How to Get 150 Top-Performing Black and Latino Candidates Now

With a global war for talent heating up, Ernst & Young's leaders are proactively developing future accounting professionals at both the student and educator level.

Ernst & Young takes its talent seriously. That's why the professional-services firm isn't leaving the quality of its future workforce to chance. Its leaders are taking the initiative by engaging traditionally underrepresented students before they graduate from college as well as helping administrators and faculty members address existing diversity gaps on campus.

The New York–based Big Four company, No. 5 in The DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity, recently held its Discover Ernst & Young event and the fourth annual Campus Diversity and Inclusiveness Roundtable in New York.

From Talented Students …

Discover Ernst & Young, which stems from the company's former Discover Tax program that targets increasing interest in the tax sector, is a three-day seminar of workshops and activities, like a scavenger hunt. Its purpose is to engage the 150 freshmen, sophomores and juniors from 73 national colleges and universities who are primarily Black, Latino and American Indian. The goal is to inspire future accounting professionals for Ernst & Young's talent pipeline.

"I'm big on planting trees. From our talent-development pipeline, we have to invest early before students think about other careers," said Ken Bouyer, Americas director of inclusiveness recruiting. Those initiatives also include students on the high-school level, as detailed in Rutgers Future Scholars Enhances Talent Pipelines With Corporate-Student Outreach.

At the kick-off experience, for which E&Y covered all the students' expenses, Chairman and CEO Jim Turley directly engaged with students during a Q&A session along with other E&Y recruitment leaders, including Americas Campus Recruiting Director Dan Black and Americas Vice Chair of People Nancy Altobello, to spur excitement for the accounting profession.

"The world is a very turbulent place. There is a lot of angst. In turbulent times there are going to be winners and losers, whether a country or a company," said Turley. He discussed what it takes to be a winner—the mindset of an entrepreneur with an aggressive eye for opportunity.

… To Schools That Educate

The firm simultaneously hosted its fourth annual Campus Diversity and Inclusiveness Faculty Roundtable. University teachers and administrators from 15 schools discussed the business imperative for diversity and the need to create a culture of inclusiveness. For more about existing diversity gaps among college students, read American Universities Hinder Diversity Among STEM Students.

The roundtable sought to address three main objectives: why diversity is important to Ernst & Young, why it's important to schools, and formulating an action plan that will move the needle.

Panelists included: Tony Anderson, vice chair and Midwest area managing partner, Ernst & Young; Denice Kronau, chief diversity officer, Siemens; and Bruce Jackson, senior counsel, Microsoft. Read How to Increase the Number of Black CPAs for recruiting and retention best practices. 

"We need you. We can't do this without the pipeline of students," said Bouyer during the introduction. He noted that 49 percent of Ernst & Young's intern hires came from colleges represented in the audience.

Blacks, Latinos and Asians make up about 32 percent of Ernst & Young's North American workforce, and women make up 48 percent of its North American workforces. In 2011, Blacks, Latinos and Asians totaled 39 percent and women totaled 47 percent of all new North American hires.

Global Implications

Turley also addressed the administrators, discussing trends in global business and the economy and the business imperative for diversity and inclusiveness today.

"The world is going through the most geopolitical economic shifts in history. Emerging markets are on fire … The slowest-growing economies in the world are the oldest, Europe and Japan," he said. "The workers of tomorrow will be much more diverse, not just in the United States but everywhere in the world."

He encouraged the administrators to think about how they are going to educate students to have a broader global mindset so they can contribute to increasingly global teams of workers. It's "building this pipeline for long-term success" that is the hardest thing, he said.

For information on how to help fund scholarships for financially disadvantaged students, read about the DiversityInc Foundation.

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