A number of consulting firms have been commended for their work to create inclusive working environments, being named as part of a 70-strong list of industry leaders making a difference with their race equality methods. Among them, Accenture in particular was been named as one of the UK’s top employers for race equality and inclusion by Businesses in the Community, winning the Progression Award.
Despite numerous studies showing that businesses can benefit significantly from a more diverse workforce, progress towards that end goal remains slow. Earlier in 2018, one paper revealed that while diversity was perceived as broadly desirable, businesses in the UK still place it on the back-burner in favour of other priorities. In fact, interest in diversity remains relatively low, at less than 50%, while concrete plans to improve conditions are even more sparse.
In recent years, though, consulting firms have been among the corporate entities making some of the largest efforts to address race equality and inclusion across their global operations, particularly as they battle a growing talent shortage. Vying for a shrinking pool of human resources in economies with high employment and ageing populations, improved inclusion is viewed as one way in which firms can make themselves more attractive to a wider range of prospective employees.
Now, eight consulting firms have been named among 70 employers included in the 2018 listing of the most inclusive employers in the UK. Business in the Community names a number of entities for its Best Employers for Race list each year, and in 2018, Big Four firms KPMG, Deloitte, EY and PwC were joined by Capgemini – also highly commended for a Recruitment Award recognising employers who are working towards ensuring all recruitment processes are free from discrimination – Baringa Partners, Atos and Accenture. To be considered, employers must demonstrate they put leadership on race in place within their organisation, and show how their policies are positively impacting Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) employees within their organisations.
In recent years, Accenture in particular has been making efforts to address race equality and inclusion in its company, across its global operations. In 2017, the firm launched a group-wide campaign titled ‘Inclusion Starts With I’. Now, in addition to the Best Employers for Race listing, the company was named as the Winner of the Progression Award category, which recognises employers who are working to increase the representation of BAME people at management levels and to speed up the progression of BAME employees in the workplace. The prize commended Accenture’s ‘Accelerate’ programme, which is having a positive impact on African Caribbean employee retention and progression. PwC recently launched a similar programme for Chinese talent in its UK network.
Commenting on the news, Tony Horan, who leads Human Capital and Diversity for Accenture in the UK and Ireland, said, “Accenture has a global ambition to be the most inclusive and diverse organisation in the world, rooted in our belief that bringing together people with different perspectives, cultures and backgrounds is not only the right thing to do but also good for business. We want a workforce that reflects our clients and community, while driving the innovation and productivity which ultimately boosts company performance.”
Praising the firms listed as a whole, Sandra Kerr OBE, race equality director at Business in the Community, said, “In a rapidly changing global business environment, it’s vital that organisations make the most of all the diverse talent available to them to successfully compete. I hope more employers will seize the moment to act on workplace race equality and follow the example set out by the leading employers in this listing by signing up for [the] Race at Work Charter, launched earlier this month.”