The creation of a diverse and inclusive work environment where everybody can be themselves is one of PwC’s core values. An equally integral part is to make sure that the firm’s stakeholders, employees and potential employees are aware of where the firm stands on diversity and inclusion.
Recently, a cross-section of PwC’s people met up with the team at myGwork where they were asked about how sponsoring Pride in London this year supports the company’s diversity goals.
A director in PwC’s Tax Practice, Ruth Punter had joined the network to spread awareness of the LGBT+ community, to become a role model and to encourage more female participation in the network. According to her, it is all about finding where one’s interests and strengths lie, and to not allow a characteristic, such as sexual orientation to hold anyone back from pursuing those.
She has been working with clients on how best they can address the issue of gender pay gaps and one thing that she highly recommends is that everyone takes part in online learning about unconscious bias – as PwC has introduced for all their staff.
She further adds that in her career, she has come across people who have made incorrect assumptions about her sexual orientation leading to very awkward conversations. She admits that assumptions can be challenging because they can potentially make an individual forget to be themselves. However, she says that the recent version of the training has included a trans individual and it is now also being used by some of PwC’s clients.
Brian Ashmead-Siers is a partner in the firm’s Tax Practice and he said that PwC’s policy of diversity and inclusion, along with acceptance of an LGBT+ network initiative like GLEE (Gays, Lesbians & Everyone Else) encouraged him to become a part of PwC about 5 months ago. The chance to be open and himself whilst also supporting other LGBT+ employees at the firm was extremely important to him.
He adds by saying that it is not enough to have a network for the sake of having a network, but it is about genuinely administering the policies and supporting the initiatives that are of utmost importance to the LGBT+ community. When it comes to diversity and inclusion, PwC has always been known to be at the forefront.
Brian further said that PwC has policies in place that recognise his husband as his other half, where he is entitled to benefits if something where to happen to Brian. He has only been working with PwC for 5 months, but has found that he can be himself and be around like-minded colleagues, directors and partners from the firm as a part of the GLEE network.
GLEE@PwC is exactly what it stands for - it readily welcomes gays, lesbians and everyone else, it is a group of individuals including people from the LGBT+ community, friends and allies.
A consultant in PwC’s People and Organisation practice, Ben Cooper took part in his first Pride last year. He represented PwC, the LGBT+ community and GLEE. He said that ‘doing the right thing’ for their community, clients and their people is the main focus for PwC. The approach of the firm translates into diversity and inclusion, putting emphasis on each and every person to take full responsibility for their behaviours and values.
Ben Cooper further said that he is extremely proud that Pride is being sponsored by PwC in 2017 and that the firm is publicly supporting the LGBT+ community. He feels that the firm is in a distinct position to make use of its strong global and public presence to raise the profile of and champion the cause of the LGBT+ community.
One of the major sponsors of the 2017 Pride in London is PwC. They are also going to be at Birmingham, Leeds and for the first time this year, at Belfast Pride. Denise Hart is the chair of GLEE Northern Ireland and for her, being at the Pride is all about exhibiting diversity and inclusion and not only talking about the subject.
Denise said that PwC in Northern Ireland is in a war for talent and they are growing exponentially in a region where experienced hires, as well as, students can make choices as to what their employers do, rather than what is mentioned in their brochure.
Denise feels proud that PwC is supporting Pride and also that they are growing GLEE across the firm’s community. She is also glad that diversity is being celebrated with other large organisations.
Since North Ireland is a region where the marriage equality is not recognised as it is elsewhere in the UK, the demonstration of diversity embedded in the DNA of PwC is a major feat. it shows that PwC welcomes everyone with open arms, regardless of their religion, race and sexual orientation. It is a firm where people can be themselves.
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