(CNN) – Accounting and consulting giant PricewaterhouseCoopers will allow its 40,000 US-based service workers to work from virtually anywhere in the US, the company confirmed to CNN on Friday.
The company said it was the first such announcement from a professional services company in the United States, marking a shift in how companies approached work culture before the pandemic.
PwC is one of the “big four” accounting firms known for their heavy workloads. The company has 55,000 American employees. Friday’s announcement only applies to those who work with clients, such as auditors, consultants and tax professionals. Other workers, such as workplace service teams and IT professionals, need to be in the office.
The company switched to a hybrid work model in March, with some employees working remotely and others working up to three days a week in the office. It opened all of its offices in the United States in September with limited capacity.
PwC said it chose to change its policy to better retain talent and recruit a diverse workforce. Employees who choose to work virtually in low-cost locations could face a pay cut, according to Reuters.
“We are unveiling these enhancements to our employee experience to meet their needs in this changing work environment, to continue to put flexibility and wellness benefits at the center, and to expand the pool of people we attract and recruit to achieve our goals. ambitious hiring goals and our [diversity, equity and inclusion] aspirations, ”PwC said in a statement.
Before the pandemic, around 7,000 members of the company’s business services group – its non-customer service staff – were already working virtually and had the ability to go to any office to log in. Some employees, such as those working in IT departments and the workplace, will need to be in person, the company said.
Employees have two weeks from October 1 to let their managers know if they want to move to a virtual role, although they can change that over time.
A recent PwC survey found that 65% of all U.S. employees are looking for new jobs, and 88% of executives said they see higher-than-normal turnover. The most cited reasons for looking for a job included wages, benefits, career advancement and flexibility, according to the survey.
A Many of the major U.S. financial institutions, such as Wells Fargo and BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager, have pushed back their in-person start dates due to the Delta variant.
This isn’t the only big change for the PWC this year. In June, the 160-year-old company announced sweeping reorganization measures, merging its accounting and tax service lines into a single function to be called Trust Solutions. The company has also reorganized its consulting business, which includes cybersecurity, privacy, cloud, mergers and acquisitions, and tax advice, into a single unit of consulting solutions. And he launched what he calls the Trust Leadership Institute, which aims to train more than 10,000 business leaders to make responsible decisions.
“This is a one-time change in a generation,” Tim Ryan, US president of PwC, told CNN Business.
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