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PwC advises staff on how to depart amid job cuts

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Guidance is being issued on how those leaving PwC under its voluntary severance programme should do so, including suggested wording.

11th Jun 2024
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PwC has launched a round of lay-offs accompanied by staff being told how to say goodbye to colleagues.

According to a report from the Financial Times, the Big Four firm has launched a voluntary severance programme across several of its UK offices.

However, no official announcement has been made, with those offered packages to leave having instead been told individually.

Sticking to the script

The FT notes that guidance sent to those employees states they must not tell other staff if the offer is accepted, as well as follow a script provided by HR if they choose to send notes before they leave.

“Should you decide to accept this voluntary offer, it is possible for you to send out a note to a defined group, however this must not refer to the voluntary severance offer or the circumstances of leaving (suggested wording for this note is given below but we recognise that you will naturally want to personalise this),” it reportedly says.

“Naturally, it must also not be derogatory to PwC or its employees/partners. It is down to business discretion as to when this message can be sent out and if the business wishes to review messages before they are sent out.”

It added: “The content of your comms should follow this approach… ‘Following recent discussions with my [relationship leader], I have taken the decision to leave PwC. It hasn’t been an easy decision for me to reach but now that I have, I am excited about what the future holds for me and the new opportunities on the horizon. I have really enjoyed my time at PwC and the opportunity to work with such talented colleagues.’”

A PwC spokesperson said “We have to keep the shape of our business under review to respond to changing client demand, attrition rates and new opportunities. Through limited targeted voluntary severance, we can continue to recruit at entry level and where different skills are needed.”

Flexing to demand

In November last year, PwC confirmed plans to make cuts with voluntary redundancy set to be offered to between 500-600 people.

At the time, the firm said the decision was about “flexing our business to demand”.

“There are still areas of good growth and recruitment.”

Similarly, a report released earlier this year suggested that with the UK consultancy market stuttering, the Big Four were turning to job cuts.

The projection was from an annual study on the consulting market by Source Global Research, with data from Deloitte, EY, KPMG and PwC.

It estimated that the retail, telecoms and pharmaceutical, and manufacturing sectors would slash spending on corporate advice, causing a rare pullback in a £16bn sector which has flourished in the wake of the pandemic.

Huge levels of trepidation

The report added that businesses endured a “polycrisis” last year.

“This created huge levels of trepidation for clients, resulting in hesitancy when looking to put new consulting contracts out to tender,” it found.

“With clients continuing to adopt a wait-and-see approach to understand where to act if the economy begins to recover, we expect similar levels of hesitancy in 2024.”

Replies (10)

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By Justin Bryant
11th Jun 2024 16:05

My God. It's kind of Orwellian Newspeak isn't it? Almost reminds me of the gun to the head choice given to Rommel. And I agree with the comment below.

Thanks (4)
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By Jane Wanless
11th Jun 2024 16:07

Am I missing something here? Why tell employees not to refer to the voluntary redundancy offer?
Surely any staff member who receives an e-mail from a colleague saying  ‘Following recent discussions with my [relationship leader], I have taken the decision to leave PwC. It hasn’t been an easy decision for me to reach but now that I have, I am excited about what the future holds for me and the new opportunities on the horizon. I have really enjoyed my time at PwC and the opportunity to work with such talented colleagues’, they're going to know the colleague has accepted the offer?

Thanks (4)
Replying to janewanless:
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By FactChecker
11th Jun 2024 21:03

Well they're certainly going to know it wasn't written by their colleague ... unless they can no longer tell the difference between a human and a bot 'colleague'?

Thanks (7)
Replying to janewanless:
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By Rgab1947
12th Jun 2024 10:17

From the little I understand a voluntary redundancy offer is subject to confidentiality else there is a breaking of employment law.

I got this from my daughter where the firm was offering voluntary redundancy. They hammered on the confidentiality.

Thanks (1)
the sea otter
By memyself-eye
11th Jun 2024 17:31

PWC - Price Waterhouse Coopers that was.
Like BHP in mining (Broken Hill Properties) or MG (Morris Garages) a symptom of corporate 'downsizing' even in the company name.
I suppose the chavs can cope with 3 or fewer letters.
Isambard Kingdom Brunel would be furious.
Memo to (soon to be) ex employees - just take the money and run!

Thanks (3)
Replying to memyself-eye:
paddle steamer
By DJKL
18th Jun 2024 09:44

Or Coopers Lybrand. Always thought having lie and brand in a name was not a good look for a trusted adviser.

Thanks (0)
Replying to memyself-eye:
paddle steamer
By DJKL
18th Jun 2024 09:47

I was caught up in a fever
In that summer of ‘69
And my heart was cryin' out for change
And I knew time was comin' when I'd get away

So I moved down to that city
Where I met a friend of mine
And I must admit he tried to warn me well
With all those bad luck stories he could tell

He said "Take the money and run
Take the money and run
Believe it, in this town you can't trust anyone
You're gonna learn that lesson my son"

"Take the money and run
Buy yourself a place in the sun
Don't be a fool, don't you trust anyone
You gotta take the money and run, take the money and run"

From the genius that was Gerry, an artist who has grown on me as I age.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yWOpvUg8tFA

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By mkowl
12th Jun 2024 08:27

They were good at "counselling out" back in my day (mid 90s)

My co-horts summoned to meetings where the recommendation they go to the temp financial controller position at a client. On occasions it was pretty ruthless, always then funny to see the local partners who did the deed be summarily dispatched a year or so later.

It was when they did not promote me in the 1st July changes I decided to look elsewhere, wanting to at least be in control. I often regret not sticking it out, part my career may have been routed to industry not practice, the other the next 2.5 years were miserable with the jobs I took

Thanks (2)
Rob Swan
By Rob Swan
12th Jun 2024 10:19

Up in the Air, (Movie, 2009, George Clooney & Anna Kendrick, IMDB 7.4), says it all.

The funniest thing about corporate 'twonkery' is that they never 'get it'.

Thanks (4)
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By Paul Crowley
16th Jun 2024 17:08

Please just go and keep quiet about it. We reserve the right to intercept messages and gag you. You now have no friends here.

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