Top professional services firms including the Big Four – Deloitte, PwC, EY and KPMG -have seen a spike in resignations over the last few months as executives seek greener pastures amid a pick-up in hiring across sectors due to ramped-up economic activity.
The top firms typically hire thousands across business verticals, including captives, and are witnessing double-digit attrition rates. The resignations are highest among entry and mid-career employees. “We have seen double-digit attrition in some verticals. So much is the pressure to retain some of the executives that the firm is offering them new roles… over and above salary and designations,” a tax partner at one of the large firms told ET. Industry trackers say there has been a fundamental shift in the last few months as employees continued to work remotely.
Some have resigned due to a disconnect with their workplaces, while a few have done so due to sustained high workloads over months. Others are finding it difficult to manage work-life balance and quite a large number have told their managers that they have introspected and realised that life goals needed to change.
“We, like all organisations, have seen higher attrition levels than in the past. The attrition has been particularly higher among hot skills in technology, risk, assurance and areas such as ESG, especially in junior to mid-level talent,” said Sunit Sinha, partner and head-people, performance and culture, KPMG in India. So far in 2021, KPMG India has come out with “compensation adjustments and a record number of promotions” thrice. Some of the firms including Grant Thornton say the attrition is the result of growth and hiring now taking place to grow service lines.
“We are witnessing around 10% increase in attrition over the 2019 rates but on the flip side, our hiring has been aggressive. We are witnessing a 25% increase from 2019 in hiring numbers. Attrition at the entry level is at a higher level due to family reasons, higher education needs and better opportunities elsewhere which seem to be the most common reasons for leaving,” said Prashant Mehra, partner and chief operating officer at Grant Thornton Bharat. Human resources experts say talented employees are now seeking more than just a salary and a linear career ladder.
“Majority of the working population is now looking at creating wealth, rather than focussing on having a stable income in the form of a salary,” said Rasesh Seth, the founder of Nextyn, an expert network platform. The firms are now going out of their way to stop the resignations.
Firms are trying to extend flexible and hybrid work models.
They are investing more deeply in professional development and offering accelerated career paths.
“Organisations need to build workplaces and cultures that provide tremendous learning and development opportunities to their people and empower them,” said Padmaja Alaganandan, chief people officer, PwC India. Industry trackers say large professional services firms have also started poaching professionals from smaller firms, which is creating a situation where these small firms are finding it hard to hold back employees who are being offered substantial salary jumps.