Live our culture

Our people are our inspiration. Every day, our multidisciplinary teams bring collective knowledge and insights that enable our clients to solve the world’s most complex challenges.

We are as committed to making PA a great place to work as we are to delivering great outcomes for our clients. It’s why we’ve created a culture that’s collaborative, diverse, inclusive, and rewarding, where our people feel valued and motivated to do their best.

Our success relies on the talents of our people. Our people bring our purpose to life by the way we think, challenge, question, provoke, make, and do. Through the way we each see the world around us - and share this perspective with others to help solve complex challenges. We’re not so much a melting pot of ideas – we’re a mosaic of mindsets.

Giving our people an incredible place to work nourishes this mindset. A place where purpose-driven, meaningful work unites us. A place where variety, support, empowerment, and challenge create endlessly stimulating projects. Work that finds cures for the cruelest of diseases, helps frontline soldiers return home safe to families, and keeps plastic out of landfills and oceans.

Yet meaningful work starts closer to home too. Our growing PA in the Community volunteer programme, and the support we give to The PA Foundation, allows our people to create tangible change. Developing and inspiring the innovators and leaders of tomorrow by working with some of the communities on our own doorsteps. It feels good to give back. And the benefits to individual personal growth are far-reaching.

PA people are passionate about championing personal growth, recognising individual success, and helping one another build the careers they want with fewer barriers. Leadership training, learning, and development take many forms at PA, but what stands out from other firms is the opportunity for our people to hone their craft amongst a diverse talent pool responsible for an enviable variety of work including many world-firsts.

It’s more important than ever that we empower everyone to be their best selves, while fostering a sense of community and belonging. And so, we press forward with embedding inclusion and diversity into the bedrock of our culture, working harder towards gender parity, and expanding our networks and communities to ensure our people thrive personally and professionally.

We take doing the right thing very seriously – not just for our people but for our business. Ambitious sustainability targets, ethical supply chains, dependable financial resilience. Our purpose guides and galvanises us to do business for better so that we can continue making PA an incredible workplace with extraordinary people.

At PA, it’s the spirit and energy of my colleagues that brings out the best in what I do. I get to come to work and be surrounded by a highly ambitious team who are warm and supportive in equal measure.”

Meaningful work

Purpose-driven, meaningful work means using our innovation and expertise to create a world that’s safer, healthier, more prosperous, equitable, and sustainable than before.

It’s work that resonates with us on both a personal and professional level. The projects and people we remember long after things are complete. Like our work with Duchenne UK when we created a pioneering wearable assistive device prototype for sufferers of Duchenne muscular dystrophy. We didn’t just invent a new product – we‘re helping to change the narrative around disability and inclusivity.

It’s also the projects with a potential to change the face of businesses and society for the better. Like our Blister Pack Collective, gathering leading consumer health and fast-moving consumer goods businesses to accelerate progress towards a world free of single-use plastic in tablet packs. And our partnership with the WeProtect Global Alliance to uncover and educate policymakers and the public about the scale and scope of online abuse of children.

Meaningful work embodies inspiring future innovators and leaders. Our annual PA Raspberry Pi Competition generated more than 200 entries from schools across the UK, and twice the number of finalist winners than in previous years. The theme of our 2023 competition was ‘Accelerating the energy transition’ and saw all teams deliver impressive work that impressed a judging panel comprised of 29 industry leaders from organisations such as NHS England, Network Rail, Coca-Cola, Pret, National Highways, Danone, Southern Water, Rolls-Royce, BUPA, and the UK’s Royal Navy.

Ingenuity is trying to come up with clever and insightful solutions that aren’t just for invention’s sake, but bring new ideas and thoughts that will deliver solutions that are meaningful and solve real problems.”

Exceptional careers

Being invigorated by the diverse, meaningful work we do creates positive energy, which fuels our unique career paths. It helps us to bring our best selves to work, and propels us forward towards personal and professional goals.

I don’t think I appreciated how much variety there would be here. I expected the diversity of sectors, but not the diversity of scientific challenges. How many people can say they’ve worked on the Blisterpack Collective to eliminate single-use plastic, quantum sensing, and machine learning in the same year?”

Our culture is complemented by a wide range of formal learning and development programmes, which we’re proud to see grow year-on-year. These include our flagship sponsorship Women in Leadership programme and PA Reverse Mentoring programme.

Part of the promise we make to our people is the opportunity for growth – to develop skills, knowledge and behaviours that support the development of their careers. From revitalised onboarding in 2023 and relaunching our Partnership Leadership Programmes, to launching a new Digital Apprenticeship programme and the first of our AI Academy courses with over 500 sign ups.

In 2023, we also kicked off 25 new Learning Pathways and saw 7,644 participants globally attended a virtual learning event, with many hundreds also attending face-to-face learning events.

