Press release

20 Jan 2022 London, GB

EY selects Manchester to launch its first Neuro-Diverse Centre of Excellence in the UK

Manchester will be one of thirteen locations around the world to have an EY Neuro-Diverse Centre of Excellence (NCoE), alongside Philadelphia and Boston.

Press contact
Ellie Gorton

Associate, Communications, Ernst & Young LLP

Supports internal and external communications across the North region within the UK. Creative storyteller, baking enthusiast and avid podcast listener.

  • Manchester will be one of thirteen locations around the world to have an EY Neuro-Diverse Centre of Excellence (NCoE), alongside Philadelphia and Boston.
  • The first phase of recruitment has completed, with plans to hire up to 100 neurodivergent individuals based out of the city over the next 3 years.
  • Based on the experience of EY in the US, when compared to their colleagues, neurodivergent employees excelled at innovation.

Manchester, Friday 21 January 2022: EY is set to open its first Neuro-Diverse Centre of Excellence (NCoE) in Manchester, to fuel innovation in technology, bring a new dimension of creativity, and drive greater diversity and inclusion in the UK workplace.

While EY continues to learn from the contributions of its current neurodivergent employees, the NCoE is designed to create a supportive working environment for individuals with cognitive differences - such as autism, dyslexia and ADHD – that will help them to apply their strengths and meet clients’ business needs in emerging technologies, such as: artificial intelligence, data analytics, automation, blockchain and cyber.

Globally, EY already has six NCoEs in the US, three in Canada, one in India, one in Poland and one in Spain, with further expansion plans into Europe, South America and Asia Pacific.

The Manchester NCoE will draw on the experience of EY’s US practice, which opened its first NCoE in Philadelphia in 2016, spearheaded by Hiren Shukla, who is now EY’s Global and Americas Neuro-Diverse Centre of Excellence Leader.

Manchester was selected as the first location in the UK based on the quality of local tech talent and the level of community engagement in the North of England.

Stephen Church, Manchester Office Managing Partner and North Markets Leader 

said: “I couldn’t be prouder that EY has selected Manchester and the North of England to locate the NCoE, recognising the innovative spirit in the city and the strength of the community we have locally.

“We have joined cities around the globe that are opening-up the world of work to neurodiverse individuals, whilst offering local businesses largely untapped talent to help fuel their growth in ways they haven’t imagined before.”

Recruitment

The Manchester NCoE will officially open this month with a founding team of six technologists, which includes individuals with cognitive differences such as dyslexia, ADHD, and autism. These professionals will join existing EY UK client teams of nearly 2,000 professionals across the North of England working in consulting, intelligent automation, data analytics, cybersecurity, assurance, tax and more. Applications will open again in 2022 for more roles as the NCoE grows.

EY already adapts its recruitment processes and working environment to support the talents of neurodivergent employees. The NCoE will be a further step in progressing diversity and inclusion for neurodivergent individuals.

The hiring, training, and onboarding process has been further customised in the UK, following EY’s US example, which included: shifting from a behaviour-based interview process to a performance-based one; hiring and training is done so in small groups; and orientations are offered in advance for candidates to familiarise themselves with the workplace before starting their new roles.

Alison Kay, EY’s Managing Partner for Client Service in the UK & Ireland, says: “Just 22% of autistic adults are in any kind of employment in the UK, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS). Yet, neurodivergent individuals are typically highly proficient in some of the ‘in-demand’ skills of right now, and in the future. EY’s UK Neuro-Diverse Centre of Excellence will help harness some of these skills, boosting innovation for our clients and our own business.

“Over the last two years we have seen more than ever, the importance of purpose in business and the role that employers can make in helping to drive social change.

“We want to create a highly supportive working environment for all of our people, and I hope our UK NCoE will encourage others to lead with purpose and challenge their own talent strategy, to help transform the employment prospects of neurodivergent individuals.”

Innovation

Catriona Campbell, EY’s Client Technology & Innovation Officer, UK&I, who will lead the UK Neuro-Diverse Centre of Excellence comments: “Harnessing the exponential power of neurodiversity will enhance the service we provide to our clients.

“For instance, in the US, we measured the impact on innovation, by comparing the work quality, efficiency, and productivity, generated by neurodivergent and neurotypical professionals. Quality, efficiency and productivity were comparable, but the neurodivergent employees excelled at innovation. The diversity of thought and creativity they brought was a differentiator.

“I’m very proud to be leading EY’s UK Neuro-Diverse Centre of Excellence and welcoming a team of super talented professionals. I have already received messages of great support from our people at EY and in the market, many of whom know how such an initiative can change lives.

“We hope to emulate the success of our US NCoE’s, which have inspired an ecosystem of organisations that share our purpose in Manchester and the North of England.”