PwC to create over 6,000 jobs with new regional consulting HQ in Riyadh

PwC to create over 6,000 jobs with new regional consulting HQ in Riyadh
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Updated 23 September 2021

PwC to create over 6,000 jobs with new regional consulting HQ in Riyadh

PwC to create over 6,000 jobs with new regional consulting HQ in Riyadh
  • PwC predicts its Riyadh HQ will attract other global firms to the Kingdom
  • The firm will also open a Digital Centre in the Saudi capital

RIYADH: PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) Middle East will build a new regional consulting headquarters in Riyadh, hiring more than 6,000 staff in the region over the next five years.

“We will be establishing the regional consulting headquarters in Riyadh, where it will be based in KAFD [King Abdullah Financial District],” Riyadh Al Najjar, KSA country senior leader, told Arab News. 

Al Najjar said the new base would dovetail with the Vision 2030 growth plans across the Kingdom, allowing the professional services group to help clients take advantage of opportunities that arise.

“We wanted to ramp up our presence in Saudi Arabia and show our continued commitment given the massive transformation happening across the government and support the execution of Vision 2030 as it happens,” he said, adding: “I think our presence in Saudi, from an HQ perspective, can attract other global firms to be in Saudi and enhance the business environment."

He also said the firm was encouraged by new Saudi regulations that welcome international firms to the Kingdom.

PwC Middle East strategy & markets leader Stephen Anderson also told Arab News that the strength of the Saudi economy as it emerged from the pandemic was encouraging.

He said: “Coming out of the pandemic, the transformation we have seen in Saudi Arabia so far, which has been remarkable, is only going to accelerate.”

The Kingdom’s second-quarter economic data showed growth of 1.1 percent quarter-on-quarter. The oil sector grew by 2.5 percent quarter-on-quarter on the back of the unwinding of the 1 million barrels per day voluntary output cut that lasted from February to April. 

PwC’s Al Najjar said the firm was focused on government Giga projects that are key to the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 growth plans.

Major projects in this scheme include the $8 billion Qiddiya Entertainment city, launched in 2018. The 8,400-acre site will include a theme park, water parks, motorsport tracks, cultural events, and holiday homes. 

The government has earmarked tourism as a priority, and PwC is working closely with clients on initiatives around this industry, according to Al Najjar.

Consulting Market

The consulting market size will continue to grow in Saudi Arabia, given the fact much of the Vision 2030 investment will require global expertise and people on the ground to help the government achieve its goals, Al Najjar said. 

“The consulting market in the GCC shrank by 12.4 percent to $2.68 billion in 2020 due to the global pandemic, however, it is expected to grow by around 17 percent in 2021,” he said citing The GCC Consulting Market 2021 report in March by Source Global Research.

“The Saudi market in particular fared best in the GCC during the pandemic only contracting by 11 percent in 2020, and is expected to grow by 19 percent by the end of 2021,” according to the report. 

Al Najjar added: “There is no doubt that Saudi from a regional perspective, with all of the Giga projects and all of the transformation that is happening across the sectors, is a huge market for us in PwC and is a significant one for the Middle East.”

Anderson emphasized the resilience of clients in the Middle East region during the pandemic who quickly adjusted to the health crisis. 

“During the pandemic, many of our projects continued and the quality of our work and delivery was as consistent remotely as was the case physically,” he said.

Anderson forecasts that growth will even continue beyond 2030 with “the ambition, the amount of change and transformation in place, which will only demand more service.”

“I think the pandemic introduced new strategies that reinforced and accelerated the Vision 2030 plans,” he said.

Anderson added that there are around 1,500 partners and staff based in Saudi Arabia, over 40 percent of whom are Saudi nationals, and the group has plans to significantly boost this ratio.

PwC has operated in Saudi since 1979, and has five offices in Riyadh, Jeddah, Al Khobar and Dhahran, and will soon launch a new base in Al Ula.

PwC "The New Equation"

PwC Middle East welcomed over 120 new graduates to its Saudi Offices in September as part of its regional graduate intake of around 326, with the boost in its hiring a result of its new global strategy, "The New Equation", the company said in a June 15 filing.

The number of recruits hired in Saudi Arabia represents 37 percent of the total regional intake, with around 90 percent being Saudi nationals. 

New graduates took part in a virtual induction attended by regional PwC leaders, and will now join the firm’s Middle East units such as consulting, assurance, deals, and tax & legal services, the company said. 

Anderson said: "We have close to 1500 people on the ground in Saudi. Our presence on the ground is giving us the confidence to invest and grow and we will be placing more people in Saudi over the next 12 months and beyond."

PwC is committed to hiring over 500 new graduates each year, and provides them with training and qualifications.

Al Najjar has been in consulting in Saudi for almost 30 years and said PwC is committed to local talent development programmes, such as Hemam, which recruits and develops future Saudi leaders in the firm, he said.

Anderson added there is great demand for Saudi talent from the public and the private sector. 

He said the firm saw it as its job to retain the best, but also to equip talented leaders working in those areas.

As part of its New Equation plan, PwC Middle East will also focus on digital, emerging technologies and Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) concerns.

This includes further investment in digital services through strategic acquisitions, emerging technologies, and establishing additional experience centres in the region, and an ESG centre of excellence.

ESG and Digital Centre

Al Najjar said: "From a Saudi perspective, this is absolutely the right time to look into ESG, as a key pillar of Vision 2030 is improving the quality of life.” 

PwC will establish a Digital Experience Centre in Riyadh, according to Anderson. 

Al Najjar said: "In these centres we combine our capabilities with the best of our technology from around the world to provide opportunities to our clients to collaborate, dream and co-create with us.” 


