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Vault’s Verdict

In a business environment dominated for much of 2022 by labor shortages, it’s no surprise that a company with the scale and capabilities of PwC found itself in strong demand: its advisory unit alone pulled in more than $20.7 billion globally, up 23.5% over 2021, with thousands of new employees joining the firm over the period.

All of which positions the company well heading into 2023, with its services likely to be just as necessary even in the event of a seemingly inevitable downturn. As such, there are very few companies that can offer the combination of stability and career growth that is currently on offer at PwC.

Of course, that scale isn’t always easy to manage: it’s easy to feel like a cog in the machine at PwC, and a consistent theme among respondents in this year’s survey referenced some difficulties in creating a cohesive onboarding experience for new hires in a post-pandemic world.

Those teething problems aside, however, this remains a highly people-centric firm with access to the biggest names in literally every corner of the business world. While those interested in carving an entrepreneurial career path may find their opportunities limited, those willing to contribute in a team-oriented, structured environment may well find their perfect match at PwC.

Firm Culture

“There are high expectations, but everyone is very focused on growth and improvement and wants to uplift those around them. That is built into the culture from Partner level and down and is made very clear to new joiners and junior talent.”

“Employee centric. PwC is a partnership and thus employee-owned by senior management. Career progression past middle management is partner. Unlike traditional corporations where senior positions are limited, you are valued based on the contributions to the firm and can contribute to the firm's success and create the need for additional partners. Thus, instead of filling a partner position you can create the need for one for yourself.” 

“I started with no consulting experience and had a government defense contracting job which was the total opposite of PwC. My first project was high visibility, high prestige, and very fast paced which made me grow and make a ton of mistakes. Now, my other projects are not so bad because I taught myself how to keep my head above water.”

“It does not in any way feel like a corporate outfit - while the firm is world-class, I do not get the feeling of stuffy suit-and-tie attitudes. We are more than employees - we are people, with families and hobbies as well as careers, and we have voices which can be heard and ideas which can be seen and impacts which can be felt, both within and without. I truly feel like I am part of something bigger which is making a positive change in the world.”

“PwC's culture is unmatched. Everyone is welcoming, kind, extremely smart, and willing to lend a helping hand. I feel comfortable with everyone I've met at the company and I know that I've made friends for life from this firm. Each and every person at the firm has taught me something. They come from all parts of the world, with all different interests, degrees, specialities, and perspectives. They always say the best way to improve is to surround yourself with people smarter than you and I have successfully done that working at PwC.”

Quality of Life

“Best Aspect: The firm is very flexible with ways of working, there are many options available and employees may choose, within reason and with consideration to the nature of their role, the amount of time they spent at home, in the office, in transit, and in combination of any of these. The firm also makes available many resources for health and wellness, including rewards programs and complimentary or reduced-fee services for fitness, mental health, etc. There is very much a culture of Be Well, Work Well and employees are encouraged to take breaks, contribute to their communities, and develop in a healthy way at both a professional and personal level. 

Worst Aspect: The overall firm approach to work-life balance and quality of life is very positive and encouraging at the highest leadership level - however, the onus to adopt these values is on lower leadership and individual employees, who must choose to share these values (or not share them) throughout their teams, which can lead to individual practices establishing attitudes that differ from the firm-wide messaging.”

“Due to the large amount of attrition that has occurred over the past 2 years, more work / hours are being worked to handle client expectations and projects. In addition, the specific practice training efforts vary by each discipline which impacts the ability to have a normal work / life balance schedule. Therefore, some disciplines and practices may work more hours than others, which appears on the ‘surface’ unfair but really is due to expertise and lack of resources available for certain disciplines.”

“Freedom to choose what you want to be and manage your own schedule is amazing. I'm pretty senior at PwC. Yet, in the evening after 6pm I get to spend time with family routinely and then catch up on email before heading to bed. Partnership culture is federated, empowering and, yet, very responsible.”

“I have been thoroughly impressed with the WLB potential at PwC/Strategy&. I have had circumstances that have made engagement travel difficult for me and have been remote working for almost 6 months. I have never felt disconnected from my teams and have still been able to contribute and lead at a high level with a marked sense of camaraderie in my teams.”

“The best aspect is that your team's are very respectful of when you take time off, and don't bother you while you're away. The worst aspect is that we are expected to work a minimum number of overtime hours, which can be difficult if there isn't enough client work and these overtime hours cut into work-life balance.”


“Cohort model so everyone on your level is paid the same and you all know what you're making, only difference is bonuses. 401k matching could be better.”

