August 21, 2018

White Guy Proudly Accepts Diversity Award for His Big 4 Firm

Last night, DiversityInc handed out awards to seven U.S. companies "that showcase best practices for workplace diversity" in New York City. Predictably, EY sent their white Americas Managing Partner Steve Howe to accept theirs.

"In order to earn one of our special awards, a company needs to demonstrate full commitment to diversity, starting at the top," explained DiversityInc Founder and CEO Luke Visconti. "These companies have proven time and again that they get it. The executives who accepted the awards take a hands-on approach to priorities like building meaningful employee resource groups and supporting compensation incentives for meeting diversity goals."

You'll notice the language there. It's not actual diversity at the top that matters, it's a commitment to diversity. So as long as your cookie cutter old white guy leadership is having meetings about how to recruit and retain more women, minorities, and gays, it's all good.

As we already know, EY is #3 on the DiversityInc Top 50, for this reason:

No company has been able to better articulate its deep commitment to creating an inclusive workplace both globally and domestically than EY.

The professional-services firm has strong leadership linking efforts to value difference with effective client service. That leadership starts with Global Chairman and CEO Mark Weinberger, Americas Managing Partner Steve Howe, and Karyn Twaronite, Partner and Americas Inclusiveness Officer.

EY has broadened its definition of diversity to factor in “age, culture, education, personality, skills, life experiences and many other attributes.” Its ability to create inclusive workplaces that are suited to the unique needs of individuals is a model for other companies.

"Life experiences" huh?


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Barry Salzberg isn’t Satisified with Deloitte’s Diversity

small salzberg.jpgAccounting firms get lots of recognition for their diversity, but Barry Salzberg isn’t satisified:
More, after the jump

Deloitte still plans to do aggressive hiring of Asian employees, including in Asia, where Salzberg said the firm was doing more offshore outsourcing of accounting work, especially at a center in Hyderabad, India. The firm also plans to ramp up its recruitment of African American and Latino employees.

What he can’t figure out is why 30% of annual recruits are Asian, but only 20% of the Deloitte workforce is Asian, and only 6% are partners or directors.
He has some ideas though:

“We think there is a cultural issue there with Asians typically being less aggressive, a little bit more reticent to speak up, and when they move to the manager and senior manager ranks, which happen very clearly within the organization, it then appears that their leadership skills are not being demonstrated in the minds of those that are evaluating them,” he said.

We’re not exactly sure if B. Salz is saying that Asians don’t make partner because they are reticent to speak up or if it’s because the people evaluating them have unattainable standards of performance.
One thing is for certain. The trend of bald men in leadership roles remains strong to very strong.
We’re sure you’ve got opinions on this. Like we mentioned, the firms aren’t shy about promoting how diverse they are. So what are you thoughts on diversity at Deloitte? In the Big 4? Discuss in the comments.

Why Are Accounting Firms Crappy at Diversifying Their Workforce?

Celebrate Diversity_Fullpic_1.gifSince accounting firms like to boast about their diverse workforce but always seem to maintain that it isn’t diverse enough, we would kindly ask, “which the hell is it?” The whole argument of “we can always do better” is fine but at least one academic is saying that the accounting profession has pretty much failed in its attempts to develop a more diverse workforce.
Continued, after the jump

Web CPA:

Frank K. Ross, director of the Howard University Center for Accounting Education, called for increased efforts at recruitment, retention and leadership development…Ross noted that despite four decades of effort and significant progress, accounting still trails other professions, and many large businesses, in minority representation. According to the AICPA’s most recent study, minorities currently hold only 5 percent of partnership positions at the largest firms, and only one percent of partners are African-American.

So if accounting firms of all sizes having been trying for forty years to diversify their workforce and still trail other professions and minorities only compromise 5% of the partner positions at the largest firms, does that mean these firms really suck at recruiting and retaining a diverse workforce?
If the AICPA is calling out its own members for sucking at diversity, we might have more of a corporate culture issue as the source of the problem. Professor Ross notes “significant progress” but that doesn’t really seem to be illustrated here.
Fortunately, like all good academics, Prof. Ross manages to have suggestions for improvement:

• Making diversity an integral part of the corporate culture – building it into the DNA of the organization;
• Developing special training for employees at all levels to help them become more sensitive to cultural differences and more aware of diverse styles of working;
• Identifying the best and brightest from their minority workforce and singling them out for focused support at all times, including downturns; and,
• Establishing diversity in cultural background and experience as key criteria in hiring and for work assignments.

Honestly we’re not crazy about these suggestions since we don’t understand how some of these would be implemented. All the firms require diversity training already so is the suggestion to require super-diversity training? And “identify the best and brightest”. Don’t the firms already claim to do this?
Since you all are on the front lines discuss – in the comments – your firm’s diversity initiatives and whether you think they are actually productive or its simply more of your firm’s sorry attempt to disinform about their lack of diversity. Is it the culture among the firms or are there other factors keeping these firms from improving on diversity?