Grant Thornton reveals progress on DE&I in new report

Grant Thornton has improved diverse hiring and promotions, with further goals to complete by 2025

Grant Thornton US reveals its successful Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DE&I) policies in its newly released report, which shows its work furthering diverse employee representation and DE&I training.

This is their second annual report on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, and shows improvement in diverse representation in 2021 compared to 2020.

Grant Thornton’s DE&I report: diverse hiring and promotions

Notably, Black/African American or Hispanic/Latinx hiring at the associate and senior associate levels, where most of their hiring occurs, had a 33% year-over-year growth rate.

The report shows the firm is also focusing on career progression for underrepresented groups, with the promotion rate among Black/African American employees increasing from 8% to 12%.

For female hiring and promotion, 43% of newly hired managing directors were women, a 30% year-over-year growth rate, and 44% of newly hired partners or principals were women. The 2021 partner and principal promotion class had the highest percentage of women in the firm’s history.

Implementing DE&I education

DE&I education programmes are another method that Grant Thornton uses to instil inclusivity into its workforce, including holding workshops on psychological safety and microaggressions.

Uptake has been impressive across all levels of the workforce; by the end of 2021, 98% of partners, principals and managing directors, and 90% of employees participated in an unconscious bias workshop.

They have also implemented an incentive system for DE&I learning through DE&I and inclusive leadership learning badges, which are earned after completing a programme of self-study courses and on-the-job experiences and learning activities, which is seen as part of professional development.

All partners and principals at the firm must complete one of the two DE&I-focused badges, ensuring that DE&I learnings can be embedded into workforce culture with the buy-in and authority of leadership.

Making DE&I the ‘culture’, external partnerships, and future goals

Grant Thornton has also implemented a “culture immersion initiative”, involving large and smaller group discussions for onboarding and existing staff, and includes a module on belonging and inclusion. The aim of this initiative, according to the firm, is to embed DE&I as a “core firm tenet.”

Examples of Grant Thornton’s external partnerships which form part of their DE&I journey include the Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF).

Over three years, the Grant Thornton Foundation will donate $300,000 to the TMCF, thereby committing to support racial and social justice for over 500,000 African-American students.

They are also partnering with non-profit education provider NextGen Cybertalent to create greater access to cybersecurity education and information for underprivileged college students.

Another partnership is with Disability:IN: a non-profit resource for business disability inclusion globally. The firm has agreed to sign the “Are You IN?” Disability Inclusion Pledge and will review their office accessibility beyond disability compliance to make them easier to navigate.

While Grant Thornton’s report shows progress in diversifying its workforce, improving career progression for underrepresented groups, and making DE&I learning part of its culture, it also highlights some ambitious goals to complete by 2025, which marks the firm’s 100th anniversary. These include:

  • 30% of new hires will be Black and African American or Hispanic and Latinx (also recognising opportunities for increased hiring for Asian Americans, Pacific Islanders and Native Americans)
  • 35% of Grant Thornton’s National Leadership Team and market-focused leaders will be women, people of colour, LGBTQ+ people, individuals with disabilities, veterans or military spouses. Further, 40% of the firm’s partners, principals and managing directors will meet these same criteria
  • 50% of training opportunities for the most valuable professional skills will include women, people of colour, LGBTQ+ people, individuals with disabilities, veterans or military spouses
  • Representation of veterans, military spouses and individuals with disabilities across the firm will increase by 50%.

Grant Thornton CEO Brad Preber said: “This year’s DE&I report shows that Grant Thornton is embracing transparency and turning intentions into actions. We know there is still room for enhancement, but I am inspired by our progress and believe we are on the right path, the path beyond what is expected in business. That is why we’re continuing to focus on DE&I at all levels of our firm and investing in programmes to ensure all people have an opportunity to make their voices heard.”

Rashada Whitehead, National Managing Director for Culture, Immersion and Inclusion, said: “Making real progress on DE&I is about more than just implementing policies and programmes. It requires everyone in an organisation to re-think how they relate to and uplift the diversity of colleagues around them every day.”

The full 2021 report can be read here.

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