The importance of investing in people

As KPMG celebrates its annual inclusion week, Anna Purchas, head of learning at KPMG in the UK, discusses why investing in talent is a priority for the firm

From 13-17 March, at KPMG we are celebrating our annual inclusion week though events across our UK offices designed to inspire, educate and engage our colleagues and clients in our inclusion agenda. Equipping our people to be more knowledgeable, tolerant and collaborative is a key priority for KPMG, and embracing diversity is a vital part of this.

I joined KPMG 24 years ago, and if I’m honest, expected to leave after qualifying, or maybe after an international secondment. I’ve stayed because I’ve relished the learning opportunities, as well as working with great colleagues and great clients. KPMG really does value its employees, and because of this we get the best from our people – we are proud to say they are our best asset.

Part of my current role – for me, one of the best parts – is the responsibility for our student programmes, including our school leaver and apprentice intake. Over the last couple of years we have revamped our entry level recruitment offering and put a greater focus on attracting the best talent from all walks of life. We introduced our KPMG 360⁰ apprenticeship scheme back in 2015, and last year we enhanced our graduate recruitment offering with the introduction of 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 and retain the best talent.

We’ve opened up entry routes in to our firm in a way we’ve not done before, and taking people in straight after they leave school or college means recruiting a more diverse range of talent is easier.  Our learning programmes are carefully designed to give our students the skills, knowledge and confidence they need to reach their full potential – and our learning culture empowers them to drive their own careers.

However, learning isn’t just a priority for those starting out in the firm. We recognise that agility is key for all our people in today’s fast changing, technology driven world and thus our learning – whether formal training or through collaboration and on the job – reflects the need to accelerate competence and give immediate access to knowledge. All our people deserve the opportunity to reach their full potential.

Empowering our people is great for KPMG and great for our clients – the broader diversity of experience and thinking helps us be best prepared to address our clients’ changing needs. And it’s great for our students too – they get the chance to gain market leading qualifications in finance and technology, work experience on their CVs, and a network which allows them to go anywhere they want in the business world – no matter what their background.

Anna Purchas is head of learning at KPMG in the UK.

Related reading