, from university and school, into the professional services.
The promotions at PwC UK see the creation of 61 new equity partners. The new partners have a broad background – adding a range of backgrounds, skills and experience to the top of the firm. In addition the firm has added 27 new partners from outside the firm over the past year, an increase of 9 on the previous year.
While the majority of the new partners are men, the firm has managed to boost the number of new female partners from 23% last year to 28% this year. In addition, the firm has sought to improve the availability of female talent, for promotion, in its pipeline – 40% of the newly promoted directors are female, up from 30% last year. Today the firm boast 174 female equity partners – more than any other professional services firm.
The new partners, aged between 32 and 51, are for the majority (55%) working from the firm’s London footprint. However, the Big Four is also seeking to expand its presence within the regions, a move which, according to the firm, reflects “PwC’s commitment to investing in its business and clients across the whole of the UK.”
The firm is also recruiting more young people into its ranks, taking on 1,500 graduates and around 170 school leavers during 2016. The firm, like many of its UK rivals, has sought to reduce the barriers for educational attainment requirements – by removing UCAS points as a graduate entry criteria – as they often disproportionately selected for those from privileged backgrounds. In addition, the firm offers a Higher Apprenticeship in professional services, through which it has hired 500 higher apprentices since the start of the programme in 2012.
Ian Powell, former Chairman (he has been succeeded by Kevin Ellis per 1 July) and Senior Partner at PwC, says, “For a third successive year we have increased the number of new partners and have continued to improve the diversity of our senior people. These promotions reflect the importance we place on diversity, the role of the regions to the UK’s economic success and our commitment to investing in our people across all our client services.”
Kevin Ellis, Chairman and Senior Partner, adds, “Developing a diverse and inclusive partnership remains an ongoing priority. Building on the progress of the last few years will be vital to our future success.”
Gaenor Bagley, head of people at PwC, remarks, “Our aim to create a truly diverse workforce is starting to pay off and it’s great to see a higher number of female partners than last year. By focusing on diversity across all levels of the firm, right from apprenticeship and graduate entry through to the senior leadership level we are creating a workforce that more accurately reflects our clients and wider society. More of our new partners work flexibly, demonstrating that there isn’t a one-size-fits-all mould to being a partner in a professional services firm.”
Last year, PwC promoted 57 new equity partners of which 13 where women, showing a gradual increase in females taking up senior roles. Many Big Four firms recently are making efforts to hit record numbers in partner promotions as well as gender equality, like for instance Deloitte UK who recently promoted 80 new partners of which 24 are women.