Simon Collins, Chairman, KPMG in the UK discusses Inclusion Week 2017.
It is nearly a century since women were granted the right to vote and 50 years since homosexuality was decriminalised in the UK, but social inclusion remains as big a news agenda item today as it was then. In the last year, we have seen the theme of inclusion dominate global stories such as the election of a new US President and the impact of Brexit on how individuals view each other within society.
This week KPMG in the UK has celebrated our annual ‘Inclusion Week’ which incorporated a number of different events across our offices designed to inspire, educate and engage our colleagues and clients in our inclusion agenda.
Inclusion is a vital element within our own business at KPMG. Our employees value inclusion as it helps them to work together, share knowledge, and above all bring their whole selves to work. Our clients value inclusion as it helps them collaborate with a diverse group of people who bring a broader spectrum of views to the table. And the communities we work with value inclusion as we increasingly refine our recruitment processes to ensure they include individuals from all walks of life.
During my chairmanship, the firm has made great strides in building a truly inclusive culture. In particular, we have worked hard to develop programmes across recruitment and career development to ensure we are attracting a broad group of people into our firm and supporting our existing colleagues. This began in 2014 with the introduction of firm-wide diversity targets to give us clear and representative goals on gender, disability, sexual orientation and ethnicity. Targets are, of course, meaningless without efforts to change culture and behaviours. Alongside our targets, we therefore also introduced our inclusive leadership strategy to educate and guide our people, giving them personal responsibility for creating a work environment that values differences in thought, perspective and experience.
We also launched our GROW programme in 2014, to help diversify the next generation of leaders. The programme supports LGBT, disabled, female and BAME colleagues as they navigate their careers. By way of example, we provide coaching using career progression conversations with managers and leaders.
I am particularly proud of our KPMG 360o apprenticeship scheme, which focusses on improving social mobility by targeting school leavers who wish to enter the professional services industry. We have hired some fantastic people since the scheme started two years ago.Our apprentices have already brought so much to our firm, bringing fresh perspective and energy.
We also learned that elements of our previous graduate recruitment process risked deterring some potential applicants, particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds. Using feedback from our graduates we overhauled the way we recruit, introducing Launch Pad, a streamlined process which combines the traditional three stages of first interview, assessment centre and final interview into a single day in order to attract a wider pool of applicants. Launch Pad is an industry first and we are already receiving fantastic feedback from both the graduates who came through this process and the teams they have joined.
While at times it may be slow, we are making progress. We have more women at executive level than ever before, increased diversity in partner promotions, and most importantly, we have a senior leadership team who are committed to inclusion and diversity. Our people and our clients are clear that our commitment is led from the top. However we recognise that there is still much to do.
Recent news headlines illustrate how we are facing especially uncertain times: forces of change are fundamentally reshaping the markets we serve and society as a whole. Now, more than ever, we must work hard to include a broad mix of society. This is not just a social imperative, it makes good business sense.
For further information please contact:
Angela Pink, Communications Executive KPMG
T: +44 (0) 207 694 2679