KPMG commits $25m to pay raises and invests $30m in learning initiative

KPMG Singapore will also pay market-competitive bonuses. PHOTO: REUTERS

SINGAPORE - Audit, tax and advisory services firm KPMG Singapore will raise salaries for the majority of its local workforce of 3,200 people and invest $30 million in a learning programme to improve their skills and knowledge.

The starting salaries for its entry-level professional staff, in particular, will increase by up to 20 per cent, KPMG said in a media statement on Thursday (May 19).

The firm has committed $25 million this financial year to salary increments. It will also pay market-competitive bonuses.

The move by the Singapore office of the global firm, which provides audit, tax and advisory services, comes as demand for quality advisers rises significantly, highlighting the important role that professional services firms will continue to play in the future landscape for businesses.

"Integral to this is the profession's ability to attract and retain top talent within and outside the profession who can solve complex problems and deliver the effective and impactful outcomes demanded by businesses today," said KPMG.

Noting heightened industry baseline standards due to the increasing complexity of businesses, the firm highlighted that deeper sectoral expertise is now needed to meet the evolved tax and audit requirements and widening stakeholder expectations.

Mr Ong Pang Thye, managing partner of KPMG in Singapore, said investing substantially in employees is the firm's way of telling its staff and all stakeholders that it is critical to recognise the importance of professional services, auditors and advisers to the continued functioning of the financial markets.

"With digitalisation, sustainability agenda and global geopolitical tensions, the complexity of problems has doubled - requiring higher precision and foresight, with innovative outcomes to keep enterprises resilient amid uncertainties," he added.

The latest round of salary adjustments comes alongside firm-wide annual increments that are in-step with or ahead of market rate, said KPMG in its media statement.

The firm will also continue to pay bonuses competitively at the market rate despite global geopolitical and economic uncertainties.

In FY2021, KPMG reported annual aggregated global revenues of US$32.13 billion (S$44.6 billion) - a 10 per cent growth in US dollar revenue from FY2020.

KPMG will also invest $30 million over the next five years in a learning programme to improve data and digital literacy, resilience strategy and ESG (environmental, social, and corporate governance) knowledge of its local workforce.

The firm will provide each employee about $21,000 in tuition fees, exam fees and paid study leave, so that audit and tax employees may pursue professional accreditations like the SCA (Singapore Chartered Accountant) and ATA (Accredited Tax Advisor).

To date, the firm has already committed at least $7 million in such sponsorship for FY2022.

It also intends to equip employees with multidisciplinary skills and knowledge to tackle emerging challenges in ESG and digital transformation.

KPMG added that it is doubling its technology investments this year, with the intention of implementing technologies to enhance collaboration at its new office space later this year.

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