Accenture, PwC, and KPMG gives a thank you bonus to all employees
Technology consultancy Accenture last week announced it was giving a pandemic-related “thank you” bonus to its global staff, up through the associate director level. The bonus – which is likely aimed at boosting retention and recruitment efforts – amounts to one week of pay, or under 2% of annual salary.
CEO Julie Sweet announced the bonus in a firm-wide email last week. The staff bonus follows stronger-than-expected rebound in the Dublin-based company’s second-quarter results. Accenture recorded 8% growth in revenue in the second quarter to reach $12.09 billion, as well as a 13% increase in new bookings to reach a record $16 billion.
In response to a pandemic-induced drop in demand last year, Accenture turned to cost-cutting. The firm in August 2020 announced it was laying off 25,000 people, or 5% of its approximately half-million-person workforce.
Now, many consulting firms have been surprised by a more rapid turnaround in demand for services at the end of 2020 and continuing into this year. This has made many firms turn their attention to retention efforts.
Staff members at professional services firms, especially at the junior level, have been reporting higher rates of burnout as a result of the pandemic. Reinvigorated client demand has increased workloads even above their traditionally high level in professional services, as staff remain in their “always open” home offices. The social isolation of the pandemic has also contributed to burnout, as many now lack the collegial fraternization and brief snatches of vacation abroad that made their 80-hour weeks more bearable.
Consulting firms like Accenture may also face reduced staff loyalty after how employees were treated in the wake of the pandemic – facing swift pay reductions and then layoffs.
John Igoe, founder of executive search firm Wentworth Hill, told Australian Financial Review that Accenture’s one-week pay bonus is likely aimed at retaining staff with five to 15 years of experience. These employees do most of the work that clients value, according to Igoe, leveraging practice area experience in digital or industry experience in financial services or other sectors.
“It’s less than 2 per cent of annual pay and it’s a once-off to grab the headlines for their own staff and the market for talent,” Igoe told AFR. “They are keeping the base salaries the same so fixed costs are held in check.”
PwC also paid a one-off bonus to staff in December, and KPMG is promising a bonus to staff who stay until at least mid-2021.