“We want to be the No. 1 place for talent in Australia and globally,” said Dorothy Hisgrove, KPMG’s national managing partner, people and inclusion.
“And I don’t think you can be the No. 1 for talent if you’re not prepared to actually say what your whole employee value proposition is, what you’re paying people to market to ensure that they know that they are being paid competitively.
“I think the other thing I feel is really important around transparency is that it does help you retain the great people that you have. It also does act as a talent attraction mechanism.”
Accelerated career ‘incredibly important’
The firm has shaped its pay and benefits package based on market research and staff feedback, Ms Hisgrove said. Other key benefits the firm offers include 26 weeks of parental leave, the ability, in certain circumstances, to work remotely for an extended period and quick promotion through the ranks.
That “accelerated career trajectory is incredibly important” to the firm’s staff and allows them to get more responsibility at a younger age and a diversity of work experience.
“It always has been the case in our management consulting practice, but increasingly, we’re speeding people through based on their skills and experience,” Ms Hisgrove said. “Our people are progressing relatively quickly, and being promoted before they even get to the midpoint for the [rank].”
She noted that more than 60 per cent of KPMG staff were promoted a rank before they had reached the midpoint of typical experience for that rank in the firm’s most recent promotion cycle.
“I think that tells you just the speed with which we move people through, which is a key point of difference for KPMG,” she said.
The staff pay rates between the three firms are difficult to directly compare and vary by typical experience.
In consulting, KPMG minimum pay for graduates is less than PwC and Accenture. But after two years, a KPMG senior consultant would get more than the equivalent rank at PwC.
At senior levels in consulting, Accenture employees tend to earn more base pay at an earlier stage than they would at PwC and KPMG.
Ms Hisgrove said pay transparency was also a key lever in closing the gender pay gap.
“Just from a personal perspective, because I’ve been trying to close the gender pay gap for many, many years of my career, I genuinely do believe that it does help to remove those gender pay inequities,” she said.
‘Our pay gap has reduced significantly’
“Because women in particular can look and see just like anybody else, then you know what people are earning across the firm, and our pay gap has reduced significantly this year. I think it’s on the back end of us doing much more transparency around salary setting and explaining to our people actually how we set the remuneration.”
KPMG has previously revealed that on a like-for-like basis, men and women are paid virtually the same. However, male staff are paid almost 14 per cent more on average than female staff, and male partners are paid almost 17 per cent more on average than female partners. The variations are because men make up more of the senior ranks within the firm.
Other experts also agree that pay transparency helps close the gender pay gap and have called on advisory firms, along with private sector companies, to reveal details about staff pay.
Rival Deloitte has confirmed to The Australian Financial Review that it intends to disclose its pay rates. EY has made limited pay disclosures to staff for the pay rates confined to their specific geography and business.
Ms Hisgrove said KPMG was constantly researching salary rates to ensure its rates were competitive.
“So what we do is actually look to about 10 benchmarking surveys in market, and we make sure that the rates are aligned with market data and that we’re paying according to the market,” she said.
“There are other things that we look at as well, of course, like economic factors, geographical location, cost of living. What you’re seeing today is the Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra numbers because that represents the market where most of our people are in.”