The Race Equality Award: KPMG

Award Type: 

Finalist for Business in the Community's Race Equality Award 2019

KPMG: Reverse mentoring scheme pairs senior partners with junior colleagues to build understanding of race

Being reflective of their clients, the communities they work in and wider society is a key priority for KPMG. Positions filled by graduates at the firm broadly reflect the UK’s black heritage (BH) community in relation to the nation’s demographics. However, this is not reflected at senior levels, where there are fewer BH employees. 

The company has responded with the launch of the Black Heritage Reverse Mentoring programme. It is an initiative to help the firm’s partners gain a better understanding of the experiences and expectations of their BH colleagues, to develop a more inclusive working culture, leading to stronger recruitment, retention and development of BH talent. 

The programme matches partners with a more junior BH mentor. They are encouraged to have confidential discussions – not just about work, but also about life experiences, the challenges they face and what it is like working and progressing at KPMG.  

Partner mentees must make public pledges outlining the actions they will take as a result of the programme. In July 2018, the business launched the Black Entrepreneurs’ Award to support start-ups to become investment ready. It was an idea developed as a result of Managing Partner Philip Davidson’s reverse mentoring relationship with a graduate. More than 120 businesses submitted entries to the inaugural awards. 

Following a successful pilot, the BH Reverse Mentoring programme was expanded and is now in its second year, with the latest cohort of 40 partners being paired with mentors. To date, more than 160 colleagues and partners have taken part in the programme across ten UK offices.

The information in this impact story has been supplied by KPMG.