EY announced a while ago that they are transforming how they judge applicants – fundamentally eliminating the requirement of a degree and judging candidates by other standards. After the policy was introduced last year, the initial results of that experiment are in.
The idea was to create a more diverse workforce and the results suggest success; the number of recruits from state schools jumped by 10 percentage points (49% for graduates and to 59% for school leavers), and the number of recruits who were the first in their family to go to university rose by 7%.
However, while ‘a blind CV policy to remove an unconscious bias’ sounds great – the reality was 37,000 student applications for 1,600 jobs (a big increase). The huge growth in applicant numbers over the last 10-20 years drove the big consultancies to be ever-more focused on degree grade and university as a measuring and sifting tool. Most observers agree that this policy became too restrictive. Change was needed, but EY certainly did not see every one of those 37,000 for tests and interviews so should we assume that judging CVs by university, grade and subject has simply been replaced by a different – but perhaps equally prejudicial – judging criteria?
EY should be applauded for trying something new and leading the way for the other multinationals in that respect – but I suspect this approach will need more than one year to truly reveal how effective it is to diversity of workforce, to EY business itself and whether this spreads as a market-wide idea.
The big guns in management consulting have been busy buying creative businesses – at the end of last year Accenture bought advertising agency Karmarama. Who? – You might not know the name , but you’ll know their work – Honda, Unilever, and Costa Coffee are among its clients. This was Accenture’s sixth acquisition in 2016 of similar businesses. Not to be left behind, IBM bought five creative companies and Deloitte three , according to Clarity a corporate advisory firm, while KPMG, EY and PwC have also made some acquisitions in the Mad Men territory.
So what’s behind this flurry of activity? The answer may lie in the explosion of digital strategy and transformation consulting opportunities with clients – whether you’re selling shoes or mortgages, a strong digital presence is key. While technology is leading the way, digital requires innovative and engaging content and communications to attract and retain customers …which is the perfect ground for the advertising and marketing agencies. Throw in the consulting firms’ capabilities in data analytics to actually measure the outcomes of digital advertising and it looks to be a winner all round.
But what about the people? While there may be clear business synergies for these acquisitions – will the people “fit”? Perhaps that’s one of the reasons Accenture has set up its digital advertising and marketing division, Accenture Interactive as a separate home for the new creative businesses. Whatever the reasons, there are sure to be many more acquisitions by Accenture and its competitors as the digital space expands further – giving rich pickings to any smaller, independent advertising and marketing agencies looking to sell.
An interesting article on the BBC website today – “Is flexible working biased against non- parents? “.
I suspect many people’s initial reaction to this question is “Yes”. However, perhaps what’s more important is if this is true, what can be done to change it?
There are many reasons why a genuinely flexible working policy makes sense – not just for working parents. Everyone has priorities in life, whether it be children, parents, hobbies and interests, or pets. Flexible working can be a powerful recruitment and retention tool, for all generations in the workplace, (with children or not.)
It’s good for motivation, productivity and mental health and has economic benefits too – Sir Gary Cooper in his report for the government concluded that the benefit to the UK economy associated with offering the right to request flexible working to parents with children is around £165m, and when opened to non-parents of working age the figure rises to £250m. It all makes sense, it just needs to happen!!
Of course lists like these are never going to be 100% accurate or completely reflective of today’s world, but the report does point to some interesting (and perhaps entirely predictable) trends; traditional back office functions (HR, Tax, Audit, Payroll, Finance), IT/technology (developers and architects) and efficiency-centric roles (Supply Chain, Operations, Project Engineers, Maintenance) make up nearly 70% of the list. In this Brexit-dominated economy it seems that the efficient day-to-day running of an organisation – and those ‘nuts and bolts’ functions which allow that to happen – are the biggest priorities and growth areas.
So far, so internal – but compared to previous years, it is external consumer facing roles which represent the fastest growing portion. The inclusion of Marketing, Brand, Product, Commercial and Communications Manager roles suggests an ever-growing importance attached to how a company is perceived and what can be done to project their image and products more favourably.
‘Data Scientist’ is the stand-out inclusion here and is in indication that the collection, analysis and dissection of consumer data, competitor knowledge and market intelligence is being used in ever more sophisticated ways. The rise and rise of ‘Big Data’ is hardly a well-kept secret – but expect more roles directly in this space to make ever-larger impacts on these lists going forward.
It’s the second week of January and no surprises that Executive Pay is in the news yet again with Jeremy Corbyn’s recent comments about capping of salaries and pay ratios. Ian King, Sky News Business Presenter takes a very practical look at the impracticalities of this.