News release

Grant Thornton outlines 2020 pledge to help further create culture of inclusion

As Grant Thornton UK LLP continues to tackle the systemic barriers to inclusion and embrace diversity, the firm has outlined a 2020 pledge and targets to tackle the root causes of imbalance and has published its gender pay gap under new government guidelines.

Under the new regulatory methodology, Grant Thornton has a mean gender pay gap of 26.56% and a mean bonus gap of 51.78%.  

The overall gender split of the firm is balanced, with 51% men to 49% female. At trainee entry level the gender split is broadly 50:50. The firm has a greater number of men at senior manager (64.5%), associate director (64.5%) and director level (75.9%).  There are also slightly more women than men in the firm’s first grade bracket (56%).  

When the data is adjusted to take in to account the number of men in senior roles, along with factors related to service line, location and grade, Grant Thornton’s mean gender pay gap based on gross basic FTE pay was 1.7% as of April. Our most recent analysis in October has shown that we have further narrowed this adjusted gap to 1%. This demonstrates that equal pay is not the issue, with men and women in similar roles being rewarded consistently.

Stephanie Hasenbos-Case, Leader of People and Client Experience at Grant Thornton UK LLP, said:

“Recent calls from government for more transparency in reporting diversity measures have been useful in kick-starting activity and commitment to the agenda. But this is more than just a numbers game. It’s about doing the right thing - for society, business and for our people. From recent analysis we can already see that our efforts on this agenda are working and improvements are being made.

“You only need to look at the gaps reported so far, both in our sector and beyond, to see that the system isn’t fit for purpose.  We are confident that where people in our firm are doing the same or similar work, or work of equal value, they are equally rewarded. Adjusted pay figures, including ours, are evidence that the underlying issue is not just about equal pay but gender imbalance at the more senior higher paid levels.  This also highlights the need to create a culture where everyone feels supported and empowered to make the choices that are right for them and take advantage of the opportunities offered to all.

“The system and cultures in which our businesses operate were conceived to serve an old-fashioned working environment – one that is male-dominated, hierarchical and anachronistic. The world has changed, and continues to do so, but these ancient systems are so deeply embedded that they aren’t changing at the same pace as society.

“Creating a futureproof, diverse workforce is not only good for business; it’s an urgent and ongoing priority for the future of a vibrant economy where people, businesses and communities can thrive. Dynamic businesses need talent to seize opportunities for growth.  Several independent studies (McKinsey, Catalyst, Center for Talent Innovation) have shown that business performance improves with high diversity levels.   Our own experiences with clients and prospects have further demonstrated that many value diversity in the teams they work with and even make decisions about where they take their business based on this.

“To advise our clients effectively it is vital that we offer diverse perspectives – this goes beyond gender in to a wider problem to do with inclusion and it is something we are addressing head on.

“We embrace diversity in all its forms and address issues by paying attention to structural and cultural barriers. We are taking great learning from our work on social mobility where we implemented a number of ground-breaking measures, including being the first firm to remove academics as a barrier to entry. Independent analysis has shown that these measures are working as we are widening the socio-economic diversity of our trainee and graduate intakes, and we can see this has had no impact on the quality of performance.”

Building on measures and initiatives that are already in place, the firm has outlined additional steps and targets that it will introduce before 2020 to help tackle the gender imbalance specifically and build wider diversity and inclusion.

Actions Grant Thornton UK LLP will take to tackle gender imbalance and build a diverse, inclusive workforce by 2020

To understand the systemic barriers in our culture that are creating gender disparity, we will:

  • analyse our internal pipeline of talent to understand career drivers and systemic cultural barriers to progression
  • review the findings and agree recommendations to address these barriers both in our systems and processes and in the mind sets of our leaders.

To educate our people on the causes of bias in our firm, we will:

  • have concluded inclusive decision-making learning for our people by summer 2018. The programme will support our people managers and leaders to be aware of the impact of their unconscious decisions using neuroscience and case studies
  • establish a UK Inclusion Community of practice to holistically tackle bias of any kind in recruitment, performance and learning.

To build a culture where everyone has the opportunity to thrive, we will:

  • continue to shape our culture of Shared Enterprise, encouraging our people to think independently and take ownership and responsibility for creating ideas which shape the future of our business
  • continue to embed agile working to help our people choose when, where and how they work to meet the needs of their clients and teams, enabling  better balance in their lives. This is about more than just home-working or hot-desking – it’s about improving productivity, increasing innovation and boosting collaboration. We gave our people a framework to embrace agile working last year and will continue to encourage the practice.

To encourage the progression of female talent, we will:

  • actively support accelerated career progression for female senior managers and directors
  • ensure at least one female is put forward for final selection for every externally advertised senior position in the firm
  • ensure the interview panel consists of both men and women
  • continue to develop policies and frameworks to help people balance their lives. For example we introduced flexible working for all our people ahead of legislative requirement and will continue to measure the number of formal flexible working arrangements taken up.
  • build on our award-winning enhanced parental leave by reviewing all family leave policies in the same way, to create better working environments for our people
  • widen our offering of  transitional coaching for new parents following the success of the pilot

To measure and report progress in diversity and inclusion at Grant Thornton, we will:

  • measure progress by creating annual transparency reports and quarterly reports for our business unit leaders using the following targets:
    • reduce the reported pay gap to 18-20% and ensure the adjusted gap remains in a range of -1% to 1%
    • increase the percentage of female partners from 16% to 22% by 2020 and 25% by 2022
    • externally recruit 20% more female senior managers and directors
    • increase the number of parents returning to work after extended parental leave from 66% to 86%
    • increase the number of parents remaining in work for longer than two years after return from extended parental leave from 57% to 77%
    • increase the number of promotions following return to work after extended parental leave
    • increase the percentage of flexible workers from 14% to 20%, and increase approvals of flexible working requests by 50%.

It’s clear that much needs to be done as we continue to create a firm where people can flourish; where we are open and transparent about the issues we must address; where we back up bold statements of intent with firm commitments; and where we create a new system that works for all of us.

If we can do all this, we will be much closer to our purpose of shaping a vibrant economy.

To download our full gender pay gap report please visit our website. [ 218 kb ]