PwC’s UK Boss to young employees: ‘AI may replace you, start coming to office 4-5 days a week’

The chair of PwC, a leading accounting firm in the UK, is urging increased in-office time as a crucial factor for the accelerated career advancement of younger employees. This recommendation comes in response to the automation of routine tasks traditionally handled by junior staff through artificial intelligence (AI).
According to a report in Bloomberg, speaking at the World Economic Forum in DavosPwC UK chair Kevin Ellis, emphasized on the importance of face-to-face collaboration and development, advocating for more time in the office for younger employees. Ellis said that AI is “replacing tasks that used to be training grounds for our junior staff.” This shift necessitates finding new ways to accelerate career development. His solution? “More face-to-face collaboration and development through deeper engagement,” which, in his view, translates to “getting people back in the office working together more.”
This stance comes ongoing debates about remote work. Companies are pushing for increased office presence, while employees, after adapting to pandemic-induced remote work, prioritize flexibility. Ellis, however, emphasizes the importance of in-person interaction for career growth, advocating for “four to five days a week in the office” for those seeking career advancement. Ellis said that younger staff in particular should avoid the temptation of working from home. “If you’re asking me my opinion on how you succeed in your career,” he said. “I’d be in the office four to five days a week.”
His comments came as PwC released a report showing that British companies are adopting AI more rapidly than their international peers. 42% of UK CEOs reported implementing AI within the past year, compared to the global average of 32%. Ellis predicts this AI surge will reshape the audit industry, moving away from hourly billing toward “outcome-based fees and licensing of tech assets.”
The survey also highlights a disparity in British CEOs’ perspectives. While optimism prevails for the global economy (60% expecting improvement), domestic growth forecasts seem bleaker, with less than 40% anticipating positive development.
In essence, Ellis’s message highlights the dual challenge presented by AI: while routine tasks become automated, nurturing skills and relationships for career success demands a new emphasis on in-person engagement and development. This shift in work dynamics will undoubtedly require both companies and employees to adapt and redefine their approaches to work and career progression.