KPMG UK targets a third of partners from working class backgrounds

Big Four accountancy firm KPMG UK is aiming to have nearly a third of its partners and senior staff come from a working class background.

The firm said it wants 29% of its partners and directors to come from a working class background by 2030, The Times reported.

KPMG was contacted for comment.

The firm defines working class as having parents with “routine and manual” jobs, such as electricians, plumbers, butchers and van drivers, the report said.

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Currently, KPMG calculates that 23% of its 582 partners and 20% of its 1,297 directors are from working class backgrounds. 

The firm said it would introduce training for all 16,000 of its employees on the “invisible barriers” that exist for people from working class backgrounds.

The firm’s chair, Bina Mehta, told The Times that she comes from a working-class background.

She said: “I’m a passionate believer that greater diversity improves business performance. Diversity brings fresh thinking and different perspectives to decision-making, which in turn delivers better outcomes for our clients.”

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Mehta took over as chair earlier this year after the firm’s former chair and senior partner Bill Michael resigned after a backlash to comments he made in an internal meeting with staff that were leaked to the press.

Kay Swinburne, KPMG’s UK vice chair for financial services, told Financial News last month that following the incident the firm had sought to discourage staff from distributing information to the press and use the firm’s internal grievance processes instead.

“We have all been asked to make sure that our teams understand the damage you can do to us as a firm [by passing on company information],” she said, adding that the firm had “become a bit of a leaky sieve”.

To contact the author of this story with feedback or news, email James Booth

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