PwC to offer £1,000 advances to new joiners to promote social mobility

PwC to offer £1,000 advances to new joiners to promote social mobility

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Big Four accountancy giant PwC will allow new joiners to advance up to £1,000 of their first month’s salary as part of a package of measures aimed at supporting new joiners and prospective recruits from lower socio-economic backgrounds.

The actions follow a significant research project with Thinks Insight & Strategy, which followed a cohort of new joiners from lower socio-economic backgrounds on the firm’s school leaver and graduate programmes.

The 19-strong group journalled their experiences over eight weeks and responded to questions via an anonymised online platform run and moderated by Thinks. The project culminated in a ‘co-creation workshop’ attended by the new joiners and senior partners at PwC.

The new measures include:

  • School leavers and graduates will be able to advance up to £1,000 of their first month’s salary. The option will be open to everyone, helping to reduce any potential stigma associated with the request.
  • Socio-economic background data will be incorporated into the way PwC monitors work allocation to ensure there is fair access to high profile clients and projects
  • Salaries will be published on job descriptions for our school leaver apprentice programmes, with a view to expanding this to all entry level roles.
  • Increased mentoring will be made available for new joiners from lower socio-economic backgrounds.

Ian Elliott, chief people officer at PwC, said: “We’re proud of the strides we’ve made broadening access to the firm, focusing on potential not pedigree. But equally important is how we support people to settle in and develop once they get here.

“We wanted to better understand the experiences - warts and all - of prospective and new joiners, particularly those from lower socio-economic backgrounds. By learning what’s working well and what isn’t, we’ve been able to identify changes that we hope will make a significant difference to their experience.”

The research highlighted that new employees are keen to spend time socialising with colleagues, but are put off by the related costs, particularly before they’ve received their first paycheque.

Mr Elliott said: “A vicious cycle emerges whereby people who may already feel daunted by corporate life, don’t establish the same support networks and lose confidence. We want to help everyone start on the same footing.

“There are many factors at play. The actions we’ve identified cover everything from making the application process more accessible, through to financial wellbeing, mentoring, and how work is allocated.”

Emilija Bitinaite, an associate in PwC’s tax practice who contributed to the research, said: “Being a part of this project gave me a sense of relief, by providing a platform to address issues that may have gone unnoticed by individuals from more privileged backgrounds.

“I found that the environment allowed open discussions about personal experiences and the impacts they have on our day to day working life, without the fear of judgement.”

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