EY named Australia’s most inclusive workplace at the Pride in Diversity awards

02 July 2018 Authored by Consultancy.com.au

At ACON’s Pride in Diversity Awards held last month, EY was crowned Australia’s most inclusive employer for their LGBTI initiatives. PwC picked up two awards for its executive leadership which went to James Collins and CEO of the year, Luke Sayers. Accenture was also awarded with Platinum Employer status after having extraordinarily high performance for five years in a row. 

The Pride and Diversity Awards are run collaboratively by ACON, the NSW-based health promotion and HIV-prevention non-for-profit, and Pride in Diversity – an ACON Pride Inclusion Program. Attending the awards, held in Sydney, were business leaders and public servants from around the country. 

EY’s Managing Partner for Advisory, Lynn Kraus received the award on behalf of the professional services and consulting firm. “We are super excited and absolutely humbled,” she said in relation to winning the award. “Its an amazing group of organisations every year when we go to the awards, and this year what they are all doing is really inspiring.” 

Diversity and inclusion (D&I) are high priorities for EY both locally and globally, as the firm considers the area a vital strategic advantage. D&I is credited as bringing innovation to an organisation due to employees challenging the status quo and feeling accepted doing so. It has also been said to have huge economical benefits for a business, with EY putting it bluntly: “Companies in the top quartile for racial and ethnic diversity are 35 percent more likely to have financial returns above their respective national industry medians.”

This shines through for Kraus who commented on the fact that the company was in 35th position nationally only a few years earlier. “It’s been five years of really hard work. To get from where we were five years ago to where we are today has been a lot of hard work, a lot of resilience and a lot of persistence.”

EY and PwC pick up awards at the Pride in Diversity awards

“We’ve done a lot of awareness training and education, but also brought in some partners that have helped us focus on that journey. It’s not just for employees who identify as LGBTIQ. There are also parents among our staff who have children who are coming out, and it’s created a support network for them too,” Kraus said. “There’s not just one thing you can do that’s going to make a different, its got to be everything and its got to be constant.”

EY were one of the first large businesses to publicly support the same-sex marriage postal vote. This is a topic which Kraus was very proud of, commenting that “that was tough because as an organisation we went out early on and said we were supportive, when maybe that’s not where everyone was at. We had a lot of people challenge us, and question us.”

The event was held to celebrate the results of the Australian Workplace Equality Index and coincided with International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia. The index rates companies based on a rigorous, evidence-based benchmarking instrument that assesses workplaces in the work and impact of their LGBTI inclusion initiatives.

The Director of ACON’s Pride Inclusion Programs Dawn Hough said after the event; “The AWEI has seen remarkable growth over the first eight years of its life; this year we see the most significant change in the diversity of our top employers and a much higher growth in participation of our small employers which we are delighted about.” 

“ACON congratulates all award winners recognised today on their significant achievement and for showing great leadership in the area of diversity and inclusion,” Ms Hough added. 

PwC’s Chief Executive Officer, Luke Sayers, who won the CEO of the Year Award, said that diversity is key to a successful workplace. "The more diverse the thinking, the more diverse the experiences, the better the outcome." 

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