I’ve just received word: There was a PwC Advisory partners emergency conference call tonight announcing upcoming involuntary staff reductions.
(This time the source is impeccable.)
New US Advisory Leader, Dana McIlwain laid out the bad news: The time has come to cut. Average utilization is hovering at 69%. Cash collections are millions short. Campus recruiting for Advisory has been stopped cold. Business sucks and then there’s the 800+ BearingPoint folks to absorb.
On November 11th the rank and file partners, fortified after training and coaching by HR via a webcast in the next few days, will chop 300+ professionals from PwC Advisory, at all levels, all geographies, all practices. Most have already seen the writing on the wall via forced ranking. You are already on a “list” and I’m not talking a fun Twitter one. You may be fighting it, thinking you can survive if you just find a project to take you, somewhere. You may even have been encouraged to go looking, just to be told, “Sorry, wrong number.”
Because that’s the way it works at PwC. After putting themselves on a pedestal, telling the press and their peers at other firms they were better than everyone else, they’ve finally acknowledged that they have no idea how to fix the systemic problems in the practice, don’t know who will fix them, and don’t know when they will get fixed. No amount of prancing around like pompous peacocks will change the fact no one is buying their act right now.
It can’t help that their Health Care Advisory practice was royally punked by Report-Gate. I never got an answer back from the PwC PR folks as to who, specifically, had the bright idea to whore themselves out for a few bucks to the insurance industry’s anti-reform lobby. This is the big time now and PwC was toast before the graphics department was done printing out those shiny booklets for the next conference.
It seems that none of the BearingPoint transfers-in will be cut. That would be an admission of fault for a colossal, strategic mistake of going long systems integration consulting during one of the biggest corporate cost cutting periods in my more than twenty-five years of professional life.
And it looks like no partners will be part of the RIF parade, for now. At least at PwC, they’re reducing those numbers by attrition instead – disgusted, demoralized, and defeated by massive cuts in compensation and shifting of accounts and responsibilities. All in the name of preserving the remaining spoils for the few at the top of the pyramid. Just walk away with tails between your legs, fellas, and be glad you had the supreme privilege of working for Price, Waterhouse, Coopers, or Lybrand during your 15-25 year career. Oh, and don’t tell anyone. It would embarrass both of us and no one would be better for it. There’s lots of CFO jobs around. You may have to move your family to North Dakota…
Don’t think this is the last of the cuts at PwC. Once the rich “sons of a gun” at the top – more on that later in the week, including actual compensation figures – get a taste of blood, it’s easier and easier to justify anything to save their own skins.
They’ve done it before. They have the playbook.
Let’s see how the PR guys spin this one…
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