Ernst & Young Makes Diversity a Strategic Imperative

At Ernst & Young, support for diversity comes directly from the top. Chairman and CEO Lou Pagnutti is the executive sponsor of the firm’s Ethnic Diversity Task Force. Leadership involvement with the task force strengthens the link between inclusiveness and the firm’s business goals.

The firm’s focus on diversity is seen in various efforts, such as GlobeSmart, a web-based tool that provides staff with information on different cultures and varying behaviours in the workplace. The program helps users better understand and interpret behaviour and bridge communication gaps.

Another initiative is the Learning Partnership, a formal, year-long mentoring program that pairs visible minority managers and senior managers with partners. The objective of the program is to foster career development and satisfaction and to retain visible minority professionals. Almost 50 per cent of the program’s mentees are skilled immigrants.

The firm also hosts regular diversity networking events across Canada, providing participants with a great opportunity to share personal experiences and career-development advice, and to listen to speakers talk about their own challenges and successes.

And finally, Pagnutti hosts a quarterly luncheon and conference call for visible minority partners, principals and directors across the firm. These same leaders are also invited to the firm’s Minority Leadership Conference, which takes place every 12 to 18 months.

Tips for Employers

  • Leadership support for diversity initiatives strengthens the link between inclusiveness and the organization’s business goals.
  • Cross-cultural training helps employees better understand behaviour and bridge communication gaps.
  • Internal mentoring programs and networking events help skilled immigrant employees grow their careers within the organization.

Ernst & Young provides a range of services, including accounting and auditing, tax reporting and operations, tax advisory, business risk services, technology and security risk services, transaction advisory, and human capital services. In 2006 Ernst & Young won the TRIEC Large Employer Immigrant Success (IS) Award. The awards recognize companies in the Greater Toronto Area that excel at recruiting, retaining and promoting skilled immigrants.

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