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Creating a diverse workplace 

Origami birds 

Kevin Ellis (Industrial Economics, 1984), Chairman and Partner at PwC UK, shares his thoughts on creating inclusive and diverse workplaces...

Kevin Ellis, Chairman and Senior Partner, PwC"One of the highlights of my job is returning to the University of Nottingham every year for the Milkround. It brings back great memories and I get to talk to the students about their career interests and aspirations, and listen to what matters to them most.

One thing that strikes me is that I still meet young people who don’t think a professional career is an option for them. 

Recent research from the Social Mobility Foundation found a clear link between where you are born and your future success –many people are still held back by where they grew up, where they went to school or what their parents did for a living. Breaking down these barriers is vital. 

Businesses have a responsibility to try and put that right. One of the ways to do this is through employers working with schools and reaching right across the country as early as possible to help raise aspirations and increase awareness of career opportunities. My own business is stronger for having people with diverse backgrounds and experiences, but I also see benefits more widely. Social mobility is a priority and we know we still have further to go to achieve a truly diverse workforce. 

It’s not just about getting people into the workplace either, it’s about giving people equal opportunity to progress and fulfil their potential. Recent pay gap reporting, for example, has highlighted the under-representation of women and ethnic minorities in senior positions in many organisations, including my own. 

There is a strong public interest in diversity, equality and inclusion and, therefore, a need for transparency on all matters relating to gender, ethnicity and social mobility if we are going to shift the dial. In the spirit of the government’s regulations, PwC has now included total earnings of partners – the owners of the firm – as well as our employees to give the most rounded picture of our firm’s gender and ethnic pay data. 

At PwC, we publish our gender and ethnicity targets and the progress we’re making against them in our digital annual report, along with analysis of the backgrounds of our graduate intake. For example, the proportion who went to state school or were eligible for free school meals. There is clearly appetite for this information – these pages are far more widely read than my opening comments. 

Employers will cease to be attractive to future generations if we fail to address these issues and make the necessary changes. Only through greater transparency and focused action will we be able to create a fully inclusive and diverse workplace where everybody can reach their full potential and be rewarded accordingly." 

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