PwC shrinks London base

Professional services giant PwC UK is moving out of one of its three major London offices in a drive to base more staff in the regions and implement flexible working.

The ‘big four’ accounting firm, which has 22,601 employees in the UK, will move all staff out of its 150,000 sq ft office at Hay’s Galleria close to London Bridge station next year. These staff will be consolidated into existing bases at nearby More London and Embankment Place, which adjoins Charing Cross station.

“New ways of working and the changing footprint of our clients mean that we no longer need to maintain a third office in London,” said Laura Hinton, head of people at PwC.

“Our investment in technology allows more of our people to work flexibly, remotely, in different locations and at client premises. PwC has major offices at Embankment Place and More London, where we will accommodate all our London staff, and offices in cities across the UK.

“The firm has invested heavily in its property portfolio in the last five years, refurbishing offices - including the Embankment Place headquarters - and moving to new premises.”

‘Regional footprint’

Riverside office and retail complex Hay’s Galleria is owned by Kuwaiti state-controlled property company St Martins Property Corporation and managed by Broadgate Estates as part of its London Bridge City quarter, which also includes More London, No.1 London Bridge and Cottons Centre.

At the beginning of October, PwC sold its smaller 55,924 sq ft office at 10-18 Union Street in London’s South Bank to the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists for around £35m.

In its latest results for the year to the end of June 2017, the company said it was “investing in [its] regional footprint” and that 55% of its 2017 graduates were recruited into roles outside London.

“We’ve moved to new offices in Leeds, Bristol, Aberdeen and Southampton in the last 12 months and are moving to new premises in Birmingham - our largest office outside London - Manchester and Cambridge,” Hinton said.

“We continue to invest in regional centres of expertise and industry hubs to ensure we have the right skills in the right place where our clients are located.”

In Birmingham, it has committed to 90,000 sq ft at Birmingham City Council and Hermes Investment Management’s Two Chamberlain Square, which will complete in summer 2019. In Manchester, it has pre-let 50,000 sq ft at Allied London’s No.1 Spinningfields and will move in next month.

Most recently, it agreed a pre-let with Turnstone Estates and St John’s College, University of Cambridge, on 12,195 sq ft at the Maurice Wilkes building in Cambridge.

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