PwC US aims to poach EY partners as global split looms

06 December 2022 1 min. read
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PwC US plans to significantly expand its number of “direct admit” partners (externally hired rather than promoted) in the coming year, according to a Financial Times report.

PwC US leadership has urged its partners to win over their peers from rival Big Four firms, people familiar with the plan told the Financial Times. PwC is particularly focused on attracting EY partners in tax, cloud services, financial crime, and ESG.

PwC stated internally that it has the capacity to add 500 US partners in the next 18 months – a significant uptick from previous years. The accounting and consulting firm hired 500 direct admit partners in the last six years and had 3,658 partners as of May 2022.

Rival firm EY earlier this year announced plans to split its audit and consulting businesses in a bid to head off regulatory risk from conflict of interest while boosting revenues. The global EY split would see the higher-margin and higher-growth tax/consulting practices spun off into a public company, with partners receiving shares in the new company. Audit partners, meanwhile, would be compensated with a cash payout (estimated at $2 million) for lopping off the more profitable practices.

PwC US aims to poach EY partners as global split looms

The upcoming split, however, might make EY partners less likely to ditch their company as they anticipate cash payouts or share awards.

An EY spokesperson told the Financial Times they are “seeing no attrition, period,” are targeting direct admits from other firms, and have added 20 US partners from PwC in the last 18 months.

EY has pushed its 13,000-partner vote on the global split to early 2023. It was originally scheduled to take place in late 2022.

Rivals Deloitte, PwC, and KPMG, meanwhile, have affirmed their intention to keep their current multidisciplinary structure.