Islamic Development Bank announces its final issuances

Islamic Development Bank announces its final issuances
Updated 16 sec ago

Islamic Development Bank announces its final issuances

Islamic Development Bank announces its final issuances

RIYADH: The Islamic Development Bank of Saudi Arabia has announced the price of its second and final issuances as part of its plan to mobilize financial resources.

The Saudi Press Agency reported the final price of issuance instruments by the bank was SR6.3 billion ($1.7 billion), due to five years of annual returns by 1.435 percent, as a part of the bank medium-term instruments program of SR93.7 billion ($25 billion).

The President of the Islamic Development Bank, Muhammed Sulaiman Al-Jassar, said he wanted to "thank investors" for trusting the institution during the recovery from the pandemic.


Private equity giants Blackrock and Blackstone will attend FII5: CEO

Private equity giants Blackrock and Blackstone will attend FII5: CEO
Updated 3 min 47 sec ago

Private equity giants Blackrock and Blackstone will attend FII5: CEO

Private equity giants Blackrock and Blackstone will attend FII5: CEO

Blackrock and Blackstone, two of the world’s leading private investment management companies, will be attending the fifth anniversary of the Future Investment Initiative (FII), the foundation’s chief executive officer said in a press conference on Thursday.

Richard Attias, IFF’s CEO, also added that Africa will occupy a big place in the event, with presidents of Rwanda and Gabon attending, as well as several African speakers and leaders.

The head of the organization indicated that out of the 5200 participants registered for FII5, 70 percent are from Europe and North America.

Chinese attendees will be small in number because of the 3-week mandatory quarantine, but about 50 speakers from the country will be contributing, he added.


Goldman Sachs, Freshfields working on possible Porsche IPO: Manager magazin

Goldman Sachs, Freshfields working on possible Porsche IPO: Manager magazin
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Updated 24 min 37 sec ago

Goldman Sachs, Freshfields working on possible Porsche IPO: Manager magazin

Goldman Sachs, Freshfields working on possible Porsche IPO: Manager magazin
  • Goldman and Freshfields both declined to comment.

 Investment bank Goldman Sachs and law firm Freshfields are among advisors working on a possible listing of Volkswagen's luxury unit Porsche AG, manager magazin reported on Thursday, without saying where it obtained the information.


Goldman and Freshfields both declined to comment. Volkswagen had no immediate comment.

People familiar with the matter had told Reuters in May that the Porsche and Piech families, who control largest shareholder Porsche SE, are prepared to take a direct stake in Porsche AG should the luxury carmaker be separately listed.


Asked about the idea of a Porsche listing, talk of which has surfaced regularly in recent years, Volkswagen Chief Executive Herbert Diess in July said that while the company continued to review its set-up its battery ramp-up was the priority. 


Oil hits multi-year high above $86, then pulls back

Oil hits multi-year high above $86, then pulls back
Image: Shutterstock
Updated 35 min 26 sec ago

Oil hits multi-year high above $86, then pulls back

Oil hits multi-year high above $86, then pulls back
  • The price of Brent has risen over 60 percent this year

Oil hit a three-year high above $86 a barrel on Thursday driven by tight supply and a global energy crunch, although prices eased as some investors took profits on signs the rally is looking overstretched.


Helping to drive the latest gain, a supply report from the U.S. Energy Information Administration on Wednesday showed crude and fuel inventories tightened, with crude inventories at the Cushing storage hub falling to a three-year low.

Brent crude rose as high as $86.10, the highest since October 2018, but by 1155 GMT was down 92 cents, or 1.1 percent, to $84.90. U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude fell 74 cents, or 0.9 percent, to $82.68.


"Traders who had set $86 as their selling threshold took the opportunity to already pocket some profit," said Louise Dickson of Rystad Energy. "Oil prices took a dive as a result."


The price of Brent has risen over 60 percent this year, supported by a slow ramp-up in supply by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and allies, and a global coal and gas crunch which has driven a switch to oil for power generation.


Oil also came under pressure from a drop in coal and natural gas prices. In China, coal fell 11 percent on Thursday, extending losses this week since Beijing signalled it might intervene to cool the market.


"With coal and gas prices easing and with the relative strength index technical indicators still in overbought territory, the odds of a sharp, but material fall in oil prices are rising," said Jeffrey Halley, analyst at brokerage OANDA.


Even so, some analysts are calling for oil to rally even more as OPEC+ is likely to stick to its plan for gradual output increases while demand is expected to reach pre-pandemic levels.


Rystad said the outlook was bullish for the rest of the year and Giovanni Staunovo of Swiss bank UBS said in a report he expected Brent to trade at $90 in December and March.


Ryanair not sure it will hit 12.5% 2030 sustainable fuel target

Ryanair not sure it will hit 12.5% 2030 sustainable fuel target
Getty Images
Updated 59 min 59 sec ago

Ryanair not sure it will hit 12.5% 2030 sustainable fuel target

Ryanair not sure it will hit 12.5% 2030 sustainable fuel target
  • O'Leary said he was concerned that increasing use of sustainable aviation fuels could have an upward impact on food prices

Ryanair is not sure it will reach its "very ambitious target" of powering 12.5 percent of its flights with sustainable aviation fuels by 2030, Group Chief Executive Michael O'Leary told CNBC television on Thursday.


But he said Ryanair, Europe's largest low-cost airline, was confident of reaching at least 10 percent and called for the European Union to set a similar target.


"The European Union has set a target of 5 percent of sustainable aviation fuel by 2030," O'Leary told the television station. "We think we can do better than that – I think we'll get to 10 percent."


"Whether we can get to 12.5 percent, I'm not sure, but I know if we don't invest in the research and that technology now, we certainly won't get there," O'Leary said, referring to a target Ryanair set in April.


O'Leary said he was concerned that increasing use of sustainable aviation fuels could have an upward impact on food prices.