Eight professional service firms among UK's Best Employers For Race

27 November 2017 Consultancy.uk 8 min. read
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The charity ‘Business in the Community’ has listed eight professional services firms as among the UK’s top employers for race. Accenture, Bramwith Consulting, Capgemini, Mott MacDonald and the Big Four of KPMG, Deloitte, EY and PwC were all present in the ranking.

Diversity is one of the top priorities of human capital in the business environment today. Board-level inclusivity is increasingly seen as important for a healthy business strategy. Meanwhile, workplace diversity could add as much as $12 trillion to the global economy, according to several studies.

The ‘The Best Employers for Race 2017’ list was designed to showcase best practice on race equality in UK workplaces, and was established from the Business in the Community charity’s Race at Work Survey of 24,457 employees across the UK. It followed the recommendations made in the McGregor-Smith Review of race in the workplace earlier this year.  In order to make the grade, organisations had to evidence that they were putting leadership on race into place within their organisations, creating inclusive workplace cultures and taking action in at least one of three areas - leadership, progression and recruitment. They also had to be able to demonstrate the impact of these policies on BAME employees. The listing is unranked and includes 65 public and private sector organisations listed in alphabetical order who collectively represent the best employers for Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) people in the UK.

The Best Employers for Race 2017

In the list of ‘The Best Employers for Race 2017’, eight consulting firms are among entities in Britain performing above the national average when it comes to inclusivity in the workplace. Among those named were specialist recruitment and search firm Bramwith Consulting, who focus on the Procurement and Supply Chain markets, Capgemini, who are presently celebrating their 50th year in business, and Mott MacDonald, who earlier this year launched a new diversity and inclusion plan for their human resources strategy.

Ben Riley, Director at Bramwith Consulting said of his firm’s inclusion, “We pride ourselves on our diverse workforce, having a strong BAME representation from trainees right up into our management team, as well as a cosmopolitan team of multiple nationalities, a strong gender mix and strong representation of other minorities… As a recruitment business, we are also proud to partner with several other of the other Best Employer for Race Listed businesses and look forward to continuing to help them to hire the very best procurement and supply chain professionals.”

Frances Duffy, Capgemini UK HR Director, meanwhile stated, “We are committed to hiring, developing and progressing talented people from any backgrounds, and to foster a culture where everyone who works for or alongside us feels welcome and respected whatever their race or ethnicity… We believe diversity and inclusion are at the heart of a successful workplace; we continue to strive for an environment where everyone feels valued, included and empowered.”

Big Four and Accenture

The firms were joined by the entirety of the professional services world’s Big Four. Deloitte, KPMG and PwC, who all ranked among Indeed’s 2017 top 25 companies to work for in the UK, were accompanied by EY. The firm recently voluntarily released data showing it had cut its ethnic and gender pay-gaps over the past year.

KPMG in the UK’s Head of Inclusion and Diversity, Kirsten Fox, said, “Whilst we are extremely pleased to receive this ranking, we know there is much more to be done to ensure barriers to both entry and progression are broken down for all employees regardless of their background. KPMG is committed to promoting the importance of a diverse workforce in order to push the conversation around equality at work forward, and recognition such as this helps to enable us to be a true magnet for all talent.”

Accenture - Bramwith Consulting - EY - KPMG - Deloitte - Capgemini - PwC - Mott MacDonald

Accenture were also named on the unordered ranking, with the firm also named as a finalist in the Progression category of Business in the Community’s Race Equality Awards 2017, based on the success of its Accelerate programme – a combination of classroom-based courses and ongoing support which provides Accenture UK’s black employees with access to development, reverse mentoring, coaching and sponsorship opportunities to aid their career progress. To date, almost 300 black employees have benefited from the programme.

“Accenture has a global ambition to be the most inclusive and diverse organisation in the world”, said Payal Vasudeva, Executive Sponsor for Human Capital and Diversity at Accenture in the UK and Ireland, adding, “The  business case for diversity goes beyond it just being the right thing to do. It is also fundamental to business success as it drives innovation and productivity which in turn boosts company performance. Ultimately we should all strive to be businesses that are truly inclusive where talent can thrive, as well as reflective of the customers we serve and the broader community.”

Important progress

The news comes at an important time for Accenture, as their international image was impacted by two law suits alleging racial discrimination in their US arm. The American wing of Accenture was accused by practicing Muslim Mohammed Ali of effectively forcing him out of the firm, following months of harassment from a line-manager who allegedly sympathised with the anti-Islamic views of US President Donald Trump. The firm was also sued last year by an Indian employee who claimed that he and hundreds of fellow participants in the company’s Global Careers Program were discriminated against. The complaint filed by Elton Kent alleged he was paid less than American employees and received fewer benefits, including paid paternity leave. While refusing to lend credence to the claims, Accenture have been making a public effort to address issues surrounding race in the workplace, including the launch of a campaign named ‘Inclusion Starts With I’, in June 2017.

Fellow list incumbents PwC have also been making efforts to address issues of race in their UK offices in recent years. PwC previously encountered allegations of institutional and individualised racism, including high-profile claims being brought before UK employment tribunals in 2009 and 2011, respectively. First, in 2009, Romanian expatriate Mihaela Popa, and then in 2011, Sri Lanka-born Dunstan Pedropillai, both alleged racial discrimination had limited their career paths with the firm. Popa was eventually awarded a small settlement for having been given an adverse reference, following her resignation at PwC, though the case was also deemed by the tribunal to be an isolated incident.

In order to hasten progress regarding workplace disparity, PwC were one of a number of firms to report their ethnicity pay-gap. Black, Asian and minority-ethnic staff working at PwC in the UK earn 12.8% less than other employees, according to figures provided by the professional services firm themselves, however, as with rivals EY, the gap has closed, showing the progress the firm has made.