Diversity: Buzzword versus reality

By Eleanor O'Neill, Student Blog

20 July 2017

Words repeated over and over as business terms can soon begin to lose their meaning. They become 'buzzwords' that, while sounding impressive, have little impact. Has the term 'diversity' suffered this fate? 

Dr Diahanne Rhiney is among those who believe that a 'serious conversation' on diversity is no longer enough - words are failing to translate into action.

She wrote in a Huffington Post blog: "Diversity is the buzzword in everything from workshops to expos and conferences and everything in-between, but what about in the workplace? It’s all too easy to get execs to give talks and bold statements or host glitzy awards about the importance of diversity and yet it’s still so difficult to find actual examples of growth and success."

Major accountancy firms, including Grant Thornton and the Big Four, featured prominently in the UK Social Mobility Index, ranking organisations by their inclusiveness and commitment to welcoming employees from all backgrounds.

This would suggest that firms are taking the lead in living up to their words on promoting diversity in the workplace. Initiatives to encourage unbiased hiring practices, develop careers and boost the chances of young people have all been important influencers in achieving that goal.

The CAs championing diversity

Many CAs are champions of diversity in their workplace, including One Young CAs such as Indy Hothi CA, who has established a number of key diversity initiatives at EY, and Rimla Akhtar MBE CA, Inclusion & Diversity Consultant at RimJhim Consulting.

The ICAS Strategic direction for 2016-2018 is committed to diversity and aims for:

  • Increasing numbers of members working outside of practice.
  • Increasingly diverse membership profile.
  • More diversity of career paths and member needs.

Watch: Managing Challenges to Diversity

Karen Blackett OBE, Chair of Mediacom, has been voted the UK's most influential black person and is a vocal supporter of diversity.


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