PwC confirms 15% of HR jobs will go by 2012

PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) will cut 15% of HR jobs over the next three years as part of a transformation project to make the function more efficient, Personnel Today has learned.

James Chalmers, head of strategy and talent at professional services firm PwC, admitted that the firm’s move to a centralised HR function last year would result in 60 of the 400-strong HR department posts being reduced by 2012. The majority of the roles would either be redeployed to other business functions, or would be reduced by natural wastage, he added.

Until last year, each of the firm’s three main business areas – accountancy, tax and advisory – had their own HR departments with individual processes and strategies, duplicating HR roles across the company. 

“We will see reductions over the next two or three years, principally driven by increased process efficiency and automation,” Chalmers said. “We can probably take at least 15% off by aligning and simplifying the different HR procedures and policies of the three business strands.”

Chalmers said the transformation would make the function “leaner and greener”, allowing the team room to focus on fully integrating HR within the business.

“One of the things we’re considering as we look at developing the function is whether we want to create an HR graduate programme,” he said. “We have goals about what we want to achieve for our clients in the markets, and we can only do that with a strong human capital function backing us up.”

However, most of the graduate recruits would train as accountants before joining the HR department, to ensure a better understanding of the business and to allow better internal mobility to other areas of the firm, Chalmers said.

Meanwhile, as part of its spring intake, PwC recently hired 125 of the 1,000 graduate employees it expects to recruit this year.

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