ICAS Ethnically Diverse People survey – you said, we did
Learn how ICAS has acted upon the results of its Ethnically Diverse People survey to the benefit of its Members, CA Students and the wider profession.
In September 2020, ICAS ran a survey to better understand the perspectives and needs of its Members who are Ethnically Diverse People (EDP). The survey highlighted areas for ICAS to address, provided insight and a clearer understanding of the issues faced by its EDP Members and revealed how Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (ED&I) is perceived by the profession.
The survey also delivered rich commentary that ICAS is taking on board and using to shape its Member and Student offerings, to clarify and define its role as a professional body, and to lead the debate around ED&I across the global accountancy profession.
I am not sure how ICAS supports its EDP Members and CA Students.
ICAS has enacted a three-year ED&I integration plan, approved by both ICAS Council and the ED&I Committee, to ensure that it places ED&I at the heart of all that it does. It has also employed a full-time ED&I Manager to help deliver the strategy and support its Members and CA Students, and created a range of content, resources and material which is available to all Members and CA Students on icas.com and includes two dedicated hubs, for diversity and wellbeing.
In addition to this ICAS has:
- Signed the Charter for Black Talent in Finance and the Professions, which requires organisations to apply the same standard business techniques to the growth of Black talent as they would to projects for revenue growth. ICAS is the second professional body in the UK to sign the charter.
- Re-joined the Access Accountancy programme which exists to ensure that everyone has an equal chance of accessing the accountancy profession based on merit, not background.
- Extended its Protect Helpline to include ED&I. Available to all Members and CA Students, Protect is an independent, confidential helpline which offers free advice about whistleblowing and speaking up.
- Reinvigorated and reshaped its ED&I Committee to ensure representation across all areas of ED&I and to create the inclusive leaders of tomorrow.
- Launched a Student Assistance Programme which provides all our CA Students with a suite of wellbeing and support services including a freephone 24/7 365-days-a-year helpline with access to BACP-accredited counsellors.
- Embedded ED&I into its Code of Ethics
- Created an ED&I statement of intent.
ICAS needs to do more to support its EDP Members.
ICAS has been working to ensure that it embraces ED&I in all that it does. This includes all internal and external-facing communications and its social and digital channels. To date ICAS has:
- Created a bespoke Diversity issue of CA magazine, with content, profiles of EDP Members and thought leadership on ED&I from the accountancy and finance professions.
- Launched its Championing Unique Perspectives campaign to profile ICAS Members across the ED&I perspective. The campaign tells unique and personal stories to inspire and educate, promote diversity and inclusion in the profession and champion the benefits of a diverse workforce.
- Promoted EDP Members and business professionals through a variety of thought-provoking features and leadership articles, including:
- Beyond boundaries with Indy Hothi CA
- More than a numbers game with Anne-Marie Imafidon
- The shape of water with Natalie Campbell
- Allies and analytics with Sheree Atcheson
- Interview with Margaret Casely-Hayford
- Every single story brings value to the workplace with Musfeen Miah CA
- Keeping pace with ED&I – a range of resources for CAs
- Wealth of opportunity with Anna Sofal
- From Cobra to CBI with Lord Bilimoria
- Celebrating our One Young CA Winner – Amjad Hassan CA
- ICAS has also embedded ED&I into its Member Value Proposition.
I don’t understand the diversity makeup of ICAS boards and committees.
ICAS has published high-level diversity data on its main boards and committees, including ICAS Council (see below) and is working to improve representation to ensure that all are diverse, inclusive and representative of the wider ICAS membership. Some of the key demographics to note are:
- Ethnicity: 12% of board and committee members are from ethnically diverse backgrounds vs 8% of ICAS membership.
- Gender: 40% of board and committee members are female vs 35% of ICAS membership.
- Working pattern: 6% of board and committee members are retired, 66% work full-time and 17% part-time vs 19% retired, 76% employed (full and part-time combined), 3% on a career break, 1% on maternity or paternity leave, and 1% unemployed of ICAS membership.
- Disability: 11% of ICAS board and committee members declared a disability and ICAS will capture full Member disability data in Q1 2022.
- Age: 8% of Board and Committee Members are over 65 vs 19% of ICAS membership; and 9% of board and committee members are under 35 vs 23% of ICAS membership.
Look out for a full report on the membership breakdown of each board and committee, to be published shortly.
ICAS has also delivered bespoke Unconscious Bias training for all Members and Staff who undertake recruitment to its boards and committees, and has implemented an inclusive-language guide to ensure that ED&I is embedded in all the communications it issues to Members and CA Students. ICAS is also working on an inclusive-language guide for Members, which will be released shortly.
ICAS is keen to profile and promote diversity in the profession and would love to hear from any Member or CA Student who would like to get more involved with ICAS or share their story. If you would like to join the debate, would like to be involved in ICAS’ boards or committees or would like further information, please contact email@example.com. We would especially like to hear from you if you have an awareness of diversity or the experience to help make ICAS a more inclusive professional body.
ICAS has ambitious plans to improve diversity in the profession and in ICAS as a professional body. It will continue to embed ED&I in its thinking and strategy, recognises that there is more it can do and calls on all EDP ICAS Members and allies to get involved.
A follow-up EDP survey
ICAS will be coming back to its EDP Members with another survey in autumn 2021 to ensure that insights are gathered, to help embed a culture of continuous improvement and to set targets and benchmarks to drive the ED&I strategy. The survey will also cover the experiences of Members related to gender and our approach to supporting Members’ mental fitness. If you would like to know more, please contact Ian Bettison, ED&I Manager, ICAS at firstname.lastname@example.org.