“We already spend a lot of time and money and focus [on increasing diversity], and yet we’re not making the progress that we want to, so we feel like we need to be disruptive,” says Julie Sweet, CEO of Accenture, North America, about the reasons for the more detailed disclosure.
The data too shows that the upper echelons of the firm are predominantly in the hands of white men: 69% of the firms executive are men and 63% of them are Caucasian. The results highlight that bottlenecks appear not merely for women, but also wider diversity groups. The company further revealed that it employs 1,450 people with disabilities and 1,000 veterans – the latter is set to increase to 5,000 by 2020.
The aim of the disclosure, according to Sweet, is to show where the company is now, on its longer journey to a more diverse workplace. Accenture can now be held accountable to its stakeholders regarding changes in the figures – the firm plans to release updated figures yearly. Sweet too hopes that, by making the figures public, a discussion can take place within the firm towards finding ways to encourage a more diverse workspace.
Over the past years, Accenture has launched a number of programmes to improve diversity within its ranks, including more paid parental leave, investing $840 million globally into professional development as well as focus on LGBT inclusion (Accenture is regarded as one of the top LGBT employers in the US).
“When I took my new role as chief executive of North America, I had this realisation that with 48,000 and a $14 billion business I had a real opportunity to make change – and I feel a deep sense of responsibility,” Sweet says. “I personally feel I will have failed if I do not make progress toward making us the most inclusive and diverse workforce in the US.”