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A PwC accountant explains the plans for growth.

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A consultant translates the formula for the legal team


PwC is raising its NQ salary to £90,000 from this month. 

Kevin Ellis, chairman and senior partner at PwC, said that the Big Four accountancy firm "can't ignore market pressures" and wants "to ensure pay at every level is as competitive as possible".

With the backdrop of inflation hitting 9.4% in June, the highest level for 40 years, PwC said that across its business, it was investing more than £120m in pay rises, as well as allocating a further £138m to bonuses this year; an increase of £10m on the previous year.

"We know pay will be an increasingly important consideration given rising living costs," said Ellis, "we want to stay competitive and continue attracting the best talent and skills from across the UK. That’s why it’s important to invest now.” 

Ellis added "base pay is particularly important to our people, given the bearing it can have on mortgages and future salary."

A PwC spokeswoman was unable to say what the NQ salary was prior to the rise to £90k, but she confirmed that the hike was "at least 7%."

PwC was the first of the Big Four accountancy firms to became an alternative business structure in 2014, which enabled it to provide legal services. Its new NQ salary offering of £90k puts it on a par with the likes of Mishcon de Reya, Ince and Stephenson Harwood, and shows the beancounter's desire to compete with traditional City firms, in recruiting junior talent. 

Earlier this year, Teresa Owusu-Adjei, PwC’s UK head of legal, said that PwC's board had signed off plans for a “huge amount of investment” in the firm’s UK legal business in the next three to four years, with a "significant ambition around doubling" its size (which is currently about 400 staff). She added that PwC was eyeing up opportunities which included "providing advice to companies on international corporate restructuring, company secretarial services and providing consulting services to in-house legal departments".

A rival Big Four firm, KPMG, is also looking to make further inroads into the legal profession. It recently announced plans to double the size of its legal practice over the next three years, by employing another 220 lawyers by the end of 2024.

As KPMG and PwC carve out a healthy slice of their budgets to grow their legal teams, it remains to be seen whether they can expand in line with their spreadsheet projections, and keep the accountants happy. 

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