People In Glass Houses…

Shouldn’t throw stones.

I pulled out the statistics shown below on women at the partner level at KPMG because I saw this article. I found it ironic that KPMG is in the business of measuring and making recommendations on improving diversity in the workplace, in particular with regard to representation of African-Americans (or the lack of representation) at the criminal section of the Civil Rights Division of the US Justice Department. In 2002, while it was breaking the law promoting illegal tax shelters and while acting as the external auditor for the Department of Justice, KPMG did some interesting consulting work.

From their report:

“Among the charges is that the key criminal section of the civil rights division has failed to hire a single black attorney since 2003 to replace those who have left.

Of the 50 lawyers in the division’s criminal section, only two are black.

That is the same number the criminal section had in 1978 — even though the size of the staff has more than doubled…”

I chose Illinois statistics because, of course, I am close to them. But also, with a large and active market, including many consumer products, financial services and manufacturing companies based here, we have some of the Big 4 firms’ largest offices in the country. It is also an urban area and one where the numbers of women (and minorities) graduating with degrees in accounting is high. Unfortunately, as has been mentioned before, the firms do not recruit at just any schools and so the women and minorities that could go into both the entry level and experienced ranks are passed over for those from the same traditional schools over and over again each year, where the students are, shall we say, much more traditionally white and male. And so the cycle repeats itself…

Illinois CPA Society’s 2006 Survey on the Role of Women in CPA Firms – Professional Personnel Who Office In Illinois – Percentage of Women by Position
Illinois’ Largest Accounting Firms*

Their analysis:
The numbers With a 78-percent response rate, the current survey, which was distributed to 76 Illinois firms with 15 or more professionals, found only slight changes from prior years’ figures. During the past 4 years, the percentage of women entering public accounting firms has been above or near the 50-percent mark, the number of women at the senior manager/manager level has remained near 40 percent, and only 15-17 percent of women advanced to the partner/principal group.

KPMG LLP (5th Largest)

Total # of Professionals 998
Partner/Principal 14%(2006) 15% (2005)
Senior Manager/Manager 33% 33%
Senior/Staff Professionals 42% 40%

Lest you think the other firms are much better…

#1 Deloitte & Touche USA LLP
Total # of Professionals 2,499
Partner/Principal 18%(2006) 19% (2005)
Senior Manager/Manager 36% 35%
Senior/Staff Professionals 46% 45%

PwC is getting white men involved. Because, of course, white men pay more attention to white men. Their Diversity Officer says so!

“None of the diversity leaders was a white man. But (Chris Simmons, PwC’s chief diversity officer)believed that white men might pay more heed to diversity concerns if they hear them from a white man. “We really have to get away from this model of it just being white women and minority people,” he says.

#2 PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP
Total Number of Professionals 1,511
Partner/Principal 22%(2006) 20% (2005)
Senior Manager/Manager 48% 43%
Senior Staff Professionals 48% 46%

#3 Ernst & Young LLP
Total Number of Professionals 1,374
Partner/Principal 19%(2006) 20% (2005)
Senior Manager/Manager 42% 38%
Senior Staff Professionals 46% 46%

#4 RSM McGladrey Inc.
Total Number of Professionals(d) 1,033
Partner/Principal 10% (2006) 12% (2005)
Senior Manager/Manager 43% 41%
Senior Staff Professionals 53% 53%

1 reply
  1. Francine
    Francine says:

    This post was written a while ago but I suspect not much is much better now. Chicago has a large population of African American and Hispanic accounting graduates. But when the firms consistently recruit at the same schools instead of the ones where the numbers of minority graduates are higher, they won’t hire them. When the ones they do hire have the kind of experiences you did, they won’t keep them. As long as the hiring and promotion is about “fit” the numbers will not improve, regardless of all the window-dressing that goes on.

    See this I wrote for the Columbia Journalism Review in 2011:
    Wrong Q’s in an NYT Q&A
    Softballs for the CEO of Deloitte, auditor of financial-crisis failures

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