PwC is planning to double the size of its practice in greater Western Sydney over the next two years as the Badgery's Creek Airport development and other state-backed infrastructure projects boost the confidence of local business owners.
The greater Western Sydney business has already doubled in size from 25 to 50 staff since it was established two years ago and now has four partners.
"We've invested in growing our presence in Western Sydney. With significant infrastructure spend in Parramatta about to come online, we want to ensure we are well placed to meet client demand in these emerging economic powerhouses," PwC Australia chief executive Luke Sayers said.
Last week PwC released research showing that one-fifth of the Australia's economic output comes from just 10 locations, with Macquarie Park in greater Western Sydney making the list.
On Monday PwC announced the appointment of 64 new partners from July 1. Among those promoted was Keenan Muir, 31, who shifted from the CBD to the Western Sydney outpost 18 months ago.
"I wanted to make the move out to the greater Western Sydney practice because some of my biggest clients were based here and I saw it as a chance to work with some of the best and brightest people. The government has committed billions of dollars in infrastructure funding for the new airport as well as roads and other projects, and that has delivered quite a confidence boost to the community," Mr Muir said.
The commute from Balmain, where he lives, to the office at Baulkham Hills is worth it for the career opportunities available in the west, he said.
GOING AGAINST THE FLOW
"My future is out here where the opportunities are, and the daily drive is against the traffic anyway. I think there will be a trend for a lot more inner-city professionals to start commuting against the flow".
Another geographic location outside the main hubs of inner-city Sydney and Melbourne exhibiting strong growth for the firm is Brisbane, which gained six new partners.
In terms of business divisions, consulting dominated the 2015 partner intake with more than a quarter of total new appointments. This includes the formal admission of 20 partners who joined the firm through PwC's global acquisition of Booz & Co in 2014, that business has since been re-branded as Strategy&.
Mr Muir is one of six new partners admitted across PwC's growing private clients business. That division last week named BRW Rich-Lister David Smorgon executive chairman of its family business and wealth practice following the acquisition of his consultancy Pointmade.
While at least 30 per cent of new partnerships went to women at the rest of the big four accounting firms in 2015, only 17 per cent of the 64 new partners named by PwC were women.
PwC launched new gender targets for future partner intakes in an attempt to address the imbalance.
"We are absolutely delighted with the talent we have coming through our firm ... However, we are not satisfied with the gender split and we are working very hard to improve this moving forward," Mr Sayers said.
From July 1, the firm will adopt a target to ensure 40 per cent of new partners are women. The firm has also put it in writing that a minimum of 40 per cent of new partnerships must go to men, with the remaining 20 per cent of new partner positions open to both men and women.
The CEO said the firm had taken steps to improve diversity and inclusion, including naming it a strategic priority 12 months ago, instituting a gender pay audit, establishing an all-roles flexible-work policy and appointing an external diversity advisory board.
In a bid to remain competitive in winning work from clients with overseas business interests, the firm has also set targets to improve its cultural diversity. The aim is to ensure 20 per cent of new partners admitted in 2016 identify as coming from another cultural background, rising to 30 per cent by 2020.