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It's diversity – get over it!

The ICAEW has put diversity at the top of its agenda with the launch of a new online Diversity Community.

July 2018

In his welcoming remarks at the launch at Chartered Accountants’ Hall, President Nick Parker said: “I think this is one of the most important and positive steps we’ve taken as an institute.” When he became President last June Parker put diversity at the top of his agenda and he hopes the new community will “challenge us all”.
Parker explained diversity is often defined as the recognition and celebration of difference, equality of treatment and opportunity, ensuring we are all represented with an equal voice. But he felt it also means the building of knowledge and understanding, and “the generation of new ideas and perspectives”.
The ICAEW is already working hard to achieve greater diversity. It runs a Diversity Advisory Group, which reports directly to the board, its Women in Leadership programme helps more women achieve senior roles, and it was a co-founder of Access Accountancy, which works to improve access for those from disadvantaged backgrounds. On top of this, the ICAEW provides support to the Professional Services LGBT Group and has its own internal network group and champion of LGBT rights.
The new community, still a work in progress, will hopefully help connect communities and become a useful resource for those who are unable to develop their own initiatives.
Parker wants to encourage students to take a look at the online information hub at icaew.com/diversity.
PwC’s Anne Hurst stressed that diversity Continued from page 1
matters, and this was not just about impact on the bottom line. She pointed to its importance in attracting the top talent, too. That said, she pointed out it has been widely reported that companies with gender diversity are 15% more likely to financial outperform those who don’t have one! And Hurst emphasised that PwC was putting diversity at the heart of its values. “We can’t afford to look out of touch and irrelevant,” she said.
Interestingly, she revealed there are now financial consequences for those who do not help the firm achieve its diversity goals. This was after the firm discovered that many senior people were not aware of the targets set in 2015. They are aware of the targets now!
It was a common thought at PwC that women were not making it to the top because they didn’t return after maternity leave. However, research quickly found this simply wasn’t true and in fact they were getting stuck at management level. That meant policy changes could address this problem directly.
When the audience was asked if their current workplace was inclusive some 65% said it was; 35% said not. They were also asked if having quotas was a way to address the problems. Here some 60% said no and 40% yes.
The launch came as Stonewall research showed two in five students (42%) have hidden their identity at university for fear of discrimination. Incredibly, 7% of trans students had been physically attacked by another student or member of university staff in the past year.
A survey of people in work found more than a third of LGBT staff (35%) have hidden the fact that they are LGBT at work for fear of discrimination. And nearly two in five bi people (38%) aren’t ‘out’ to anyone at work.
Workplace bullying continues to be a serious problem for LGBT employees. Almost one in five (18%) have been the target of negative comments or conduct from work colleagues.

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