“I have been very happy with my salary progression - shortly after I joined the firm a year ago the firm gave everyone on the M&A team a mid-year pay raise and then I received my annual year-end raise as well. With the two pay raises my base salary increased 32% in my first year with the firm. The firm buys all new joiners a new cell phone and pays our phone bills so I got a new iPhone when I joined the firm.”

“Pay is good, nothing negative there. Only thing that was a bit interesting is that it was not mentioned, until the official offer letter, that you are not fully vested in your sign on bonus until after 24 months of employment. It is also unclear as to whether you would have to pay back the pre-tax amount of the bonus or the post-tax amount should you leave the firm within 24 months. This isn't something major but it would be nice if your sign on bonus could be treated as such and not something to be essentially awarded after 2 years. I will say you do get the money right away but cannot do anything really but let it sit there or invest VERY conservatively with it.”

“The overall base salaries are reviewed to be competitive and adjusted as needed to remain consistent with the industry. However, the bonus payout process appears to be slightly unfair because it is based on an ‘impact’ rating that your manager and partners will assess against other peers on your team. Performance metrics are based on project utilization and sometimes you may not be selected or a chosen consultant for engagements 100% of the time, which impact your ability to hit metrics.”

“You may be able to make more money elsewhere, especially for specific job opportunities and/or situations where ‘high-demand skills’ may create opportunities for short-term salary increases vis-a-vis PwC ... but the complete economic package associated w/PwC's offering is highly competitive.”

Career Development

“Best aspects: career coaching and relationship networking are easy and useful, upskilling opportunities are free and relevant, and the work options are flexible enough to allow me the right work/life balance.

Worst Aspects: Authority is usually unclear (i.e. not only one person you're responsible to, or, if you are, they don't have the proper skills or time to guide you), there is no time given outside of company organized events that is free time you can use to upskill: you have to make time out of early morning or late-night, and the rating system for performance does not usually come from or go to people familiar with your work. Managers do not have time to review your work.”

“Career development is outlined rather clearly in terms of expectations at every level of the firm. There is a detailed framework outlining at each level what is considered performing below, at, and above the level an employee is currently at. The evaluation process is clear and direct feedback is encouraged. Optional training is also extensive and can be found in many different topics, either related to your current area or an area of the firm you are interested in learning about. Mentorship is highly emphasized and a big part of the promotion process as your career mentors play a part in advocating for promotions. One area of difficulty is discovering ways to stand out among peers in evaluations and finding other ways to get involved inside and outside the firm; sometimes the opportunities are advertised and you need to ask mentors/peers about opportunities and seek them out yourself.”

“I love my role and my team! The support of the broader group network is invaluable. I have an assigned coach, relationship leader, and connectivity partner. These three people bring their wealth of consulting and firm experience to our meeting and coaching sessions. I feel valued and challenged to reach my personal and business goals. Some projects can be quite challenging but I have received support from my leadership team and they have been very flexible with me on time and instances where I had to deal with personal matters. I am impressed by the level of diversity in my local office and the wealth of knowledge I have amassed via our robust internal learning and coaching offerings.”

“Plenty of training opportunities, both informal and formal. You are constantly surrounded by incredibly talented individuals who get smart fast and operate at very high levels creating a very fast paced learning environment.”

“Training is not as structured as it once was. I am not sure if this is due to COVID-19 changes and people working remotely. Onboarding was very minimal and training since then seems to be more on your own. I would expect more basic curriculum to be in place for sectors or verticals within the organization. Especially since by design we are attached to a sector/business area.”

Community Engagement

“Diversity, equity and inclusion with respect to race and ethnicity, women, LGBTQ+ individuals, individuals with disabilities, military veterans, and other historically underserved individuals are good and I feel that all consultants at my firm have equal access to interesting/high quality work and promotion opportunities.”

“For several years now, our firm has been on a journey to raise awareness around these issues for our partners, our staff and our clients. PwC's CEO Action Initiative on D&I matters is a great example of our commitment to these issues. It’s a starting point ... it’s not the end goal ... we're not perfect by any stretch, but it’s now top of mind for our people and we're constantly seeking feedback to continuously improve our efforts on this journey.”

“Honestly, I can only really speak to my own experiences, but it is pretty disconcerting to see very few women at the highest levels of the organization. I also witness very few minorities (regarding ethnicity) in higher positions. I think the firm promotes a lot of networks for inclusivity, but I think additional training is needed for the day-to-day work when thinking about who is on your team, who you connect with, etc. because we are all drawn to people who look like us. I also think that a gap in recruiting exists around unconscious bias when it comes to people of different backgrounds. I was recently involved in recruiting and didn't receive any additional training around this and think it would have been helpful to have been aware of how my background as a white woman may lead to different biases in the recruiting process.”

