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Our focus on ethnicity in the workplace

Diversity and inclusion is at the heart of our culture. This year we’ve continued to build on our focus on ethnicity in the workplace.

Setting the scene

This is our third year voluntarily publishing our ethnicity pay gap, a decision we took because we believe a transparent and data driven approach is important in driving action and accountability when measuring change. Our analysis has shown that our ethnicity pay gap is caused by having fewer ethnic minority employees in senior, more highly-paid roles. Progression rates for our ethnic minority employees at all levels is a real area of focus for us and, building on this disclosure, in 2017 we undertook a qualitative review within our business to understand the workplace experiences and challenges of our ethnic minority colleagues, to help us understand what actions we needed to take to ensure our culture is fair and inclusive for all.

Our diversity and inclusion action plan outlines the clear, targeted action we are taking across the business to drive equality and inclusion. This includes career progression coaches for high-potential female and ethnic minority directors.

How we helped

This summer, we held a series of focus group discussions and surveys for our people, to help gauge what progress has been made since our 2017 review, to see how our actions are making an impact and to understand what else can be done. These informal and open sessions covered issues such as career progression and individual journeys, cultural differences, how our ethnic minority people feel included within their teams, and what PwC is doing to overcome some of the challenges we face in recruiting and retaining ethnic minority employees.

One way we responded to our 2017 review was with the launch of our Colour Brave initiative, where we support our people in having informal conversations about race and ethnicity in the workplace. Business units also have inclusion committees, culture champions, inclusive leadership training and reverse mentoring schemes, where people from an ethnic minority background partner with senior leaders, helping to show how people from different backgrounds experience the workplace.

We’re dedicated to working with communities and other groups to help achieve positive change. This year we joined forces with UKBlackTech, founded in 2016 by a group of technology leaders passionate about increasing black and ethnic representation in the UK technology industry, to encourage greater diversity in the technology sector. We hosted insight and networking events aimed at supporting people from all backgrounds to consider a career in technology.

We also have a number of employee networks, including faith networks and the MultiCultural Business Network, who support the business in its responsibility to drive cultural change. This year our MultiCultural Business Network expanded across the country, launching in Belfast, Leeds, Manchester, Bristol and Edinburgh. Each office has held events to celebrate multiculturalism in the firm including awareness-raising presentations, canteen stands and movie nights. In honour of World Cultural Diversity Day, staff members in our Edinburgh office wore clothes reflecting the vibrant colours of their home countries’ flags and hosted presentations with fun facts about the different countries represented in PwC offices.

Other events focused on: the benefits of secondments and seeking out opportunities within the firm; how ethnic minority employees can own their potential and personal brand in the workplace; and tips on how professionals can manage their entrepreneurial interests alongside their day jobs.

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“I was really pleased and impressed that the firm reached out to me to share my experiences as an ethnic minority at the firm.”

Ella Bailey, Manager, Risk Assurance

Making a difference

In this year’s employee survey, over 80% of our people agreed with the statement ‘PwC is an inclusive work environment where individual differences are respected and valued’.

We know that advocacy and investment in development are key to ensuring more ethnic minority colleagues progress to more senior, highly paid roles within our business, so we continue to invest in progression coaches to provide career advice and advocacy specifically for high-potential ethnic minority and female directors. This year we changed our partner income allocation to ensure our leaders who are making a positive contribution to gender and ethnicity targets are recognised and rewarded for making a difference and setting an example.

Hundreds of our people, clients and contacts from outside the business have attended our events focused on ethnicity this year, and five of our people, including our Chairman and Senior Partner Kevin Ellis, were featured in this year’s EMPower Role Models lists, which celebrates the achievements of minority ethnic people and those who are advocates of ethnic minority inclusion in the workplace.

Alongside the surveys and our pay gap analysis, we will be using the feedback from our focus group sessions to take on board suggestions from our people to help us in our journey as we further develop the ways in which we continue to promote inclusion across our business.