Activities to increase socio-economic diversity often focus on outreach and hiring. But KPMG, which has been taking action to maximise the diversity of its workforce for many years, knows that ensuring all employees feel included and have opportunities to progress is just as important.
How people ‘get on’ affects retention and performance: it matters just as much as who ‘gets in’. Recognising the importance of intersectionality, KPMG commissioned extensive research using its own data and qualitative interviews to understand how gender, ethnicity and socio-economic background affect an employee’s progression within the firm. The results have been key to engaging leadership and creating a culture where all staff feel able to flourish. The research identified specific barriers to progression, such as potential bias in the way work and opportunities were allocated, and informed targeted interventions to address these.
More generally, KPMG’s leadership development programme GROW, which has long focussed on maximising the potential of diverse talent, was extended to include individuals from low socio-economic backgrounds. Almost 40% of participants in this programme have promoted by at least one grade.