Balance For Better

Balance For Better

KPMG strives for a future where everyone feels included, and diversity is encouraged.


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Top - Juliet Gomes (left), Cathy Partington (right), Bottom - Georgia Kenyon (left), Laura O'Sullivan Spiers (right)

KPMG strives for a future where everyone feels included, and diversity is encouraged. Here in the Isle of Man we are proud to employ staff from 17 different countries and aim to empower them to be themselves and respect others - it’s core to our values and what we’ve always believed in.

This year’s International Women’s Day message is #BalanceforBetter, but what does that mean for our staff, how are we encouraging it as a business and what would they like to see change in society and the workplace? Chief Financial Officer, Cathy Partington, organised a round table discussion with a group of female employees to discuss what ‘Balance for Better’ means for them.

“It is about creating an environment in and out of the workplace where people are given equal opportunities to make the choices they want without any gender and religious discrimination” said Georgia Kenyon, Tax Manager. “It isn’t something that can be tackled overnight but it is reassuring to be in a world where we are encouraged to question what historically has been the ‘norm.”

Cathy was keen to hear what it means for Laura O’Sullivan Spiers, Senior Audit Manager, who has recently returned from maternity leave. “As Georgia mentioned, there is an important need to balance the corporate environment and home life. KPMG have provided the opportunity of shared parental leave which has allowed me to return to work as well as allowing my husband (also employed by KPMG) to be our son’s primary caregiver. Their focus on providing a work/life balance has enabled me to easily maintain the momentum in my career whilst balancing home and work life.”

Naveen Zehra, Graduate within the Cyber team, who wasn’t present for the roundtable discussion but provided a separate insight from her own experience, “In Pakistan, it is only men who are seen as ‘techy’ people - I have never seen a woman classed as an ‘IT specialist’ which creates a barrier and limits progression. You compare that to the Isle of Man where women aren’t limited by career choice.”

Juliet Gomes, Audit Manager, added: “Being a woman has impacted my career positively over the years, in that it has enabled me to be a role model to upcoming younger women aspiring to rise up the ranks into managerial roles.”

Cathy asked Naveen if KPMG’s message of promoting equal opportunities with zero tolerance for discrimination was reflected within the day-to-day activities around the office, “KPMG encourages diversity and, as a global company, recognises that it needs a local and international workforce to be successful. An example is that I have a room booked for my daily prayers so I don’t have to miss them or walk home every day - this was really supported by KPMG.”

We are incredibly proud of the work we are doing to advance the role of women in the workplace but recognise there is always more to be done. Cathy was interested to hear how this can be achieved both within the firm and on a wider scale on the Isle of Man. “Furthering gender balance/equality and providing businesses with tools to facilitate equal opportunities is key”, says Georgia. “The availability and cost of childcare on the Isle of Man continues to be a problem and could be seen as a barrier by some to re-enter the workplace despite their desire to do so. As a minimum, the Government should look at introducing tax rebates on childcare fees to form an incentive”, added Laura.

We believe that the greatest success will go to those who recognise that the future is inclusive - KPMG continue to build an environment where diversity is encouraged, equality is celebrated and talent is recognised, regardless of gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation or religion. Balance drives a better working world, so let’s all help create a #BalanceforBetter.

Photo courtesy of Isle of Man newspapers.

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