Diversity, high education standards and quality office space at affordable prices in Cardiff have helped to fuel the rapid expansion of professional advisory firm Deloitte in the capital, says its senior partner for Wales, Wayne Harvey.
Through its delivery centre and core Welsh practice, Deloitte’s workforce in the city will reach 1,000 this summer and by 2023 the number could grew further to 1,500.
Addressing a meeting of Cardiff Breakfast Club, Mr Harvey said: “We currently have 930 people, with 720 in our delivery centre and 210 in the core Welsh practice. That makes us the second largest office behind London in the Deloitte UK network. And if you look back eight years ago we had a total of around 145, so we have had a great deal of growth, which has been fantastic.”
He added: “We will be beyond a thousand this summer. And we should grow over the next three to five years, although with disruptive technology who knows what is around the corner, to hopefully up to around the 1,500 mark.
“We are offering great careers and opportunities. And it is not just us, but others as well in Cardiff’s growing and vibrant financial and professional services market.”
Deloitte currently operates out of three offices in the city centre, at Callaghan Square, Fusion Point and 6 Park Street, where its delivery centre team are based.
Mr Harvey said at present there were no plans to bring all its offices under one new HQ roof in the city centre.
He added: “At the moment we are contributing, through our salary bill, just over £25m to the economy of Cardiff. That is a meaningful sum of money. We have 48 apprentices recruited and that is a first step by us into the apprenticeship market. And a big thank you to Cardiff and Vale College for the support they have given us with that programme.
“Those apprentices come in at either 16 or more likely 18, so they are not coming in through a traditional graduate route. That is extremely attractive and very fruitful for us.”
Its delivery centre includes a team of technologists looking at robotics and automation. Mr Harvey “That has been very useful for us as a UK firm as we have effectively sold out some of that output across the globe to other parts of the Deloitte organisation.”
The centre has a wide range of language skills to business standard and whose employees include two former funeral directors and three stand up comedians.
The centre’s business intelligence services offer, started four years ago, has also expanded rapidly. Mr Harvey said; “It now has a team of around 70 people. And the interesting piece there is that we have more than 55 different languages, which is fantastic for us and clients.
“We don’t have every language in the world, but we have a wide range at business standard. And that has proved really attractive to the large multinational companies.
“So, if for example, we have a client that is looking at putting an oil well in Kazakhstan, Borneo or Mexico, we can look at the geographical, financial, legal and environmental issues, but also cover off the language ones too.
“And it has been relatively straightforward to get those language skills locally, due to the diversity of the Cardiff.”
On the decision to expand in Cardiff, which was sealed four years ago following an internal competitive bid against other Deloitte locations, Mr Harvey said: “I had to go to London and argue with a variety of people at a senior level as to why Cardiff was better than Belfast potentially Glasgow and Edinburgh, and Prague, while we also we had to debate India.
“The fact that we have a high quality talent pool here, good quality and value for money office accommodation, and last but not least great technology, was important. There is a lot of creativity in Cardiff and south Wales, particularly around cyber and cyber risk , but generally around software skills too. And that has been very helpful.”
He added: “We have also got one in nine of the adult population either in higher or future education in Cardiff, which is about 38,00 students.
“And the interesting stat for me is that is the highest ratio in Europe. Perhaps people don’t realise that, but Cardiff has a great heritage in higher and future education and that is continuing.
“Cardiff has a history as a port and in international trade, which means that it has a cosmopolitan approach to life. And it is quite a young market.
“So it is a very young and vibrant place. And if there is one message I have got, is don’t forget how good Cardiff and the wider south Wales environment generally is to live and work in. I don’t think we are proud enough of it.
“It is world class if you look at some of the studies and reports. And that was certainly helpful to us in making the decision to build the group here, as well as the support of the Welsh Government.”
Mr Harvey said that advances in technology and data, provided both threats and opportunities to the wide financial and professional services sector, where those who were both technological disruptors and collaborators – which may appear on the surface to be contradictory – will be best placed for success.
He added: “90% of the data that we have in the world has been gathered in the last 24 months. So, two years ago, we only had 10% of the data that we now have.
“That is phenomenal and that is only going to grow exponentially. So, providing you have the right hardware and can collaborate with the right people, you can grow off that quickly and do lots of things with it. And that is certainly at the core of what we want to do at Deloitte.
“To us it adds real value to clients, but also enables us to hopefully gain a competitive advantage.”
Cardiff Breakfast Club is sponsored by Effective Communication, the Western Mail, Lloyds Banking Group, Stills Branding and Blake Morgan.