The first half of 2021 saw deals worth over $40 billion, retaining the momentum of the previous six months. Private equity investments accounted for a majority of this value.
PwC India has drawn up a new strategy to bring about transformation in a post-Covid environment. The consultancy firm has earmarked an investment of up to Rs 1,600 crore over the next five years in focused priority areas and expects to create 10,000 new jobs during this timeframe and will also increase its campus hires by five times. Chairman Sanjeev Krishan spoke to FE on a range of issues and the road ahead. Edited excerpts:
Tell us about your new strategy and the need for it.
Even before the Covid-19 pandemic struck, the world was experiencing significant disruption. The pre-existing challenges have now been exacerbated, impacting every institution and its ecosystem. However, every challenge comes with an opportunity, and recognising the incredible possibilities ahead, we decided to rethink our business so that we are able to meet our clients’ needs more effectively and support them on their own transformation journeys. The common thread that emerged from our conversations with clients was that in the post-Covid world, every organisation would need to address two fundamental and interconnected realities – building trust and delivering sustained outcomes. This formed the genesis of our strategy. Through our strategy, we are bringing together PwC’s passionate community of solvers, equipped with an even wider range of diverse skills and capabilities, to develop innovative solutions that drive towards new ways of delivering transformation with the right business outcomes.
What does it change for PwC India as a firm, its people and clients?
A key differentiator is our Platform approach – the critical areas where our clients need our support – ESG, Deals, Risk and Regulatory, and Transformation. With our platforms, we aim to provide all-encompassing solutions through an integrated and holistic go-to-market approach. We are driving an increased focus on teaming around these opportunities so as to leverage the full potential of our multi-disciplinary model and provide our client with a seamless experience. We have also identified high-growth sectors and the enabling high-growth segments, and are building our capabilities across these areas. We will also be setting up a research institute to assess emerging trends and support our clients with real-time insights. A key enabler in driving our strategy is our people – our greatest asset. Considering the growth we aspire to achieve, we expect to create 10,000 new jobs at PwC India in the next 5 years and will also increase our campus hires by 5 times. We are committing to invest at least 1% of our revenues on upskilling our people and our partners. In addition, we recognise the need to have diverse talent to meet the future needs of our clients, and we expect to hire more STEM-trained graduates. Underpinning everything we do is our culture of respect and inclusion, and we aim to have at least 40% gender diversity in our workforce over this period. We are creating a workplace of the future which will produce even more value – not just for our firm but also for our people and our clients.
How does the new strategy impact your business priorities?
We are committing to invest up to Rs 1,600 crore over the next five years. Most of this would be focused on priority areas, including our four platforms, capability development and talent hiring across key growth areas, including cloud, digital, cyber, analytics and emerging technologies. The domestic market will also be a huge focus for us – particularly entrepreneurial and private businesses, including unicorns and the wider start-up ecosystem. Our assessment is that traditional technology services will get commoditised soon and there would be a need to drive outcome-based transformation propositions for our clients. While these could be fronted by our Deals, Analytics, Consulting or Risk teams, we would need to have one of the technology areas at their core.
Give us some perspective on the opportunities for consolidation in the corporate sector, post Covid-19.
The first half of 2021 saw deals worth over $40 billion, retaining the momentum of the previous six months. Private equity investments accounted for a majority of this value. Consolidation has also been a continuing trend, with domestic deals accounting for around 43% of the strategic deals recorded. A significant portion of this could be attributed to distressed situations. Simultaneously, expansion of existing capabilities and diversification into new emerging segments have also contributed to the consolidation activity – a trend very likely to continue. From a sector perspective, education (specifically EdTech), healthcare (including pharmaceuticals), infrastructure, renewables, financial services and technology are seeing significant interest.
What would you say is the corporate sector’s employment potential — new age plus traditional industries and companies?
The reforms announced by the government and changes in global supply chains will put India in a sweet spot, along with the large local consumer base. Additionally, our ecosystem capabilities and infrastructure are being ramped up to boost innovation, creating significant employment potential and wide-scale opportunities. We can already see a large number of captives being set up in India and this will be further enhanced with specific government incentives, very similar to the PLI scheme on manufacturing.
How has your stint as chairman been so far? How has the firm changed since you took over?
The last seven months have been a very enriching experience. Dealing with the second wave of the pandemic was particularly challenging. We took every possible step to ensure the safety and well-being of our people, and the strength and solidarity they showed were truly remarkable. At the same time, our clients remained our topmost priority, and we continued to support them through these disruptive times. The faith our clients and people have placed in us will be our driving force in this new chapter we are about to begin. The opportunities that lie ahead are immense, and we are well-positioned to capture each and every one of them.