Reward and benefits

Reimaging reward for the new world

The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on organisations and their people has been unprecedented and has caused many organisations to rethink and evolve their workforce, workplace and operating model.

More than ever, organisations are being challenged to meet the talent demands to support the return to sustainable growth, are under pressure to effectively manage reward and benefits costs, and maximise the return on the overall investment in human capital.

In this new world where people are motivated to work for companies who are purpose-led, yet facing a future that is less defined, organisations still need to ensure that their reward and performance framework supports this and remains aligned to strategy.

It is therefore critical for organisations to take a fresh look at their total reward and performance strategy to ensure it aligns with any new and evolving workforce strategies.

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Making executive pay work: The psychology of incentives

There is an emerging consensus, at least in Western economies, that there is something deeply flawed about the current model of executive pay. Executive pay has risen dramatically over a period when, in hindsight, the Western economic model has not been at its most successful. Surely something must be wrong?

Organisations are finding their approaches to reward and benefits - and the behaviours they drive - under the microscope from stakeholders, regulators, the media and prospective recruits. Understanding the impact of these evolving forces on the competitiveness of reward is increasingly difficult.

And while reward may be one of the reasons why people work, it is not the only reason. That is why PwC’s approach considers reward as part of the broader management ecosystem – including: pensions, leadership, performance management, global mobility and business strategy.

How we can help

Businesses continue to face unprecedented structural change, where reward and employment considerations form critical issues.

We work with our clients to understand their people’s reward and benefits; supporting them from the design to implementation of cost-efficient compensation and benefit plans; that:

  • are designed to support the attraction, engagement and retention of key talent,
  • help drive individual and collective discretionary effort,
  • and align reward, performance and business strategy.

We work with organisations to make their programmes more effective through:

Executive Compensation

The motivation and retention of executives to implement corporate strategy is vital to an organisation's success. In this specialism, we aim to help companies build a credible executive remuneration policy to achieve this objective. We have considerable experience in helping our clients balance an appropriate remuneration policy companies with shareholder considerations whilst balancing the intricate governance considerations. In practice, our help involves understanding the company strategy and then designing and modelling remuneration policies and plans to drive a positive outcome for all stakeholders.

  • Incentive plans (local and global)
  • Performance metric selection and calibration
  • Reward modelling and valuations
  • Board advisory and corporate governance
  • Remuneration reports and disclosure
  • Best practice, regulatory, governance and investor views

Reward and Performance

We support clients in designing their total reward strategy and creating future-fit reward structures for the wider workforce. Greater workforce diversity plus changes to ways of working and technology means that new models are increasingly required. In addition, the underpinning infrastructure of performance management is also evolving to support the development and progression required by today’s fluid and competitive talent marketplace.

  • Total reward strategy
  • Reward transformation - including communication and change management
  • Reward and recognition
  • Research, data analytics and benchmarking
  • Fairness reputation and governance - including diversity and inclusion

Sales Incentives Plans

We work with clients to develop sales compensation programs tailored to their business’s unique needs and culture. We help clients assess and identify gaps in their current sales plans, design effective incentive plans and facilitate plan roll-out with the right communication.

We provide a structured, analytical approach to:

  • Understand the organization’s goals and business objectives
  • Align to desired behaviors for each job / sales role
  • Conduct market competitive pay assessments
  • Differentiate performance levels and align pay for performance
  • Enable consistent, transparent and simple plans


A key way to drive success for many employers is facilitating shared ownership via employee equity schemes. However, using equity requires careful design, communication and ongoing management to deliver the desired alignment and incentive impact, as well as the tax, accounting and legal consequences. We support clients in creating new schemes, increasing their tax efficiency, managing cost and navigating the impact of organisational change on any type of employee equity arrangement.

  • Tax, accounting and legal advice
  • Incentive plan design and target-setting
  • Share plan reporting, disclosures and regulatory compliance
  • Advice on employee share trusts and share plan administration
  • Communication and implementation support
  • Maturity events and corporate transactions

Transactions and deals

Assess the reward and the related tax impact of deals, including pre and post deal, buy and sell side, initial public offerings (IPOs) and divestments.

  • Reward due diligence, including deal support, compensation and benefits, functions and processes, workforce, employee relations, regulatory considerations
  • Reward pre-close services, including hidden reward costs, synergies, benefits, pensions, incentives and payroll
  • Reward post-close services, including reward and performance, stakeholder engagement and communications, technology and data & analytics

For more information, visit our global people in deals page here.

Employment Taxes

We support clients across the full spectrum of employment tax obligations. The administration of these can be complicated and fraught with risks. Now, even “traditional” employer organisations are becoming increasingly complex and cross-border, and new business models are also on the rise, with an increasingly non-traditional workforce mix that includes ‘gig’ talent and other contingent workers. Our employment specialists help to guide clients every compliance requirements, helping them to seek out commercial and strategic advantages while doing so.

  • Tax, regulatory and accounting advice
  • Tax disputes
  • Mitigation of risks
  • Tax filings for equity and benefits

For more information, visit our global employment taxes page here.

Benefits and retirement

We work collaboratively with our clients to support them in understanding the key drivers and objectives for their retirement and benefits. We combine this understanding with our industry, pensions and regulatory experience to help create a retirement and benefits strategy which aligns with our client’s overall business strategy.

  • Expenses and benefits - compliance and valuation
  • Health and welfare benefit services
  • Benchmarking of pay and benefits
  • Retirement strategy
  • Assurance
  • Risk transactions
  • Investment strategies

Reward optimisation and employee preference

We work with clients using technology based platforms and our market experience to determine what employees value, their preferences, expectations, and identify value gaps. We help clients design bespoke surveys based on their specific goals, perspective and constraints, interpret results, provide training on technology tools, extract actionable insights, and develop and implement action plans. This support delivers tangible results to our clients on:

  • Developing total reward strategies;
  • Cost management of reward;
  • Retention, engagement, and employee performance;
  • Use of alternative work arrangements;
  • Benefits policies and optimisation; and
  • Employee well-being.
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Contact us

Andrew Curcio

Joint Global Leader, Reward and Benefits, PwC Australia

Tel: +61 3 8603 1685

Christine Randazzo

Joint Global Leader, Reward and Benefits, PwC United States