Tim Ryan on PwC’s 2021 Purpose Report and How the Company Is Building Trust Through Transparency

Originally published on LinkedIn by Tim Ryan, PwC’s U.S. Chair and Senior Partner. PwC is a DiversityInc Hall of Fame company.

 

One year ago, we took the important step in releasing our diversity and inclusion data for the first time. We did it because diversity and inclusion are core to our purpose at PwC, and we wanted to apply greater rigor, accountability, and transparency into how we were continuing to drive our firm’s representation and culture of belonging.

In the year since we took that landmark step, we have been presented with unthinkable challenges and irrevocable changes in the ways we live and work. In this disrupted year, it would have been easy to lose focus on the vision we had set for our firm. Instead, we renewed our focus on our diversity and inclusion efforts, remained committed to operating responsibly in sustainable ways, and accelerated our commitment to driving a human-led, tech-powered approach throughout our entire business. We did this because we believe these elements are all crucial to how we build trust as an organization and as part of the greater business community. While we are proud to have gained ground in nearly all of our focus areas, we have more work to do. Today, we are sharing our progress through our Purpose Report, as well as new goals we are setting for ourselves within our three strategic areas of focus:

 

Building on a Culture of Belonging

Despite the many challenges this year has presented, our unwavering determination and commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion has enabled us to make headway on 14 of our now 18 indicators that we use to measure DEI progress. Of note, we are especially proud that, for the first time in our firm’s history, we have the most diverse U.S. Board of Partners and Principals (36% female and 36% racially/ethnically diverse), U.S. Leadership Team (35% female and 40% racially/ethnically diverse), and Extended Leadership Team (34% female and 25% racially/ethnically diverse). We know that a diverse and inclusive leadership team can help to influence and inspire a culture of belonging from within — and ultimately drive greater representation at all levels.

While we’ve made progress in advancing our commitment to DEI, the data also helps us shape our next steps as we continue our journey. We remain committed to continuing to build trust, with a sharpened focus on supporting underrepresented communities, while advancing meaningful progress within our own firm. Today, we are releasing new concrete, time-based DEI goals to continue holding ourselves accountable as we track progress towards our longer-term aspirations around three areas: workforce representation, partnership pipeline, and supplier diversity. Specifically, by FY26 we hope to achieve:

  • A 50% increase in our Black and Latinx workforce
  • A 50% increase in our pipeline of female potential partners and 50% increase in our pipeline of racially/ethnically diverse potential partners
  • 40% of our reportable spend with diverse suppliers

These goals will help us continue to hold ourselves accountable and make critical interim steps to further diversifying our workforce and partnership and driving a greater culture of belonging.

 

Our Journey as a Responsible Business

As a firm that is guided by our purpose and values, we are committed to supporting the communities in which we work, live, and thrive. During this difficult year that disrupted so many lives, The PwC Charitable Foundation, Inc. donated over $15 million to support COVID-19 relief, disaster recovery, the people of PwC, social justice reform and more. Separately, our people donated over $33 million to more than 13,000 organizations.

We also embraced PwC’s role as a leader and our responsibility to drive change within the business community and society as a whole in four critical ways:

  • We launched Tomorrow Takes Trust, a landmark three-year, $300 million commitment to embed trust-based principles into the core of today and tomorrow’s businesses. That commitment includes the PwC Trust Leadership Institute, which will equip more than 10,000 business leaders with the skills they need to build trust around tomorrow’s challenges and realities.
  • We expanded CEO Action for Diversity & Inclusion membership by more than 40%, underscoring its critical role as a go-to resource for leaders at more than 2,000 companies and universities.
  • We united business leaders from more than 100 companies through CEO Action for Racial Equity, and are advocating for public policy to address systemic racism and social justice at the national, state and local levels.
  • We are helping close the digital divide by extending our Access Your Potential initiative and committing $125M to support a more equitable future for 25,000 Black and Latinx college students to prepare for and begin an in-demand career.

 

We are Human-Led and Tech-Powered

This past year, technology emerged as a constant, providing solutions for productivity, collaboration and employee connectivity. And what we saw inside our organization was an incredible resiliency from our people to adapt, change and shift to new ways of working.

We remained committed to our own robust digital transformation — since 2017 we have invested $3 billion as part of our New world. New skills. commitment, including tools, technologies and talent to disrupt our business and deliver greater value to our clients and our communities. Our goal is to help students from all backgrounds have an equal opportunity to succeed, changing students’ trajectories and uplifting their communities — and we’re harnessing technology to make that possible. The latest Access Your Potential curriculum will be enabled by our ProEdge product to help students determine the skills they need to be competitive and generate engaging, challenging customized learning plans.

We also accelerated our products and technology business and created landmark products and tech-enabled solutions — like Check-InBias Analyzer, and ESG Pulse — that help companies tackle critical societal issues inside and out of their four walls.

 

Why We Believe in Transparency

Our new strategy, The New Equation, is based on our belief that trust and transparency are the most critical factors in a business’ ability to thrive, now and into the future. When I speak with CEOs and business leaders about this concept, they feel reluctant to share their data and progress because it is sometimes not where they want it to be. It is only through openness and accountability that the business community can create greater economic value, provide more equitable opportunities, serve our communities more fully — and most importantly, build trust.

It is in that spirit that I am sharing our progress and plan today, and why I encourage business leaders to also take the step of releasing their data. There is no finish line when it comes to making our businesses and society better together, and the most critical work will always lie ahead of us. I encourage you to read our full Purpose Report here.

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