Despite Covid-19, PwC onboards close to 300 new graduates

13 October 2020 3 min. read
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Despite the challenging environment for the professional services industry, PwC has stepped up its commitment to young talent with the intake of close to 300 new graduates. 

Last year, in a year in which PwC Middle East thrived on the back of double-digit growth, PwC admitted 322 new faces as part of the firm’s annual graduate intake. Fast forward twelve months and PwC has unveiled that the firm has welcomed 294 graduates this year, in a move which undoubtedly raised some eyebrows in the industry.

The professional services industry has understandably taken a hit from the Covid-19-induced downturn, as clients pause/delay projects, and as a result, several larger players have winded down or even frozen their recruitment activities. PwC’s multifaceted service offering (audit, tax, consulting, technology) has helped the firm be more resilient to the crisis than many others, and this has enabled the Big Four to continue investing in young talent. PwC onboards close to 300 new graduates“We continue to invest in our region and in the next generation of leaders,” said Hani Ashkar, a Senior Partner at PwC Middle East. 

Mona Abou Hana, PwC’s Chief People Officer for the region, added: “We’re incredibly proud of our graduate intake and are committed to investing in and developing future talent to ensure we keep up with market demands and remain competitive in the new normal.” 

Asked if the firm had considered scaling back or even delaying the intake as some of its peers are doing, Mona said “For us at PwC, nurturing talent isn't about when it's most convenient. Talent is core to our strategy and is aligned with our purpose – to solve important problems and build trust in our societies. We therefore continue to seek, develop and retain the best talent.”

“While we are all restricted from mingling in person, it was very important for us to ensure we don't lose the spirit of our annual graduate inductions by creating memorable and immersive experiences,” said Mona.

A virtual onboarding

In light of social distancing measures, the new joiners were onboarded via live stream and using a virtual interactive platform. The platform provided the graduates with the opportunity to network with the leadership team and colleagues, learn about the firm’s strategy, purpose and values, and become acquainted with PwC’s multidisciplinary offerings.

On the latter, Mona said: “As a firm with five lines of service, our graduates were brought together to learn about our 'One firm' culture, industries and propositions. This allows them to have a holistic view of all our services, enabling them to bring the very best of our firm to our clients.”

The graduates have meanwhile been deployed across the firm’s main divisions, with the Assurance division receiving the highest number of graduates (158), followed by Consulting (85), Tax and Legal Services (27) and Deals (24). Within their service line, they have received a more detailed service-oriented induction programme.

From a regional perspective, Saudi Arabia and the UAE retained their position as the powerhouse members firms for graduate intake, both at nearly 100 each. The Egyptian member firm took on 49 young professionals, while notably at a time of major economic crisis, the Lebanese firm headquartered in Beirut saw 19 graduates join its ranks. 

In the Middle East, PwC has around 6,000 people across 22 offices in 12 countries.