How diversity and inclusiveness will drive EY’s growth
Being an inclusive employer is a fundamental part of our business strategy and led from the top of our organisation. That’s because the future of our business depends on our ability to provide innovative solutions for our clients, which can only happen if we can recognise and harness the most diverse range of thoughts, experiences, and skills. We’ve worked hard to create an environment where different perspectives and experiences are valued and rewarded. We’re committed to helping diverse talent thrive, whether it’s through our support for working parents, our innovative approach to student recruitment, or targeted action to level the playing field for women and ethnic minorities.
At EY, we aim to go beyond what is required, for example, by reporting on pay gap by ethnicity and gender, and we participate in a number of Government initiatives such as the Equalities Office’s ‘Think, Act, Report’ framework, and HM Treasury’s Women in Finance Charter. We also founded and sponsored the National Equality Standard (NES) in 2013, helping create the UK’s first universal assessment scheme for diversity and inclusiveness (D&I) compliance.
In our day-to-day work, we do all we can to create a culture where people feel they belong. While this drive to create an inclusive environment is overseen by senior leadership, our employees are passionate advocates themselves, for example by running voluntary employee networks dedicated to championing diversity and inclusiveness. As a result, we’ve seen first-hand how working in more diverse teams improves performance and client satisfaction. Our people tell us they’re happier and more productive when they are free to be their true selves at work.
But there is much more to be done. Find out how we’re performing on our D&I commitments and what actions we’re taking to promote change within EY and beyond:
Championing diversity at every level of the business
At EY, every one of us has a responsibility to value and recognise different perspectives. So creating an inclusive environment is something we champion at every level of the organisation. This thinking is sponsored and supported by senior leadership who regularly review progress on our D&I targets, and is further reinforced by a wide range of employee networks founded and managed by employees. We also offer all our people inclusive leadership training – a range of tools and techniques designed to help them build better relationships and teams.
Sponsored from the top
Senior leadership is committed to our ambition to create an inclusive environment – because we know that for real change to happen, it must be driven from the top. Steve Varley, our UK Chairman and UK&I Managing Partner, and Omar Ali, UK FSO Managing Partner, meet with senior business leaders every month to review progress on our D&I targets, and our leaders speak frequently at external events where they call for change at an industry level.
Driven by our people
Our employee networks are founded and managed by our employees at a grassroots level to support a range of needs. These groups are a great way for them to connect with colleagues of similar origin, ethnicity, religion, background or family, and are open to everyone who wants to find out more or show their support. A number of colleagues across the business also actively and independently express their views on a range of D&I topics through blogs and other channels.
Underpinned by inclusive leadership
We believe everyone should have access to the same opportunities for success, so we developed an inclusive leadership training programme which has been rolled out to more than 2,000 business leaders. It offers a range of tools and techniques designed to identify and understand default behaviours, tendencies and unconscious bias, and set personal strategies to improve how the leaders interact with colleagues and clients.
Use EY’s D&I thought leadership app to learn more about how D&I helps business grow inBack to Top
Taking targeted action to level the playing field
We are committed to promoting gender and ethnic diversity across the business, and have introduced many progressive initiatives in the UK to improve the representation of diverse talent and further reduce the firm’s pay gap for both gender and ethnicity. These include our CareerWatch and Future Leaders Programme, which provide high potential female and BME talent with mentoring and sponsorship from the firm’s senior leaders.
In our day-to-day work we do all we can to create a culture where people feel they belong – through a comprehensive range of flexible working options, plus strong support for those with families, our LGBT community and those with different abilities. ‘Unity’, our LGBT network was awarded ‘Star Performer’ from Stonewall, and we were also recognised with a Bronze award by the Business Disability Forum.
Social mobility is important to us too, and we work closely with Access Accountancy to broaden access to accountancy firms for those from disadvantaged backgrounds. We were recognised as one of the government’s Social Mobility Champions in 2016, and listed in the Top 50 Employers for Social Mobility in 2017.
Attracting diverse talent
In August 2015 we removed the requirement for minimum academic standards in our student recruitment process, replacing it with a validated, strengths-based selection process. We also operate a blind screening process where no candidate screening decisions are made based on reviewing a CV, work experience or similar. As a result, applications to our student programmes have increased 75% year-on-year, including applications from state school educated candidates, the first generation to go to university, or those eligible for free school meals and income support.
We have fully embraced the Apprenticeship opportunity and welcomed 200 graduate level (Level 4) apprentices in September 2017.
Our sophisticated recruitment communications strategy features profiles of our people from a variety of backgrounds and promotes these through many channels, including small, targeted agencies and connecting groups, so we can reach and engage with a diverse tange of candidates. Most recently, to encourage greater neurodiversity in our talent pipelines we partnered with several organisations, including the National Autism Society, to raise awareness of EY and the opportunities available.
Our recruitment website gives applicants guidance and support and we are proud of the site’s accessibility, facilitated by working with our employee networks and organisations, such Business in the Community and the Business Disability Forum.
