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9 Important Pros And Cons Of Working At PwC

Working at a prestigious and giant corporation like Price Waterhouse Coopers is a double-edged sword. There are many benefits and a myriad of opposing challenges. What are the main pros and cons of working at Price Waterhouse Coopers?

The main 9 pros of working at PwC are:

  1. Strong reputation
  2. Lots of female talent
  3. Talent and network
  4. See the world!
  5. Wider social networking opportunities
  6. Project based
  7. Corporate social responsibility
  8. Opportunities for growth and advancement
  9. A comprehensive benefits package

The 9 cons of working at Pwc are:

  1. Limited work variety
  2. Long work hours
  3. High pressure work environment
  4. Meticulous level of detail
  5. Limited work life balance
  6. Competition for promotion
  7. Slow decision making
  8. Extensive travel
  9. Lower starting salaries

In this post, I’ll take a look at:

  • The most important 9 pros of working at PwC
  • The biggest cons about working there
Price Waterhouse Coopers in London
Price Waterhouse Coopers in London

9 Pros Of Working At Price Waterhouse Coopers

1. Strong Reputation

The prestige of PwC is immense! There is serious kudos for being attached to this megalith of a global firm.

PwC has developed this reputation of excellence over many decades. They work with many of the largest corporations in the world, including many of the Fortune 500.

PwC works with some of the following companies:

Goldman SachsFinance
Bank Of America Finance
Johnson and JohnsonPharmaceuticals


2. Female Talent

Opinion is slightly divided on this issue, but I have heard from several sources that PwC is quite cutting-edge in actively recruiting female talent.

They were ranked in the top 50 employers for women. (Source)

They are actively attempting to appear diverse across many areas, and this is just one manifestation of this.

However, I did see an article in the Financial Times that questioned is PwC and KPMG were getting left behind in this department by the rest of the Big 4 (Deloitte and EY). So the jury is still out. (Source)

3. Talent And Network

I’ve heard from several ex-PwC employees that the biggest draw about working there was the opportunity to network with amazing and talented co-workers.

Of course, PwC is obsessed with excellence, and they recruit from the highest achievers in the academic world.

Many employees have a sense of purpose or mission. This is often displayed in both their working life and outside.

PwC employees are generally:

  • Switched on
  • Highly motivated
  • Talented
  • Engaged

4. See The World!

It’s kind of up for debate how you see this one, but I’m going to list it as a pro!

Travel is a big part of the life of the majority of PwC employees. As a corporation with clients all over the globe, both short and long excursions are tied up in the day-to-day operations.

Think business travel. This is living out of a suitcase and having all your time allocated to work when you get to your destination.

There is very likely very little time for sightseeing.

But if a life of working on planes and trains and hotels is good for you, then PwC is a good fit.

5. Wider Social Networking Opportunities

I’ve heard that PwC places a higher emphasis on social networking in its branches than other members of the ‘Big 4’.

Think of things like:

  • Sports clubs
  • Social gatherings
  • Fantasy football leagues!
  • And other stuff kinda like that

6. Project Based

Pretty much all work for Big 4 firms takes the form of Projects.

For many people this is great! You get the chance to really get stuck into one project at a time.

Project work helps you:

  • Meet and work with new people
  • Really get fully engaged in a task
  • Learn multiple new skills in each project

7. Corporate Social Responsibility

PwC talks a lot about this in their public relations work. Corporate Social Responsibility is defined by Investopedia as a ‘self-regulating business model that helps a company be socially accountable to itself, its stakeholders, and the public…companies can be conscious of the kind of impact they are having on all aspects of society, including economic, social, and environmental.‘ (Source)

PwC is very aware of its ethical footprint.

They think about how their operations impact society in a whole host of ways, and, just as importantly, look for opportunities to promote how they are doing this.

8. Opportunities For Growth And Advancement

This is a biggie!

