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Sharon Bell - National Executive Director of Talent, PricewaterhouseCoopers

Sharon Bell
'PricewaterhouseCoopers is one of the largest professional services firms in Australia. One of the key things that we look for is the diversity of the people that we bring in.'

As the National Executive Director of Talent for PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), Sharon’s role is to develop recruitment strategies to attract graduates and experienced professionals into the firm. She also manages the international secondment program for staff wanting to work in other PwC offices around the world.



What type of work is available at PwC?

PricewaterhouseCoopers is one of the largest professional services firms in Australia. This means that we can offer people a broad range of career opportunities in our audit and accounting areas, as well as tax and legal consulting and our advisory division, which provides advice to clients on areas such as organisational structures, mergers and acquisitions, technology and systems.

Do you have a graduate recruitment program?

Yes, we have a comprehensive recruitment program where graduates apply for a position with us through our website. Our program consists of interview sessions where graduates get an opportunity to meet with our Partners and staff. There are various selection activities, which include one-on-one interviews, and our Conquest day, where graduates get the opportunity to work in teams on practical exercises that look at their teamwork, problem-solving and analytical skills.

What about any work experience programs?

We have a vacation program where we take university students in for several weeks during the summer vacation. It’s an opportunity for them to work with the practice and see what we’re all about.

What type of skills do you look for?

One of the key things that we look for is the diversity of the people that we bring in, but obviously it’s very important that anybody who comes in can build relationships with clients and work in teams. We go out on to campus and share information about the firm. We invite graduates to information evenings and get them to meet people, which starts to establish those relationships.

What makes an application stand out?

Anything that shows they’ve got out there and tried to develop themselves. It could be they have gained some work experience through voluntary or part-time work, or they had pursued other interests at the same time as studying. They could be leading one of the university groups or leading a team at school. We really do look at part-time work. It doesn’t have to be anything too glamorous, but any work shows they want to achieve.

What will get an application rejected?

If it’s difficult to understand. If we can’t look at an application and understand what the candidate is trying to put across, it is more likely to be rejected. We receive so many applications that a well put together, articulate application which is well presented will stand out from the others.

What sorts of opportunities are there inside the firm?

Our business is changing all the time, so there are new areas and new services we’re offering. Advisory is one of our newer areas, so there is some growth happening there. As soon as you’ve completed your postgraduate qualification – for example, the CA program or Masters of Tax – we have a formal secondment program. Graduates can nominate themselves to go on a domestic or international secondment. About 20 per cent will go on the program. Our international secondment is from eighteen months to two years.

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