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PwC to Spend $12 Billion on Hiring, Expanding Expertise in AI, Cybersecurity

  • updated 4 mths ago

PricewaterhouseCoopers plans to spend $12 billion and hire 100,000 new people in areas such as artificial intelligence and cybersecurity by 2026, the latest move by a Big Four accounting firm to bet big on technology.

The planned hires will boost the company’s global workforce of currently 284,000 employees by more than one-third, said Tim Ryan, U.S. chairman and senior partner at PwC. The London-based professional services firm expects its staff count to exceed 384,000 five years from now, making up for any attrition with additional hiring.

The investments are aimed at better advising companies that face increasing scrutiny from investors on issues such as data privacy, diversity and sustainability, Mr. Ryan said. “It’s critical that our people have those skills,” he said.

PwC in 2019 said it would invest $3 billion on technology and employee training over four years, part of which is being rolled into the new plan.

The firm said last year it hired 63,000 people globally, largely to fill existing positions, but also created 8,000 new jobs. The firm said it has spent $7.4 billion on talent and other areas since 2016. PwC declined to comment on its attrition rate.

An average of 20,000 newly created jobs over each of the next five years pales in comparison to 2019, when PwC created about 26,000 new positions. PwC declined to provide projections for the jobs it would create each coming year.

Many U.S. companies have struggled to fill open jobs as potential employees remain on the sidelines. Employers added 599,000 jobs in May, falling short of many economists’ predictions.

The Big Four firms—Deloitte & Touche, Ernst & Young, KPMG and PwC—in recent years have invested billions in cloud-based and other technologies to strengthen their audit and consulting businesses and continue to compete globally.

KPMG in 2019 pledged to shell out $5 billion on technology over five years, while EY last year said it would spend $1.5 billion on technology, audit quality and its workforce through this month. EY and KPMG declined to comment. Deloitte didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

PwC’s $12 billion investment is also meant to help boost its market share, which has been lagging. The firm audited 10.3% of 6,030 public U.S. companies as of April 9, down 0.9 percentage points from last year, according to research firm Audit Analytics. EY, Deloitte and KPMG audited 15.4%, 11.9% and 9.4% respectively, the data show. Deloitte is a sponsor of CFO Journal.

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