Pay gap reporting
Based on the Government’s methodology set out in The Equality Act 2010 (Gender Pay Gap Information) Regulations 2017, we published our gender pay gap in October 2017, over five months ahead of the government’s April 2018 deadline. Because pay gap legislation is more than a compliance issue for us as a firm, we have also published our pay gap data for ethnicity and incorporated data for our UK Partners. We encourage others to also go beyond the current Pay Gap legislation, to help accelerate diversity in the profession and across business.
Our 2017 Pay gap report is also available. Download pdf.
Holding ourselves to account
We rigorously monitor our performance as an inclusive employer, setting ourselves clear diversity targets across all our people processes, including recruitment, performance management, remuneration, and promotion. For instance, we have committed to double the proportion of female and BME talent in our UK partnership to 40% female and 20% BME by July 2025.
At the same time, EY is seeking to break down the stereotypes that contribute to imbalance within our industry. Our shared parental leave policies aim to make being a working parent gender-neutral, and accessible to all. We are also signatories to the Government Equalities Office’s ‘Think, Act, Report’ voluntary framework, as well as HM Treasury’s Women in Finance Charter.
We collaborate with other organisations to support this work. For example, we helped establish the 30% Club cross-company mentoring scheme for women, which has now touched over 1500 participants from 85 organisations. Through our membership of Access Accountancy, we work with other firms to ensure our work experience and employment opportunities reach students from disadvantaged social backgrounds.And while there is still much more to be done, we are proud to have been recognised for our progress: In 2017 we were named one of The Times ‘Top 50 Employers for Women’ and awarded a Working Families’ Top 10 Employer award.
Helping businesses change
Equality isn’t just something we live and breathe internally; we are committed to building a better working world – through our service lines advising clients on D&I strategy, diagnostics and change and capability management. We also founded and sponsored the UK’s first universal D&I certification for employers the National Equality Standard (NES), now used by a number of leading businesses to understand and improve their D&I practices.
Making it real: LGBT inclusion at EY
EY convened corporate leaders from global companies to discuss the topic of supporting lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender inclusion at work. This practical guide provides an overview of the landscape and leading practices.
Women. Fast forward
Accelerating achievement of gender parity – within EY and in business at large – is an economic imperative that creates higher growth, increased prosperity and stronger communities. Learn what we are doing.
A development programme that pairs high potential female and BME managers/senior managers with partners/leaders in the firm – a sponsor – to help support their career progression. Our ROI review of the programmes demonstrated that participants were more likely to stay with EY and more likely to improve their performance ratings than their male and female peers, and as likely to be promoted as their male peers. The same outcomes appeared to our BME participants.
Future Leaders Programme: diversifying EY’s top talent
This innovative and evidence-based programme is unique in addressing both the individual and the organisational context, making it both a leadership development programme and a culture change programme.
It aims to:
- • Identify, engage, advance and retain our ethnic minority talent to leadership roles
- • Engage wider stakeholders to supports EY’s culture change programme – to became a high performing inclusive organisation
Our people are empowered to choose how, when and where they work. A recent (Oct 2016) survey of our people found that 84% of those surveyed said they work flexibly (a 9% increase compared to 75% in November 2014).92% of people said they feel flexible working is a benefit which improves motivation. Work-life balance emerged as the most valued benefit (84%) followed by reduced travel time (76%), improved well-being (67%) and an increase in productivity (66%).
Positioning parenting as gender-neutral
We harmonised our parental leave policies, including shared parental leave equalising our approach. All parents are offered up to 39 weeks enhanced pay in addition to the statutory entitlement. To date 18% of our fathers have taken shared parental leave, with a further 82% taking paternity leave.
Our EY Family Network parent mentoring scheme, offering parent-to-parent support, was a shortlisted in the Working Families Special Awards 2017.
Creating a culture where different perspectives can thrive
In order to create a workplace that’s truly powered by different perspectives, we offer a comprehensive range of agile working options that give our people greater control over when, where and how they work – in line with what our employees and clients say they want.
In addition to agile working, which 84% of our employees enjoy, we have a range of support options for those with families, such as the EY Family Network for parents and carers, EY Reconnect for those wishing to return to the profession after a career break, and family coaching schemes for those returning from parental leave. As a result, for several years we’ve been named one of Working Families’ Top 10 Employers.
We have also won a number of other awards from organisations such as being recognised by the Business Disability Forum with a Bronze award in 2017. We are also proud to be recognised for our work to support LGBT+ workplace equality.
Flexible working that suits everyone
Flexible working enables high-performing teams and is a key to success in the global economy, – which is why we want EY to lead the way in flexible working for professional services.
We offer a comprehensive range of working options to give our people greater control over when, where and how they work, and a majority (84%) of our employees already work flexibly. This includes working from home, flexible hours, working part-time, or job sharing. A number of our partners have been recognised as Power Part Timers by Timewise, which profiles senior leaders working less than full-time.
Family friendly policies
In addition to flexible working, we have a range of support options for those with families, such as parent mentoring, the EY Family Network and EY Reconnect for men and women re-entering the workplace after a career break.
Career and Family Coaching provides support for all parents taking leave, to help line managers understand their role in supporting successful transitions for individuals and the business. To date, over 2,500 people have participated in the programme.
