As a 'Big 4' advisory firm you might expect EY graduates to be walking down hallowed halls where people whisper about Very Serious Things in hushed tones from the moment you enter the foyer.
Not so, from our visit.
We were invited along to the Sydney office to get a feel for the place ourselves and chat to some of the staff about their experiences, and one of the first things we spotted was the pride flag flying from the office. This was no ordinary greyscale office building.
While EY are formed of legacy ancestral partnerships dating back to 1849, they’ve kept up with social changes and modernised their practice along the way. The buzzword around the office is ‘inclusion’.
This is reflected in their offices, too. From the climbing wall, the foosball table, the gym equipment, to the modern meeting rooms and the views that stretch on over the city forever, EY have a colourful and refreshing set-up to match their ethos.
From their ‘Unity’ organisation, for those who identify at LGBTI and their allies, to their program geared towards working mothers. A commitment to 50/50 gender recruitment, EY are giving the other top-tier organisations a run for their money on the diversity front.
We spoke with Karoline Le, a graduate working in Assurance, who told us about her experiences with EY’s inclusiveness program.
“EY is very active in promoting its commitment to increasing the number of senior female leaders. It’s really inspiring to hear that,” she says.
“It’s encouraging to see that there is equal opportunity.”
She explained that progression’s encouraged and facilitated across all roles, and shared equally between all employees regardless of gender, sexuality, religion and race—it’s up to the employee’s merit.
EY are spread across 150 countries, with each embracing a number of different nationalities, sub-cultures and social customs. So how do they make sure their values are reflected in so many different parts of the world?
While an airline would struggle to keep up with that many locations, EY’s long history has cemented the business practices that make them so successful, allowing them to focus on broader issues like culture and social programs. After all, a diverse workforce brings with it a diversity of ideas and experience.
The key things EY look for in graduates are:
So if you’ve got those traits in spades but you’re not sure about sticking out from the crowd a little too much, think again.
“Identifying as LGBTI, I’ve never been in any organisation that does anything like EY does," says Michael Simitsis, an assurance graduate.
“I’ve never been more comfortable to just be who I am.”
Michael told us about events and groups EY has set up complete with morning teas, lunches and networking sessions, highlighting the organisation’s commitment to diversity.
Part of this includes the ‘Unity’ network group, for LGBTI and their allies, where graduates can receive mentoring and be supported to ‘bring their whole selves to work’.
EY has a program focused on retaining their employees throughout the childrearing years, which includes paid maternity and paternity leave, vouchers for babysitters, cleaners, career coaching and a network called NOWW—a national movement to assist parents to return to work and support them in their roles.
Another aspect of EY’s culture is a focus on giving back to the community, and this includes a matched giving program. When an employee regularly donates through the EY Matched Giving Program, EY will match their donation dollar for dollar. So if you have a favourite charity or cause, you could do — hang on, I’m not that good at maths — TWICE as much good.
EY also acknowledge and celebrate International Women’s Day, Lunar New Year and other holidays and days of awareness.
If you are looking for a place where a diversity of ideas, social inclusion and community responsibility weigh equally with your ambition, EY should be high up on your list.