Some major industries are freezing, trimming or axing headcount to cope with the impact of the downturn but Big Four professional services firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) offers a study in contrasts. Far from laying off staff, the firm has a clear-cut policy to keep hiring and will maintain its plan to expand. The target is to take on up to 2,000 recruits for the mainland, Hong Kong and Singapore practices this year. And a big part of that will be to present the latest 'offerings and opportunities' at the 5th CPA Australia Career Market Day from 10am to 3pm in the Grand Ballroom of the Conrad Hotel in Pacific Place today. 'We are always keen to be part of these events,' said Dave McCann, HR partner for PwC. 'For us, it is about building brand awareness among candidates and potential hires, and letting people know we are committed to our recruitment programme.' The firm will stick to the pattern of recent years of being on the lookout for graduates, qualified personnel and interns, and emphasising that, in the accountancy field, there is always a market for quality people, whatever the state of the economy. The corporate strategy is therefore to focus on the long term, eschewing short-sighted expedients, and to be in good shape for the next upswing. With that came a commitment to training and continuing education, Mr McCann said, which helped to create a unique corporate culture. Specifically, the firm sought to promote flexibility and an open approach in the workplace. It also stressed the importance of collaboration and the need to enhance the value of relationships with clients and colleagues. The mainland will be among the first areas to see a strong recovery so PwC is making special efforts to attract people with a Chinese background plus relevant skills and experience. This initiative would continue through its international offices, notably in the United States, Europe and Australia.