KPMG and the University of Cambridge unveil new partnership

New five-year partnership on the ‘Future of Work’ will examine the big issues affecting the modern workforce.

New five-year partnership on the ‘Future of Work’ will examine the big issues affecting

New five-year partnership on the ‘Future of Work’ will examine the big issues affecting the modern workforce and offer practical, research backed solutions to employers

KPMG UK and the University of Cambridge have today unveiled a new partnership to understand how the world of work is changing, starting with what really works when it comes to supporting employees’ mental wellbeing.

The partnership is a global first and sees the University of Cambridge bring together researchers from different disciplines to better understand the factors that affect mental wellbeing at work. It will show how different kinds of supports can boost individual mental wellbeing, enhance productivity and promote a healthy workforce for the future. 

KPMG will open its doors to Cambridge researchers, who will assess the effectiveness of the mental wellbeing initiatives the firm currently offers to its c.16,000 UK employees. This will develop an evidence base of what works and how new support measures can be developed and evaluated to meet employees’ future needs. The firm will use these insights to invest in and evolve its package of mental wellbeing support.

The firm will also share its research with the wider business community, to help them support their own workforce and reduce attrition and wellbeing related absence. It also aims to provide empirical evidence clearly demonstrating the link between employee mental wellbeing and improved productivity. 

Jon Holt, Chief Executive of KPMG UK, said: “Mental wellbeing is a global issue and a leading concern on the minds of the business leaders I speak to. Businesses need research and data to help them invest in the right areas to support their staff through a huge period of change, as we emerge from the pandemic and introduce new ways of working.

“But mental wellbeing at work is an under researched area and it is hard to access empirical data evidencing clear links between mental wellbeing policies and better employee health. 

“This partnership with the very best academics in their field seeks to address this and provide real answers on what works. It aims to help leaders support their people to thrive at work, which in turn will lift productivity and deliver wider benefits to the economy.”

Professor Gordon Harold, who is leading the Mental Wellbeing programme for the partnership, said: "Mental health is the bedrock of a healthy, productive and positive society. By 2030 depression will be a leading cause of mortality and morbidity globally, with significant implications for individuals, society and the future of work. Promoting positive mental health and supporting those who experience or are at risk of mental ill health is now a national and global priority.”

Professor Andy Neely, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Enterprise and Business Relations at the University of Cambridge said: “Work – what we do, how and where we do it and what it means for individuals, organisations and wider society – is changing. This ambitious partnership will bring together Cambridge researchers from a wide range of disciplines to reimagine the world of work and to co-create with KPMG effective strategies and interventions that will benefit both its workforce and those of organisations worldwide.

“Finding the best ways to support mental wellbeing at work is an urgent and important task, and the starting point for this partnership which will explore more broadly how can we enable meaningful work that addresses society’s needs.” 

The announcement is part of KPMG’s £300m three-year strategy to transform and grow its business, as it invests in new insight and services to support its clients and its people.  

It also forms part of a wider partnership between KPMG and the University of Cambridge, which aims to examine the big issues affecting work and society, such as the impact of digital technologies, the global distribution of work and Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG), and to provide evidence-based, actionable insights. In September last year, the firm unveiled a training programme with Cambridge Judge Business School, which will deliver ESG training to KPMG’s 227,000 global workforce.


For more information contact:

Zoe Sheppard, Head of Media Relations, KPMG UK

Mobile:+44 (0)7770 737 994


About KPMG

KPMG LLP, a UK limited liability partnership recorded a revenue of £2.43 billion in the year ended 30 September 2021. 

KPMG is a global organization of independent professional services firms providing Audit, Legal, Tax and Advisory services. It operates in 145 countries and territories with more than 236,000 partners and employees working in member firms around the world. Each KPMG firm is a legally distinct and separate entity and describes itself as such. KPMG International Limited is a private English company limited by guarantee. KPMG International Limited and its related entities do not provide services to clients.

About the University of Cambridge

The University of Cambridge is one of the world’s top ten leading universities, with a rich history of radical thinking dating back to 1209. Its mission is to contribute to society through the pursuit of education, learning and research at the highest international levels of excellence. 

The University comprises 31 autonomous Colleges and 150 departments, faculties and institutions. Its 24,450 student body includes more than 9,000 international students from 147 countries. In 2020, 70.6% of its new undergraduate students were from state schools and 21.6% from economically disadvantaged areas.

Cambridge research spans almost every discipline, from science, technology, engineering and medicine through to the arts, humanities and social sciences, with multi-disciplinary teams working to address major global challenges. Its researchers provide academic leadership, develop strategic partnerships and collaborate with colleagues worldwide.

The University sits at the heart of the ‘Cambridge cluster’, in which more than 5,300 knowledge-intensive firms employ more than 67,000 people and generate £18 billion in turnover. Cambridge has the highest number of patent applications per 100,000 residents in the UK -  

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