A leading employer for LGBT+ inclusion
EY has long been a supporter of the lesbian, gay, bi and trans* (LGBT+) community. Our LGBT+ network – Unity – was first formed in the UK in 1995 and has grown since then to have over 600 members in the UK and Ireland and over 4,500 globally in over 77 countries.
We are also proud to be listed as one of Stonewall's Top 100 employers for LGBT+ people in the UK.
Globally we are a supporter of the United Nations LGBT+ Standards of Conduct for Business and provide practical tips for organisations looking to improve their support of LGBT+ workplace equality through our ‘Making it real - globally’ report.
Supporting employee wellbeing
EY is committed to supporting the wellbeing of our people, with a variety of resources and programmes available to promote health, mental health and wellbeing.
Our Bridge the Gap to Success programme is designed to help those with disabilities with professional and career development and develop advocates skilled at fostering a culture of disability confidence, and promote retention of talent.
The programme provides a safe, supportive and challenging learning environment where participants are encouraged to identify their thinking (habits, attitudes, beliefs) and behaviours that are both supporting and hindering the fulfilment of their potential and the achievement of their professional and work goals.
EY is proud to have been awarded Bronze in the Business Disability Forum’s 2017 “Disability Standard” in recognition of our work building a more accessible workplace, and the great work our Ability EY network has done to raise awareness of disability in the workplace.
Domestic abuse support
EY has launched a domestic abuse guide for its 14,500 people in the UK, backed by a new campaign to put employers at the heart of tackling abuse.
“The statistics highlight that there are likely to be a number of people within any organisation who have experienced or are experiencing domestic abuse.
We know that the workplace can often be considered a safe place for those affected by abuse at home, which is why it is so important for employers to create a supportive environment with access to professional help.
By launching a domestic abuse guide with tools and resources provided by Everyone’s Business, we hope to pave the way for other employers and to help ensure those affected by domestic abuse get the help they need.”
Justine Campbell, Managing Partner for Talent, UK & Ireland
As a member of the Employer’s Initiative on Domestic Abuse (EIDA) and corporate partner of UK Says No More, EY launched its guide on domestic abuse to help raise awareness among its people and detail the support routes available. The guide also outlines different forms of abuse, including controlling and coercive behaviour and stalking, to help colleagues understand the experiences of fellow workers that may be affected by domestic abuse.
Detailed within the guide, EY has also introduced: a week of special paid leave for those experiencing domestic abuse; access to an Independent Domestic Violence Adviser and a counselling service for employees; and accredited training for key people around the business to help identify and support people who may need help.
Driving LGBT workplace equality across multiple locations
Examples which have had a positive impact for EY around the globe in terms of diversity and equality.
Flexible working at EY
EY is a champion of flexible working practices, but what does this mean for our people?
Global generations: a global study on work-life challenges across the generations
Our global survey of full-time workers in 8 countries finds that one third say managing work-life has become more difficult, with younger generations and parents hit hardest.
Career and Family Coaching
Our coaching programme provides transition coaching support to all parents taking leave (whether maternity, shared parental or adoption) before, during and after their leave. The coaching extends to their line managers to enable them to understand their role supporting a successful transition for the individual and the business. To date over 2,500 people have experienced the coaching, either while taking leave or as a line manager. A survey of those who received it said it made them feel valued at EY, increased their engagement with the firm, helped maintain their relationships with key stakeholders, and increased the likelihood of them staying with the firm.
Awards and recognition
We benchmark ourselves regularly against other organisations and are proud of our high standards.
But don't just take our word for it. These are just some of the awards and accreditations we have won recently:
We are proud to be one of Stonewall's Top 100 Employers for LGBT people. This list recognises the most LGBT-inclusive organisations in the UK and is a testament to our commitment to ensuring all our LGBT people are able to be themselves at work.
We were listed as one of The Times Top 50 Employers for Women 2017. This recognition reflects the great work the firm is doing to promote gender diversity, and the contribution made by the EY Women’s Network, which gives their members development opportunities and great engagement with our clients and the wider community.
Named one of the UK’s Best Employers for Race in Business in the Community’s inaugural list in 2017. This listing acknowledges employers that are taking a proactive approach to tackling racial inequalities in their organisations; EY was singled out as having an award-winning approach to progression.
EY were awarded Bronze in the Business Disability Forum’s 2017 “Disability Standard” in recognition of our work to build a more accessible workplace, and the great work our Ability EY network has done to raise awareness of disability in the workplace, for example around mental health.
Named one of the 2017 Top 10 Employers for Working Families in recognition of our focus on flexible working, family friendliness and the EY Family Network’s great work.
EY is ranked in the Top 50 Social Mobility Employer Index 2017. This joint initiative between the Social Mobility Foundation and the Social Mobility Commission ranks employers on the actions they take to ensure they are open to accessing and progressing talent from all backgrounds.
EY is one of 11 companies to achieve Social Mobility Business Compact Champion status from the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills. This Government standard recognises employers who are leading the way in opening up the world of work to young people from all backgrounds to improve social mobility.
HM Treasury Women in Finance Charter
Our public commitment is to double the proportion of female and BME talent in our UK partnership to 40% female and 20% BME by July 2025.