PwC Is Spending A Massive $3 Billion To Upskill Its Employees

By Amit Chowdhry • Oct 6, 2019
  • PwC announced recently that it is investing $3 billion to upskill its employees and develop share technologies for supporting clients. These are the details.

PwC recently announced it is investing a whopping $3 billion to upskill its employees and develop share technologies to support clients and communities. PwC made this decision since it has become increasingly apparent that one of the world’s most pressing challenges is the growing mismatch between the skills people have and those needed for the digital world.

And there has been an urgent need for organizations, governments, and educators to come together to fix this growing problem and business has an important role to play. The $3 billion investment will be spread over the next 4 years.

“The skills gap is an issue that goes to the heart of our purpose and we have the scale and experience to make a measurable impact. That’s why today we are launching ‘New world, New skills’ – a commitment to tackle this important problem for our people, our clients and the communities in which we operate,” said Robert E. Moritz, Global Chairman PricewaterhouseCoopers Int. in a statement.

Moritz has been working at PwC for 24 years and was the head of the U.S. division before moving into the global role a few years ago. PwC has been upskilling a select group of employees for a while now, but then it became clear that this program should be opened up globally to the company as a whole. And PwC chief digital officer Joe Atkinson is overseeing the developing of the training apps and tools.

The upskill program — which will be available for all of PwC’s 276,000 employees — will focus on 4 key areas. 

PwC is going to roll out different programs that meet their particular needs ranging from skills academies to digital fitness apps to leadership development. And a proportion of PwC’s workforce will develop specialist skills in areas like data analytics, robotics process automation, and artificial intelligence. This would help PwC’s workers understand the potential of new technologies so they can advise clients, communities, and other stakeholders.

And PwC is also advising its clients on the challenges posed by rapid technological change and automation. This includes identifying skills gaps and mismatches against likely future needs, workforce planning, upskilling programs, and cultural change.

Plus PwC is going to work with governments and institutions to reach more people. This is evidenced by PwC in Luxembourg helping develop the Luxembourg Skills Bridge — which brings together trade unions, associations, and businesses to build digital industries and develop digital skills, including among those populations most “at risk.”

PwC will also help millions of people improve their skills and knowledge for the digital world by making upskilling a focus of our not-for-profit initiatives by working with students and teachers — which will help ensure opportunities are more evenly spread and we reach people who may otherwise be left behind. 

This initiative is called New world. New skills.

As we’re on the edge of a new world of work, which is brimming with possibilities ranging from automation, AI, data analysis, and other emerging technologies, these tools are only as good as the leaders who identify these opportunities.

But, generally speaking, technology is only as good as the leaders who identify its opportunities, the technologists who deliver it and the people who work with it every day. That’s where companies can come up short: their people may lack new skills and those skills can be hard to hire for.

As a result, 46% of global CEOs said that their first priority to remedy the issue is upskilling their existing workforces. Even though many leaders are saying that upskilling is not providing a return-on-investment, organizations need to set up a new approach. The approach should be the right mix of skilled and adaptable people who are aligned to the right culture and with the right mindset to power their business. And as automation and “thinking machines” are replacing human tasks, changing the skills that organizations are looking for in their people becomes much more important.

PwC said that it can help identify skills gaps and mismatches, build a future-proof skills strategy, lay the cultural foundation, develop and implement upskilling, evaluate the return on investment, identify skills gaps and mismatches, and assess the current environment and challenges. Plus it can define future workforce and understand the impact of automation, assess current workforce capabilities, understand the organizational culture, identify skills gaps and role adjacencies, and validate the case for change. And it can rapidly review and refresh upskilling strategy, make inclusion a priority improve the effectiveness of learning organization and technology, and test strategic alternatives and scale best-performing programs.

In an interview with Yahoo! Finance earlier this year, PwC US Chair and Senior Partner Timothy F. Ryan pointed out that he has seen companies “do quite a bit in both terms of pay and programs, as well as upskilling, and we do see those continuing.”

“It goes back to the talent war,” Ryan added. “We happen to believe upskilling is going to be as important as health care and retirement going forward.”

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