PwC is a massive corporation, with offices in 152 countries, and global employees numbering 328,000. The scale of their operation is diverse and enormous! (Source)

There is a lot of opportunity to move up the career ladder rapidly. There are also multiple career paths available.

Successful candidates could potentially be moved into different sectors or geographic locations.

They also offer a comprehensive level of professional development opportunities.

Because of the complexity of the operations offered by Deloitte, they offer a variety of career paths and many opportunities for professional development.

9. Comprehensive Benefits Package – Particularly As You Move Up The Ladder

Although starting salaries can often be lower than those of smaller rival firms, there is no denying the significant level of remuneration possible as you work your way up the ladder.

PwC offers comprehensive benefits packages, including:

  • Health insurance
  • Retirement plans
  • Flexible time off
  • Partners are often paid in excess of $1,000,000
Skyscrapers in Donau City, Austria

9 Cons of Working at Price Waterhouse Coopers

1. Limited Work Variety

One thing I’ve heard employees say is that you can get pigeonholed if you work on a successful project or two.

Because they have such a vast client base, many of their clients will have similar needs. PwC employees may find themselves doing very similar projects over and over.

2. Long Hours

There is no getting around this one!

All companies try to portray the impression that they value work-life balance in the modern age, but in reality, working at PwC is going to be demanding!

There is an intense and adrenalin-fueled schedule, and be prepared to put the hours in.

PwC employees report that they regularly work:

  • Long hours
  • Some weekends
  • Some holidays

3. High-Pressure Work Environment

It’s no surprise that working at PwC is also highly pressured.

You are working with some of the biggest corporations in the world, and so your skills and decisions will potentially have an enormous impact.

Learning to deal with stress and the intensity of the job is a central challenge.

4. Meticulous Level Of Detail

This is one you might not have thought of. And it may not be a problem for many people.

Here’s the issue – when you carry out projects, you will be required to write a report. These reports go into serious detail. Think ten appendices kind of detail.

A large proportion of your time is spent on tiny details rather than working on the most impactful issues.

5. Limited Work-Life Balance

However much PwC might like to promote the fact that it supports a work-life balance – let’s get real for a minute!

Work is stressful and involves long hours, and is highly competitive. Most employees struggle to find a good quality work-life balance.

Work is intellectually engrossing, so you will often be left with reduced energy for things such as:

  • Family
  • Leisure time
  • Hobbies

6. Competition For Promotions And Recognition

Everyone who works for PwC are high-achievers, and they all want to make progress in some form or another.

Competition is therefore extremely fierce. It’s dog-eat-dog!

Only about 4% of employees will go on to be Partners (the highest position in the firm).

So working life is a continual struggle.

7. Bureaucracy And Slow-Decision Making

Apparently, because PwC is such a large and complex organization, it can take longer for them to make decisions, and there can be extra layers of red-tape.

This can be frustrating, and quite different from working in a more boutique firm.

8. Extensive Travel

I know I know! I’ve included this as both a pro and a con.

A bit of a cheat really.

But travel is either a pro or con depending on how you look at it. It’s very much in the ‘eye of the beholder.’

Just be aware that it is going to happen! But why do PwC employees travel so much?

Well, largely it is for the following reasons:

  • Meet with clients at their locality
  • Assess the business systems and processes of clients at their location
  • Attend training events
  • Audit businesses

Many PwC employees travel at least every other week, and some spend more than half of their time in their client’s locations.

9. Lower Starting Salaries

With all the reputation and prestige comes an element of sacrifice.

One of the big ones is that opening salaries are often lower with ‘Big 4’ firms than smaller or more boutique firms.

Most employees see the bigger picture, however, and understand that the possibility of greater riches is down the line, but must be earned first!


  • Will Bennett

    Will Bennett is a Cambridge graduate. He worked as a Consultant and Senior Consultant at Boston Consulting Group (BCG) in London. Will is the Founder of The Cambridge Consultant.