Accenture makes ‘bold move’ in publishing diversity stats

In what one diversity expert calls a “bold move,” Accenture Canada has publicly reported demographic statistics for its Canadian workforce.

“To my knowledge, I’ve never seen an employer publish their numbers proactively like this,” says Michael Bach, founder and chief executive officer of the Canadian Centre for Diversity and Inclusion.

“It’s a really bold move. It’s a statement about their commitment, that there’s a willingness to be that open and almost exposed.”

Accenture’s inaugural report shares statistics on gender, visible minorities, persons with disabilities and aboriginal peoples.

“While we have a demonstrated commitment to inclusion and diversity through many strong programs and policies, in the end those do not create diversity — people do,” said Bill Morris, Canada president of Accenture.

“We believe that by increasing transparency around our diversity, we will foster a new level of collaboration and connection with our people, clients, partners, and the communities where we live and work.”

Read: Which Canadian employers are best for diversity?

Accenture, which has a total of 3,808 Canadian employees, said as of December 2015:

  • 44.1 per cent of employees are women and 55.9 per cent are men.
  • 30.1 per cent of executives are women and 69.9 per cent are men.

Its self-reported employee data also found:

  • Less than one per cent identify as people with disabilities.
  • 34.5 people identify as visible minorities.
  • One per cent identify as aboriginal peoples.

Accenture plans to report its progress on these diversity areas on an annual basis.

The company also acknowledged that it takes a broad view of diversity and recognizes that areas can include age, religion, sexual orientation and gender identity and expression.

Read: Accenture hosts mental health webinar for staff

In Canada, the legislated employment equity program makes it mandatory for federally regulated businesses and industries, such as banks, transportation, and radio and television broadcasters to report employee statistics to the government on four designated diversity groups: women, aboriginal peoples, persons with disabilities, and visible minorities.

However, there are many employers that are exempt from such reporting obligations, though some large companies choose to share diversity statistics in special reports.

“This is critical practice. I’m a big believer in measurement,” says Bach. “If you’re not counting, then how would you know when you’re reaching your goals. How do you present goals if you don’t count the numbers?”

Read: Create gender diversity in the workplace