KPMG outs itself as firm that must address diversity imbalance

KPMG outs itself as firm that must address diversity imbalance

Big Four firm in drive to improve diversity profile

KPMG has admitted that the class, gender, ethnic and sexual orientation of it staff does not reflect the make-up of wider British society or its client base.

And in order to begin addressing the oversight, it has unveiled a detailed diversity profile of its 11,500 staff. The Big Four firm also announced targets over the next three years to benchmark itself and recruit and develop its workforce accordingly. The firm says it now has the most detailed set of targets of its industry group.

Simon Collins, KPMG’s UK chairman (pictured) said: “The diversity profile of the workforce across the professional services industry does not reflect society or our client base. We need to change and I believe a crucial part of achieving a meaningful shift is providing more transparency of the make-up of our current staff against where we would like to be. It’s uncomfortable but we need to step up and be open and honest about the challenges we face. Greater transparency means we can be scrutinised against the targets we set ourselves. It means we can test the success of our inclusivity programmes and demonstrate that we are serious about this issue.

“We certainly don’t underestimate the scale of the challenge we have set. For example, we need to double the number of female audit partners to hit our gender target. Our overall numbers on ethnicity are good but, for example, we know we need to do much more to support black professionals as less than 1% of our partners are black.”

Currently, just 15% of its partners and less than a quarter (23%) of its directors are female, against 2018 targets of 25% and 36% respectively. Senior managers – the potential directors and partners of the future – fare better at 36%, with a three year goal of 46%.

Significantly more work needs to be done with its black professional intake, with less than 1% of its partners hailing from that profile, against a target of 2.2% by 2018. Just 1.2% of its directors are black (2018 target – 4.4%), while 2% of its senior managers are against a 4.1% objective.

Its profiling revealed that only 1.2% of its workforce is disabled (2.8% target), while 3% declared themselves as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (4.1% goal).

Stephen Frost, KPMG’s head of diversity and inclusion said: “We are determined to have the best visibility of our staff’s diversity profile within our industry. In July, we asked our staff to complete a diversity profile, which included race, gender, disability, sexual orientation and education levels. We are now confident that we have the best understanding of our staffing mix, comparable to public sector organisations which have led the way historically.

“In positive news, 93% of the firm completed the form on a voluntary basis but there’s still work to do. For example, a meaningful number of people are unwilling, or feel they are unable, to disclose their sexual orientation.”

KPMG has also announced the promotion of 102 directors, swelling that tier’s rank to 871 – a 13% uplift on 2013. A fifth are female.

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