His words have been described as “far too blunt” and “insensitive” during a global pandemic. 

Bill Michael, the Chairman for KMPG UK, has been criticised after he told employees to “stop moaning” about working conditions during the pandemic.

The meeting was a place for employees to talk about how COVID-19 was impacting their working lives. Allegedly, many workers brought up issues surrounding pay cuts and changes to their pension contribution.

Another problem which was raised was the internal ranking of team members’ performances where staff within a team were ranked from best to worst.

According to the Financial Times, this is when Mr. Michael told around 500 employees to “stop moaning” and to “stop playing the victim card”.

However, after receiving several complaints from staff, Mr. Michael then went onto apologise for his choice of wording on the call.

He then echoed this sentiment in an email sent to KPMG employees. In a statement to the Financial Times, Mr. Michael stated:

I am sorry for the words I used, which did not reflect what I believe in, and I have apologised to my colleagues. Looking after the wellbeing of our people and creating a culture where everyone can thrive is of critical importance to me and is at the heart of everything we do as a firm.

One staff member criticised the comment, saying:

If someone tells you to stop moaning in the middle of a recession and when people are dying, that tells you everything. It’s incredibly insensitive.

A spokesperson for KPMG revealed that the company had put various support measures in place for their staff during the pandemic which included a special type of leave that allowed employees to take off unlimited time to care for family and friends.

Last week, KPMG revealed that Mr. Michael’s pay had fallen to £1.7 million in light of the pandemic, down from previous amounts which stood at £1.98 million in 2019.

This, they stated, along with pay cuts in partners’ salaries, would help to protect jobs and the continued hiring of graduates and employees during this period.






Monica Sharma is an English Literature graduate from the University of Warwick. As Editor for HRreview, her particular interests in HR include issues concerning diversity, employment law and wellbeing in the workplace. Alongside this, she has written for student publications in both England and Canada. Monica has also presented her academic work concerning the relationship between legal systems, sexual harassment and racism at a university conference at the University of Western Ontario, Canada.