Growth needs equitable opportunities. It’s important we continue to keep finding better ways to build a place that empowers everyone to thrive, meet their potential, and advance their careers through purposeful work. This includes targeted recruitment and leadership development to increase the representation of women and those from ethnic minorities in more senior roles and embedding inclusion and diversity in performance, succession, and pipeline planning. For experienced hires in our digital capabilities, we are also piloting a new competency assessment framework, candidate scoring matrixes, and new technical tests for candidates.

Celebrating purposeful work is an important part of raising people’s profiles and professional growth. Whether that’s through our in-house monthly Purpose Awards or nominating our experts for top industry awards. Award winners this year include the team behind ARinject being recognised in the Drug Delivery & Device category at the prestigious CPHI Pharma Awards, our Public Services Innovation Accelerator team, and our Springboard team.

Caring, inclusive teams

Creating a safe place for people to be themselves, do meaningful work, and look after their health and wellbeing is imperative. A caring and inclusive workplace encourages our people to find their inner authority, trust each other, have a voice and feel heard, so that we can become active allies for positive change.

A central pillar to enabling this supportive culture continues to be our growing communities and networks. A sense of belonging builds stronger teams. In addition to our well-established networks, including our Mental Health and Wellbeing Network and our award-winning Women in Tech Network, we created two new networks: our Working Families Network, and our Accessibility, Neurodiversity, and Disability Network.

We prioritise building an inclusive culture where every voice is valued and every perspective is respected.”

We also recently launched new faith groups within our Racial Inclusion & Social Equity (RISE) Network - helping to improve our understanding of key issues, as well as introducing many more important and joyful festivals we can share together with colleagues. These vibrant and inclusive networks offer members invaluable opportunities, including mentorship and support, as well as drive awareness and collaboration beyond the communities to enrich every corner of our organisation.

The physical and mental wellbeing of our people remains paramount. Throughout 2023, we helped our people look after many different aspects of their wellbeing – including emotional, physical, financial, social, and career-related wellbeing. From monthly get-togethers and special talks from inspirational guest speakers organised by our wellbeing champions and network, as part of our #LifeAtPA programme, to weekly wellbeing walks and a mindfulness session to mark World Mental Health Day. We continue to build on our wellbeing strategy, events, and toolkit to empower and support our people to look after themselves.

Support for our communities

Building a positive human future extends to the communities in which we live and work. PA people, and The PA Foundation, share a goal to ‘develop and inspire people, particularly those facing disadvantage, to be the innovators and leaders of tomorrow’.

Through our PA in the Community Programme and by supporting The PA Foundation, we not only provide additional opportunities to get involved in meaningful work that impacts others, but the personal impact to volunteers is also far reaching. Giving back not only strengthens our collective purpose, but it builds compassion, understanding, and fresh perspective that enhances our client work and professional relationships.

Our team of volunteers grows every year – from those who help support immigrants and refugees to gain employment, to others who coach ex-prison offenders to help prepare them for future interviews. Some of our brilliant volunteers even go back to school – getting involved with education initiatives that help break down limiting beliefs among disadvantaged students to inspire the young leaders of the future. Through the fantastic work of PA people, who volunteered over 21,168 hours of their time and expertise to support our charity partners in the last year, we have amplified the work of The PA Foundation, which distributed £2 million funding.

Bringing topics to life about climate change and the energy crisis, debunking myths, and helping others understand the impact they can make gets me out of bed in the morning. Working with schools – particularly those in economically deprived areas – is absolutely key for me.”

Responsible business

Our purpose is a way to do business for good and our corporate responsibilities are tightly intertwined into building a positive human future. The bar is set high, and we continuously find ways to get better at what we do and how we do it. We want our people to thrive and our business to prosper. This means frequently assessing our ethical responsibilities to ensure fairer treatment of our people, gender parity, and promoting social mobility through recruitment. To improve how we collect data on our people, we introduced a new HR system in 2023 which, combined with deep-dive analysis, is already informing our new gender, ethnicity, and recruitment strategies.

Throughout 2023, we continued to uncover and accelerate ways to safeguard the planet securing us various industry awards for our expertise in sustainability. For Earth Day 2023, our staff volunteered 1,000 hours across 11 projects focusing on the environment across our global offices. We also launched our new teaching workshop on plastics in partnership with The Economist Educational Foundation together with a PulPac resource to use across our future community outreach.

We have led the conversation on with our research and thought leadership. And worked across industries to drive change. With the Ministry of Defence UK Space Command, we brought together academics, government stakeholders, the wider space industry, and sustainability experts to explore the challenges and opportunities for space to protect our planet.

By living our purpose, creating partnerships with our clients based on insights, that deliver a lasting impact, all underpinned by a culture we live by, and clients feel, we look forward to another year of bringing ingenuity to life, to build a positive human future.”

Contact the team

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