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Diversity and ICAEW

Reviewed: 09 Jun 2020 Update History

We are committed to diversity in the Chartered Accountancy profession and at ICAEW. We believe the profession, and our own organisation, does best when it reflects the society we serve.

Ethnic origin

We are proud to have an ethnically diverse workforce spread across many different countries. We recruit according to merit; you are welcome to view our recruitment policy and current vacancies.

Mental health, financial and personal support

CABA provides lifelong support to ICAEW Chartered Accountants and their dependents. It is an independent registered charity and not part of ICAEW.

CABA is staffed by professionals who are experts in their field. Support is free, impartial and strictly confidential. CABA offers legal, benefit and debt advice, financial assistance, and support for your physical and mental health both at home and in your professional life. If you need support, call +44 (0)1788 556 366 or visit the website for more information.

LGBT support

We actively encourage an inclusive environment in the profession for all members of the LGBT community. Across ICAEW we are committed to championing diversity, inclusivity and social mobility. We strive to reduce barriers that may prevent talented individuals from joining our profession and refuse to tolerate discrimination or harassment.

A leader in our industry, ICAEW provides secretarial support to the Professional Services LGBT Group, which brings together diversity leaders of the major accountancy firms for quarterly exchanges of best practice and liaison with Stonewall.

As an employer, we have a Diversity Advisory Group reporting directly to the Board, ensuring provisions are established and maintained to raise the profile of diversity in the workplace. We have internal role models, champions and allies of LGBT rights, an active LGBT network group (Together Community) and inclusive workplace policies. We annually partake in the Stonewall Workplace Equality Index and seek to make meaningful improvements every year.

As a membership body, we have an online Diversity and Inclusion Community connecting members globally with information, resources and events designed to promote diversity within their organisations.

We believe the profession, and our own organisation, does best when it reflects the society we serve.

Social mobility

We work in the public interest and promote social mobility in the profession and beyond.

ICAEW Foundation, our charity, provides financial support in the form of bursaries to students from financially disadvantaged backgrounds to study accountancy and finance at universities across the UK. It also provides bursaries to students of new professional accountancy qualifications (PAQ) in growing economies like Malawi, Ghana, Cambodia and Lesotho. Bursary students in the UK can also avail of a bespoke mentoring programme to support their wellbeing during their studies and to assist in their career planning. In Malawi, the Foundation has funded a blended assisted learning programme to assist a number of students towards passing their PAQ exams.

Our partnership with the Community Foundation includes the newly established ICAEW Social Mobility Fund which supports projects to improve social mobility in black communities, providing support and inspiration to those with aspiration and ability but are disadvantaged

We are founders of Access Accountancy, which offers work experience placements for disadvantaged students to improve access to the accountancy profession. By committing to measurable outcomes we hope to deliver real change and welcome talented and ambitious young people from all backgrounds.

We work closely with schools, colleges and universities to engage with young people and inform them of the career options in accounting and finance. These activities include our BASE competition for students aged 16-19. Students can engage in a business challenge that enables them to develop key employment skills and understand what it’s like to be an ICAEW Chartered Accountant.

We have also worked extensively on a Best Practice Internship Code. We signed up to the last Government’s social mobility compact and have started to measure the social background of our new students.

We have developed a number of non-graduate routes into the profession in recent years, including flexible programmes that offer a Bachelor's and/or Master's Degree.

Gender diversity

We realised some years ago that we were losing many of our women members when they took career breaks. We have taken steps to retain our members during breaks and re-introduce them to full-time work through our Back to the Workplace programme. We have also created the Comeback Community for members returning to work. We survey members and track their salaries to monitor progress on the gender pay gap.

We saw that women were not reaching the top roles often enough, and so we created the Women in Leadership programme to address this problem. It has a strong personal development focus and seeks to refine and craft the participant’s individual leadership style. 

We are currently working with Government and other professions on a white paper on the more general issues for women in work. One of ICAEW's executive directors has given evidence to the Women and Equalities select committee on the subject of women in executive management.

We also offer free resources to our members on women in finance, in business, and on the gender gap. ICAEW continues to offer thought leadership to facilitate effective dialogue in corporate governance.

Diversity and Inclusion Community

In 2018, ICAEW became a signatory of HM Treasury's Women in Finance Charter, pledging to  have 40% women in senior management by March 2020. The ICAEW Diversity and Inclusion Community supports firms and individuals in promoting and protecting diversity. Join the community to find resources, contacts and guidance for your circumstances.