Learning, development and succession planning

One of the best ways to attract and retain talent is by investing in learning & development opportunities, aimed at fostering an inspiring, continuous learning environment, which ultimately encourages our people to re-invest in the company. This is crucial for growth, too, as it helps ensure we have the right capabilities, expertise and experience in place to be fit for a future in which we will be adopting new technologies and navigating rapidly changing industries.

We invested EUR 12.7 million in learning in development, compared to EUR 11.4 million last year. The average amount of training hours remained the same: 122[1] . On average, women invested 113 hours in training, versus 128 by men (2021/2022: 116 hours by women versus 126 by men). This is because – in terms of gender –  more men are employed in Assurance and Advisory, where the average training hours are higher, while a greater number of women work in Business Services, where the average training hours are lower. In Assurance, we saw an average of 180 hours per employee (2021/2022: 183), 78 in Advisory (2021/2022: 71), and 20 training hours per Business Services employee (2021/2022: 17). For details on our KPI 'Average number of hours spent in training per client-facing professional in audit' we refer to the section Maintaining quality across our businesses (new window).

For our people to thrive, we are working together to put a strong emphasis with engagement. We also see this as an opportunity to enhance our learning culture, so that it is not solely defined by factual learning, but one that enables our people to immerse themselves in subjects. Annual performance reviews are mandatory for all our professionals including equity partners that were in employment before the start of the yearly performance review process. This does not apply for working students.

We conduct formal assessments to meet regulatory requirements, taking into account learnings following the investigation into answer sharing (new window), but we also continue to move toward blended learning, combining e-learning, workshops and intervision sessions, for example – so our people can further strengthen their critical thinking skills through sharing practices and dilemmas. We are also using blended learning for strategic topics like ESG – including CSRD – leadership, digital, sales, ethics and independence.

For us, training on digitalization and innovation has been a key focus, because we want our people to have access to new technologies, and to be able to use them effectively. We want to make our client services stand out by developing professionals who can combine subject matter expertise with a knowledge of new digital technologies. We have redesigned our mandatory digital MBA for partners and directors to reflect changing requirements and skills needs within the firm, with all participants who have not yet finalized the program expected to complete the new version in 2024. We also welcomed a second cohort of 15 young professionals in Assurance on a new digital & innovation traineeship.

During the year, we launched a new leadership curriculum, invested in clear succession planning and increased our focus on putting every professional’s unique talents to use for the benefit of our clients. At the same time, to attract diverse talents with differing career needs and goals, we are mapping out new career paths, encouraging those who prefer to become deep specialists. This approach is supported by a shift to a more value-add business model, in which new technologies take care of time-consuming operational activities, freeing up our people to focus on more complex matters. We realize this kind of career progression appeals particularly to younger generations entering the workforce, so we are making these opportunities as clear as possible during onboarding. 

  • 1 The average amount of training hours per career level is as follows: 63 hours for partners/directors, 59 hours for senior managers, 77 hours for managers, 113 hours for senior staff and 215 hours for junior staff.