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That being said, last year was a challenging period marked with uncertainty in Luxembourg and around the world. During this time, we hired 726 employees in 2021, which is 13% less than 2020. Our absolute rate of employment dropped slightly to 2,839 employees at the end of the year.
With the remarkable engagement of our people, we eventually managed to realise a very successful year as we pivoted into the "new normal" - particularly (but not exclusively) in terms of remote working and other COVID-19 restrictions. But this also came with a strain on our hard-working people. We then redefined our recruitment strategy with more ambitious targets (1) to accompany this growth, (2) minimise the impact of the high workload on the wellbeing of our people and (3) keep serving our clients the best way we can. We are now well underway to increase our headcount by 10% by the end of 2021, with a priority focus on Assurance and Tax.
We offered active learning and development programmes and endorsed the lessons learned from the ‘forced’ work at home by formalising our policy for the future. Our internal recognition programme made substantial progress in awareness and usage but more importantly, our rewards scheme was upgraded and our overall variable pay-out component increased by 20%. This represented a huge investment in rewarding each and every employee of the Firm who contributed to this incredible growth.
And while we recognise these tremendous efforts in terms of financial reward for the year, we are also looking at multiple ways to have a holistic sustainable approach. For the sake of everyone we have thus embarked on a major shift focussed on Health & Wellbeing - with a key focus point being the avoidance of excessive workload. Our investment in Health & Wellbeing includes training and awareness programmes along with our continued efforts with our learning platform, Vantage, on top of our Digital Upskilling programme. This is a clear testimony to our commitment to develop our people and prepare them best for the future to come. This combines with the provision of different career opportunities, both internally and to a broader scope of candidates with varying educational status and background, and the assurance that the overall "package" for our people is competitive financially and differentiated when taken as a whole.
Core to our contribution to society is the value we bring to our clients, and the opportunities we provide to our People. The results of our business is a key indicator for this.
The fiscal year 2021, spanning from July 2020 to June 2021, has been in all dimensions a very abnormal year. PwC, like the whole business community, has settled into remote working and virtual business conduct for the largest part of its activity. Our financial year was also marked by four major business trends.
Audit Partner, Network Coordination, PwC Luxembourg
Tel: +352 49 48 48 2101