On Women's Leadership and Diversity in the Workplace with KPMG

KPMG is one of the Big Four Accounting Firms globally, offering audit, tax, and advisory services. The name “KPMG” was chosen when KMG (Klynveld Main Goerdeler) was merged with Peat Marwick. I was fortunate to sit down with Campus Recruiter and Wake alum, Melissa Hughes (BA 11’ MSA 12’) to talk about the opportunities KPMG provides to enhance diversity in the industry.

HC: How does diversity in a workplace contribute to the success of running of the company?

Our CEO is a woman (Lynne Doughtie). She is the first CEO at KPMG to be a female. I think that really sets the tone at the top. Literally quite at the top of our organization especially with diversity in the workplace and women leaders in the workplace.

We are trying to grow the women's presence in the partnership within KPMG. The first partner I worked for was a woman, and I think that’s really motivating for me to see they promote women leaders and women developing professionally within a firm that was once all male.

I think what they do really well is the flex work arrangement. Flex work arrangements are really fantastic, where you can make your own schedule, be a working mom, be a partner at the firm and really do it all.

They respect that women try to be superwomen, that they try to do it all, and they try to make it easier for women to have a strong professional careers as well as having a family if that’s their goals. It’s certainly not a requirement for women to have families and work. KPMG does a fantastic job at giving them opportunities to do that. I know all the accounting firms do that as well, not just KPMG.

At one point, you had to choose between having a family and having a career. The trend, as we all have seen, is that which is not the case anymore. Just like other firms in other companies, women are becoming the leaders within KPMG.

Even within the younger members in the firm, we have our KPMG network of women that posts all sort of professional development seminars for women. They set you up with a mentor to be able to have a role model who’s been in the firm and conquered in all to offer advice and tips on how to be a strong woman in the professional workplace.

 

HC: How has that shaped your recruiting experience and the way you look at candidates?

I look at the resume and try to see their experiences as they are. We are trying to promote diversity at the workplace. We want to have a good mixture of men and women, different ethnicities, and different races. We try to have different initiatives for diverse candidates, especially underrepresented minorities in the accounting profession. We have special programs to help encourage them to choose a career in public accounting and make it easier for diverse candidates to have that experience if that’s something they want.

HC: As a whole, how would it benefit the clientssatisfaction?

Diversity in the workplace is the diversity of thoughts and opinions. And that’s the key to offering clients to best solution to their problems. If everybody is the same type of person, from the same university, or the same city even, you wouldn’t be able to have different experiences to share and have the best comprehensive viewpoints on how to tackle a problem that a client would be facing.

 

Photos courtesy of:

https://www.businessdayonline.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/KPMG.jpg https://assets.kpmg.com/content/dam/kpmg/images/2013/09/15-canada-sq-54....