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Why Differences Are Everything When it Comes to Recruiting Top Talent
by Kenneth Bouyer, EY Americas Diversity & Inclusiveness Recruiting Leader
Swinging the door open to recruit top, diverse talent is important, but what’s more important is ensuring that the culture behind that door is one that is welcoming, inclusive, and supportive. At EY, our diversity and inclusiveness recruiting strategy is comprehensive. From differences in gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, work experience, physical ability, and military status, we are always improving our efforts to attract the best talent with a diversity of backgrounds and experiences that can thrive in our culture.
It’s not a mystery that diversity in professional services is an overarching problem; however, we know in order to achieve the best outcomes for our clients, we need to engage diverse students. In fact, research from professors at University of Michigan and McGill University, respectively, shows that multicultural teams, when managed well, tend to be more creative and innovative, and produce the best results for clients. At EY, we have also seen first-hand how diverse teams perform better and help us create more innovative solutions for clients, so the goal of our inclusiveness recruiting program is to inspire students who are different.
So how do we make sure we are driving diversity and access? Through collaborations with universities, we are able to raise awareness of our industry with high school students by providing them with unique EY opportunities and programs throughout their academic careers. We focus on the university level to help change the landscape and increase the pool of diverse students while fostering an inclusive atmosphere so students are better prepared to enter the global work force. We also create specific programs that address every part of the recruiting pipeline, particularly areas where we sometimes lose candidates for a number of reasons. In order for our efforts to be sustainable, it requires that every one of our recruiters and hiring managers think, act, and recruit inclusively.
I’m proud of our results this year. We hired more than 1,400 African-American and Hispanic students from campuses—up 40 percent from last year, we also hosted events such as our Women in Tech Consulting Conference exposing dozens of undergraduate and graduate students to the exceptional opportunities we offer, while hearing from several dynamic female leaders. EY also participated in the first Queer Women in Business Summit hosted by Reaching Out MBA (ROMBA), an organization we sponsor that educates and inspires LGBT MBA students at business schools nationwide. Additionally, we hired 300 veterans—an increase of over 75 percent from last year—and increased our Launch Internship Program (a multi-year program that focuses on underrepresented ethnic minority students who are business majors and are at least two years from graduation)—participation by more than 30 percent this year. We also continue to sponsor and participate in Career Opportunities for Students with Disabilities (COSD).
And while we are continuously evaluating and measuring our program to see where we can improve, we are delighted with the recognition we have received along the way—from both our EY people and third parties. Internally, our 2014 Global People Survey tells us that more of our women and U.S. ethnic minorities felt that they have the flexibility to achieve their personal and professional goals when compared to our 2013 results. There was also notably higher feedback for several top factors that drive engagement that tell us things are moving in the right direction including, "I feel my contributions are valued," and "I feel free to be myself."
We are also particularly thrilled to be recognized for our efforts by NACE with the 2015 Diversity & Inclusion Excellence Award. Being acknowledged for this special award is a testament to our focus on continuing to advance and nurture diversity and inclusiveness in our recruiting and hiring strategies. As we look to the year ahead, we will continue to work hard to increase the pipeline of ethnic minority students majoring in accounting, as well as broaden our initiatives to attract underrepresented minority talent to professional services. We will also continue to foster a culture where opinions matter, meaningful conversations are encouraged and our people always feel free to be themselves, as that is what truly drives engagement and helps us to achieve success.
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