“Strong internal D&I group that is constantly putting on both virtual and in-person activities to raise awareness, funds, or to shine a light. Our team does a great job recruiting diverse candidates and is working to further improve. Lots of training available to those who wish to take about leading diverse teams and being an inclusive leader.”

“There is a significant focus on all aspects of D&I including candid conversations, affinity groups, community service, value shares on firm town halls, etc. I have seen less focus on Disabilities than the other groups noted above. As a firm, there is a big push to be mindful of blind spots as we gauge who is or is not a top performer.”

Business Outlook

“Astounding firm brand, thriving industry news, and very competitive skill sets currently employed. At least the next 3 years of this firm appear to be solid for a new hire. However, as the market could encounter a recession over the next 3 years, cannot really project the outcome pass then. I can say that our firm was very commendable during COVID pandemic and did not do any layoffs to support its employee base in the US / MX to help support families.” 

“Employee morale is low from the great resignation. We are still very understaffed and overworked. Industry wise, it will position us well for the recession coming since there in theory won't need to be layoffs since we are short staffed.”

“I think we're understaffed--heavily. But I really like the non-immediate management (people a good bit higher than me) and the firm strategy. I think our ESG consulting needs a lot of work because it seems to only have a few solutions to the diverse problems in that area, but otherwise it seems to me that we have a very technologically advanced firm.”

“PwC's mission is to build trust and solve important problems. We recently re-organized our teams to focus on platforms and help us better go-to-market. We're already seeing the benefits in the first year as we better share cross-industry expertise and bring leading experts to our clients.”

“Very aggressive growth mindset and entrepreneurial firm. Always focused on listening to the market and responding, and growing the business.”

Hiring Process

“Candidates will go through a series of interviews starting with HR, then progressing to current employees of firms. The ideal candidate has the appropriate skills and experience for the role and can share specific examples that demonstrate their competency. They should think critically, understand our business, and communicate effectively.”

“Hiring process was extremely slow, it took months to get the interviews and being communicated if the process still in progress, and even after that to get the offer letter took longer than I could expect or based on my previous experiences. The feedback was not received in an appropriate time.”

“In my opinion the Recruiters does an exceptional job of follow up within a timely fashion. We realize it's a competitive market so you must move right away. The ideal candidate has previous consulting and M&A experience for the practice I support.”

“[Company is seeking] Someone that is themselves and hardworking, the firm is big in diversity so if you bring your true self and show to be honest, kind, caring, driven then that is someone I believe the firm will hire.”

“The interview and onboarding process was straight forward. One recruiter is assigned as your main contact and they regularly reached out via e-mail and phone. When they said it would be 3 days to know results of first round of interviews, they reached out on day 3 with feedback and next steps. It was about a 3 week process of screening tests and 2 rounds of interviews. Once the offer came, it was about 10 weeks until start date, which worked out well for me. The onboarding process before start date takes time, so the time was used to complete the independence review and background checks, which is a regulatory requirement of all audit firms and the reason for the gap between job offer and start date.”

Interview Questions

“Cultural fit is very important for the firm especially in the Deals Transformation practice. I was asked extensively about why I want to work in M&A, how my background has prepared me for it, and other typical behavioral questions.”

“Display of analytical skills. Technical knowledge of the group within advisory. Communication skills, working with a team, describe your prior experience and how it fits with this role.”

“Overall it was a fairly easy interview process. I think I met with a recruiter, a Senior Manager, a director and a partner. Most questions revolved around real-live examples of work and experience doing different tasks.”

“Standard case methodology is applicable in PwC/Strategy& in line with preparations required for McKinsey & Company, Bain & Company, & Boston Consulting Group. Cases tend to be flavored on the more practical side and are generally applicable in the industry/function through which the application is routed.”

“Walkthrough a detailed case of how a large manufacturing business is looking to change it's operations and a CFO asks what factors they need to consider in their own finance operations, and then see how the interviewee responds and the components that they considered in their response.”

PwC Advisory/Strategy&

300 Madison Avenue
New York, NY 10017
Phone: (646) 471-4000

Firm Stats

Employer Type: Private Partnership
US Consulting Solutions Co-Leader & Global Advisory Leader: Mohamed Kande
Employees (All Locations): 327,947

Major Office Locations

79 offices nationwide

Affiliated Companies