PwC 2011 Annual Report - Diversity - Transcript


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Sarah Churchman
I think a lot of people, when they think about diversity they tend to think about underrepresented groups or minorities and that's fair. But our shift over the last few years has really been to focus on the inclusion and the importance of inclusion to embrace diversity and that means working with everybody in the organisation. So since 2005 we've been conducting bias awareness training for our partners and all of those involved in talent management decisions and processes. But this year we've really shifted that to a concept of being open-minded and really asking our people "How open-minded are you to difference?"

We know that winning in the marketplace and delivering value to our clients is all about our ability to put before our clients a high-performing, diverse team made up of people who bring fresh insights, different thinking styles, different experience and that kind of experience, those insights, don't come from a homogenous group. So diversity is definitely not a 'nice to have', it's actually business critical to our ability to win in the marketplace.

We've been really focussed on delivering diversity by embedding it into our talent management agenda. So this means looking at who we're bringing into the organisation from graduate recruitment right through to partner admissions, who we're identifying as high potential, who we're promoting in the organisation and who's retiring or leaving the organisation. So by embedding diversity into every stage of talent management we know that we can aim for proportionately to ensure that all of our processes are fair to all.

Where we identify some hotspots based on our analysis of our talent management processes we tend to target our actions there. So a good example of that is our Women's Leadership Programme which has run for four years now going into its fifth year. And this is a programme for our high potential female directors to support them in their ambitions and their aspiration and in the Firm's ambition to admit more women to the partnership. And that programme has been hugely successfully. Externally it was recognised by Opportunity Now a couple of years ago and this year, I'm delighted to say, that five of the women who have made partner have actually been on that programme in the past so that's great news. Also new for this year we have implemented an initiative for our high performing female partners with a view to bringing more of our female partners through to leadership and senior roles within the Firm. So we've got a number of our female partners being mentored by members of our Executive Board. But this is more than just mentoring, this is a two-way relationship so that our Executive Board members too can better understand this organisation and what it's like to be female at PwC. And that programme's working really well. Two of those female partners have now been appointed to our UK Executive Board effective from 1st of July so that's a great success.

I think the firm has a great track record on diversity. Our people like what we're doing and indeed our efforts have been recognised externally as well. I think we're frustrated however with the pace of change because this is all about culture change. So what the UK firm has done is set itself some targets and is quite open about these targets and indeed Ian and his Executive Board will be sharing those targets with our leadership and encouraging all of our leaders to set themselves local targets so that we can really begin to move this agenda forward at some pace.