Inclusion, Diversity and Equity
We empower our people to thrive with us.
Gender equality continues to be a strong focus for our leadership. Our firm’s transformational targets will see equal female representation at every level of our organisation by 2030. As a network, we’re dedicated to supporting this change and focus our efforts on helping to guide and develop talented women at KPMG. We also use our community to voice and address key challenges and barriers, leading activity around topical issues such as menopause, fertility and women’s safety.KPMG UK Women’s Employee Network (KNOW) chairs
Launched in 2015, the award-winning IT’s Her Future programme is dedicated to tackling gender diversity within Technology at KPMG.
“Women make up 48% of the UK workforce but only 17% of the technology workforce. This is exactly why programmes like IT’s Her Future are so important, not only for organisations like KPMG, but our clients and wider society too.” says Laura Verlander, Development Lead for ITs Her Future.
Where we are now
Laura adds, “We have come a long way since the inception of IT’s Her Future, but we still have a number of internal challenges and external influences we want to overcome to become pioneers of change for women in our industry.”
Building on the success of the programme to date, the focus now turns to increasing its reach. Some of the new initiatives include supporting Director and Partners to make the transition to business leader through executive-level learning with the University of Cambridge, an Ally to Advocate programme for senior male and female Directors and Partners, as well as an Empower the next generation programme aimed at junior levels in tech. KPMG are also working with female coding bootcamp, Black Codher to provide more focussed support for Black Heritage women.
“By increasing inclusion within technology, we can build equitable technologies of the future which will benefit us all” adds Laura.
At KPMG, our aim is to create an open and inclusive environment where our people truly feel the menopause is not an issue that needs to be hidden and can talk about it openly without hesitancy or fear of embarrassment.
“We want our colleagues to feel confident in asking for support and any accommodations so they can continue to be successful in their role, and it’s important that our line managers and colleagues understand what the menopause is and can confidently have positive conversations to support colleagues experiencing menopause” says Charlotte Carter, Director of Culture, Engagement and Wellbeing.
In October, KPMG launched a new Menopause policy, which sets out the support available for colleagues before, during and after the menopause. From 1 January 2023 all colleagues have access the Bupa Menopause Plan as part of KPMG’s Private Medical Insurance offering. This provides staff with a 45-minute consultation with a menopause trained GP, personalised care plan and subsequent follow up appointment in addition to 24/7 access to a menopause trained nurse.
Charlotte adds, “We recognise the menopause as a workplace issue and are taking a number of steps to address it and provide the necessary support for our colleagues. As part of World Menopause Day, we held a series of Menopause speaker events to highlight the importance of talking about menopause in the workplace, early menopause, shared experiences, the associated challenges and lifestyle changes we can make to have a more positive menopause experience.”
Our internal Wellbeing page on Women’s health sets out information about the menopause, early menopause, common myths explained and how we can help and we have also set up Line Manager Menopause training to further support our colleagues. This includes a conversation guide to support with conversations both in and outside the workplace, and CIPD guidance for line managers to support Performance Managers, Engagement Managers or line managers in their conversations and response.
Launched in 2018, RaiseYou is an award winning, outcomes-focused Diversity & Inclusion programme supporting KPMG UK’s Financial Services Consulting practice. It is a 12-month programme that provides career development support to a selected group of colleagues with diverse characteristics, with the aim of creating to create an inclusive and diverse environment with inspiring leaders and an empowered pipeline of high potential diverse talent.
RaiseYou focuses on a series of practical interventions, delivered in conjunction with UNIDA, a specialist diversity and inclusion consulting firm. This includes bespoke 1:1 and group mentoring, a calendar of developmental-focused events and an extensive programme of work to address specific career blockers identified by female and minority ethnic colleagues.
Noeleen Cowley, founder of the RaiseYou programme and Partner in KPMG Financial Services says, “When I launched the programme there was a lack of awareness around the barriers some women were facing in the sector. We wanted to help them overcome these, so they had an equal opportunity to progress and succeed in senior leadership roles.”
Since its launch, RaiseYou has supported over 180 colleagues to achieve their career ambitions, with 100% of shortlisted candidates in the 2022 Senior Cohort going on to achieve a promotion that year. When asked at the start of the programme, only 28% of participants had a formal career sponsor in place, but this had increased to 93% by the end.
RaiseYou has been recognised by the Financial Services industry, winning the Women in Banking and Finance award for Best Diversity and Inclusion Innovation in November 2022. KPMG has also recognised it as being a key driver in helping the firm increase female representation and create a more inclusive culture, with Bina Mehta, KPMG UK chair commenting that RaiseYou has been “instrumental in shifting the dial on gender equality at KPMG.”
Now in its fourth year, the programme continues to shape the career journeys of talented female colleagues and has since been expanded to support colleagues from ethnic minority backgrounds. The ambition is to build on this success and expand the programme across both the UK firm and global KPMG network, as well as increasing both alumni and client engagement to build a community driving diversity and inclusion across the firm and wider financial services industry.
Mita Dave, Programme Lead and Partner in KPMG Financial Services, adds “The programme has supported so many women at all levels - seeing these women grow in confidence and take charge of their personal and career goals has been enlightening and rewarding. Leadership is stepping up, taking accountability, and gaining tangible results – why? - because of RaiseYou’s contribution.”
As individuals, our identities, backgrounds and circumstances are multi-faceted. To be effective in championing inclusion, we must therefore tackle it in a way that recognises these differences.
“At KPMG, intersectionality is embedded at the heart of our inclusion, diversity and equity strategy – this essentially means that we actively look to reflect the different experiences of all women in our approach, which can include everything from differences in age or background, to lifestyle and beliefs.” says Megan Smith, Inclusion, Diversity and Equity Manager leading on Gender.
Investing time in listening to colleagues and using data and insight can help inform what today’s workforce of women need from organisations.
“Our approach as a firm is constantly evolving. We respond to what our colleagues and data tells us, but sometimes, it’s also influenced by changes in attitude in wider society, key events or topics just becoming more openly discussed in the public space” adds Megan. “For instance, a recent survey of our colleagues highlighted that disabled women were struggling the most with balancing caring responsibilities and work. This is something we can now address with a more targeted approach.”
Some great examples of how we’re putting intersectional insight into practice include our focus on supporting women experiencing menopause; the launch of our dedicated programmes for women of black heritage; updated policies, systems and training that are more inclusive for trans women; and a renewed attention on women’s safety, including and update to our Domestic Violence policy and training for managers.
“Reaching gender equality is not going to be a linear path, but we’ll continue to take the time to listen to our colleagues lived experiences, to help us get it right” says Megan.