PwC’s new hub is creating the next generation of Australia’s skilled workforce.

When PwC opened its Skilled Service Hub in Adelaide in July 2021, it set a target of creating 300 highly-skilled jobs in cyber security, cloud and financial audit services by the end of 2022. Just 3 months later, the hub had already welcomed almost 200 new employees and now expects to reach its target by Christmas, 6 months ahead of schedule.

And that number is expected to double in 2022 as the hub expands to incorporate infrastructure, data, economics and tax. “It’s a really exciting adventure for the firm and a big investment because it’s important to our long-term strategy of how we are able to effectively service our clients and develop the skills we need for the future,” says Jamie Briggs, managing partner at PwC Australia’s Adelaide office.

The Skilled Service Hub offers local university students industry placement during their studies in a field directly related to future employment. “Australia has a challenge with accessing skills and COVID-19 has highlighted that – not being able to bring in skilled migrants has meant that, in certain segments of our business, we haven’t been able to find the right skills necessary to help drive our growth,” Briggs says. “Our executive board decided that we need a future-proof strategy with young, talented people in our system early, delivering services and also developing so they can join the broader practice in the future.”

The hub is also driving interstate relocation. Of its initial intake in July, 12 of the 90 new recruits came from interstate. “In the next cohort that number grew again,” Briggs says. “It’s building a long-term pipeline of skilled, smart people who will help South Australia’s growth.”

One of the hub’s early interstate arrivals was Monash University graduate Yi Su, who moved from Melbourne to Adelaide in July to take up the role of digital identity analyst. “Growth was the main reason I wanted to join the Skilled Service Hub – for my own personal growth and development and to work in a growing field,” she says. “I work with super intelligent people and leaders who inspire me to grow, and I’m hoping to become a skilled digital identity professional.”

Closer to home, South Australian Bachelor of Finance student Nicholas Sullivan has decided to make the switch to cyber security and is currently employed as an undergraduate cyber security analyst at the Skilled Service Hub. “I’ve always been interested in technology and felt this would be a great opportunity to swap a career in finance for a career in cyber,” he says. “I feel like cyber is so fast-developing and no 2 days are the same – there’s always a new challenge around the corner.”

PwC’s decision to locate the Skilled Service Hub in Adelaide was the result of detailed research covering a range of criteria, including the capacity to retain staff, access to skills, access to young people and cost of living advantages. “One of the challenges for firms like ours is it takes quite a bit of investment to get a staff member up to standard, and if we lose that staff member quickly, it costs a lot to rehire and retrain,” Briggs says. “Cost of living adds to the retention rate, so if we have a greater capacity to retain then that’s a great outcome for us. This wasn’t a government incentivised program – this is a hardcore business decision and Adelaide popped up at the top of those criteria to make that investment.”

And it’s not just South Australia that will reap the rewards: with almost 800 partners and 9000 staff nationally, and future plans to service the Asia region, the Skilled Service Hub is a sizeable investment for the whole country. “PwC is very tech focused and this is at the forefront of that,” Briggs says. “The new equation is a global push by PwC, and the global aspect for Adelaide is that the centre which has the greatest resonance for that strategy is located here. It’s a great indicator of the opportunities our state has in the years ahead.”

Sourced from The Advertiser’s webbsite: PwC’s new Adelaide hub offers jobs in cyber security, cloud and financial audit services