PwC UK reports growth as it invests in skills and technology for the future

  • Tech degree apprenticeships launched at five UK universities 
  • Flexible Talent Network rolled out
  • Investments in cloud and emerging technologies to transform the firm’s operations
  • 3,441 people join the firm, including 1,297 graduates and school leavers
  • 60+ organisations back PwC’s Tech She Can Charter to support women in technology

PwC UK, the professional services firm, has reported revenue of £3.76bn for the year ended 30 June 2018, up 5% from £3.60bn last year, as the firm continues to invest in people and technology across the UK to support its clients. The firm’s financial performance is published today (Monday 17 September) in a fully digital annual report, ‘Leading in Changing Times: Working Together’ (www.pwcannualreport.co.uk), with detailed insight into the issues that matter, including diversity, purpose, societal contribution and strategy. 

Kevin Ellis, PwC UK Chairman and Senior Partner, commented:

“Despite uncertainty over Brexit, all four of our business divisions grew this year, with high demand for technology-related services, including cyber, data analytics and GDPR. Twenty-nine percent of the firm’s revenues came from inbound – organisations headquartered outside the UK – highlighting the importance of the UK as a global business hub.

“Momentum in our business is good, driven by a strong deals market and demand for technology-driven business expertise, as we see organisations turn to us to help them transform their business models, many in response to digital disruption.”

Revenues

Assurance revenues increased by a solid 3%, Consulting revenues were up by 1%, Deals grew strongly by 10%, and the Tax practice, which includes specialists in areas such as immigration, legal services and pensions, experienced good growth of 7%. The Middle East practice grew by 15.7% in US dollar terms as client demand remained strong.

External environment

“During the year there has been significant scrutiny of our profession and the audit market in particular, with recent commentary highlighting concerns over competition, choice and audit quality. We are committed to helping regulators find practical remedies to increase choice and are clear that audit quality must be the top priority.

“This year we settled two Financial Reporting Council investigations (BHS and Tenon) where our work fell below the standards expected of us and that we demand of ourselves.  Our goal is always to deliver work of the highest calibre. When we get things wrong we put our hands up, learn the necessary lessons and improve our processes. Audit remains a fundamental part of the firm and the commitment to continuously improve audit quality is at the forefront of our strategy. 
Investment in technology

“We are adopting new technologies to ensure our business is efficient and connected for the future.  We’ve made a step change in our own digital transformation this year with significant investment in cloud-based technologies such as Google for Work, Salesforce, and Workday, as well as continuing to invest in emerging technologies expertise in AI, virtual reality and a drones’ team to build and innovate client services.

“We’ve continued to grow our cyber, data and analytics, and technology risk propositions and developed data visualisation and machine learning tools to enhance the insights we provide to businesses. We’ve opened Frontier in London, a creative space to collaborate with clients and bring our emerging technology teams together. Our research into the potential economic impact of AI and drones have helped fuel debate on how we harness these technologies responsibly and effectively.

“We launched a fully funded tech and data degree apprenticeships at five UK universities – Birmingham, Edinburgh, Leeds, Queens in Belfast, and St Andrews – giving over 100 students per year a traditional university experience while receiving paid on-the-job training. Over 60 organisations signed up to the Tech She Can Charter we launched to help ensure more young women can focus on pursuing technology careers.

Our people

“We are proud that tens of thousands of people applied to work for us this year, and more than 3,400 school leavers, graduates and experienced professionals joined the firm. As a major UK employer we believe our business is stronger for having a diverse workforce.  With technological changes having a significant impact on the jobs market it is more crucial than ever that we ensure high skilled and high paid jobs of tomorrow are attainable regardless of a person’s background.

“We made a number of changes to our recruitment processes to reflect this, including launching an action plan to promote social mobility, introducing an innovative Flexible Talent Network to open up new opportunities for people who don’t want to work a traditional work patterns, banning all-male shortlists and expanding our paid work experience opportunities. We took steps on issues we know matter to our people, extending our Green light to Talk mental health campaign and sponsoring Pride.”

Matthew Hammond, chairman for PwC in the Midlands and senior office partner for the Birmingham office, added:

“In realising our ambition to be the leading professional services firm, we are changing how and where we work. Our office transformation programme is seeing us invest significantly in larger tech-enabled offices, including our future home here in Birmingham. One Chamberlain Square will be in the vanguard for our larger regional model, operating as a tech-enabled, flexible working environments that allow us to respond with real agility to deliver exceptional client and a great working experience for our people.

“Whilst creating new and more flexible ways of working that bring together our people and technology, it is essential we have the right skills, increased levels of specialisms and technologies to provide the services to our clients in a way that enables them to face future challenges. 

“I’m delighted that the Birmingham office was one five regional centres to launch the tech and data degree apprenticeships this year which we will run in partnership with the University of Birmingham. On 28th September 39 apprenticeship students will join the firm as part of the fully funded degree course. 

“PwC in the Midlands has seen some 239 new recruits in Autumn 2017, the firm also saw 35 new graduates and apprentices join the practice in April, with 46% BAME intake and 43% females, creating new routes into professional services and cementing the foundations for the future growth of the business. We are proud of our diverse and inclusive workforce and continue to invest in colleagues at all levels to achieve our growth ambitions and meet clients’ needs.”

2018 financial highlights:

  • Revenues by business line:
Business area 2018 revenue Growth v 2017 2017 revenue
Assurance £1,334m +3% £1,296m
Consulting £778m +1% £772m
Deals £711m +10% £649m
Tax £941m +7% £881m
  • Its profit was £935m and the average distributable profit per partner before tax was £712,000. The effective UK tax rate for partners was 48%.
  • The firm’s total tax contribution was £1,182m (up from £1,163m in 2017) and consisted of £709m in taxes collected and £473m in taxes borne.

2018 non-financial highlights:

  • For the 4th consecutive year, PwC has published a digital annual report.  By analysing readership data for our previous reports we learned what people are most interested in about our firm and provided more detail on these areas. You can explore the report at www.pwcannualreport.co.uk.
  • PwC published its progress against its gender and ethnicity targets for all levels of the business for the third year running and launched a five point action plan to promote diversity and inclusion. 
  • PwC was one of the first organisations to voluntarily disclose its pay data and is publishing its gender pay data for the fifth year in a row and black and minority ethnic (BAME) pay data for the second year.
  • PwC UK’s mean gender pay gap under the government’s regulatory reporting requirement is 12.2%, down from 13.7% in 2017.
  • PwC UK’s mean gender pay gap including partners for 2018 is 43.2%, down from 43.8% in 2017. The mean BAME pay gap including partners for 2018 is 35.7%, down from 35.9% in 2017.
  • More than 104,000 people applied for a job with PwC and new joiners included 1,297 graduates and school leavers and 2,144 experienced professionals.
  • 46% of new hires were women and 29% were BAME.
  • 60% of new graduate roles and 78% of school leaver roles were outside London.
  • We bought products and services from 40 social enterprises and received the Buy Social Market Leader Award at the UK Social Enterprise Awards.
  • Our people contributed over 66,400 hours of volunteering to communities and charities during the working day and helped over 10,000 young people with skills training.  
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