More Accounting Tomorrow Posts

Deloitte Targets Diverse Talent at Community Colleges

October 8, 2009

BusinessWeek published an interesting article last week regarding Deloitte’s new strategy of recruiting minorities at community colleges in an effort to bring more diversity to the firm – a good thing, since of the 4,500 partners and top executives at Deloitte, 92 percent are white.

Not that this is anything new in the accounting profession. But the strategy is a good one and only time will tell how it plays out.

According to the article, Deloitte chief executive Barry Salzberg directed some of his senior people to focus on community colleges because the two year, state-funded programs are where the majority of African-American and Latino student enroll, especially during tough times.

“Many have the ability and the drive,” Salzberg said. “Targeting these schools offers us a unique opportunity to reach another distinct pool of diverse, top talent.”

The firm is initially focusing on six schools – Miami Dade College, Houston Community College, Maricopa Community Colleges in Phoenix, Mira Costa College in North San Diego, Orange Coast College in Orange County, Calif. and Santa Monica College.

But it seems, Deloitte has some work to do in debunking the stereotypes of the accounting profession. The article also talks about how many students believe accounting is well, boring.

In response to that, the firm is sending up to eight staffers, including at least one senior partner to “enlighten” the community college students and to explain how the profession has expanded to encompass financial, management, technology and human capital consulting.

Deloitte may be onto something. But regardless if this works, the reality remains clear – minority groups still are underrepresented in the accounting profession and here we are in 2009. What is your firm doing about opening more seats up at the conference room table?

Comments (3)
To the unknown poster: Why do you consider it discrimination? Couldn't one describe it as targeting an underrepresented population and strategically aiming to create more accessibility for those who might not have the ease of opportunities in a predominantly white profession?
Posted by Liz Gold | Thursday, October 15 2009 at 3:10PM ET
Much of the activity has to be led by the most senior-level executives within the firm. They have to understand the impact minorities have on the talent pool (currently 26%, according to the 2009 AICPA Trends Report), prepare programs to hire and develop minorities and be interested in acquiring minority clients. Specific actions must be taken to address years of "slow movement" in this area. The result can be a more diverse workforce with fresh ideas, different perspectives and new approaches. This diversity can be a competitive advantage to the right firm.
Posted by sgrady | Friday, October 09 2009 at 10:27AM ET
Why is is "a good thing" to discriminate based on color or race?
Posted by JohnnyTax | Thursday, October 08 2009 at 10:00AM ET
Add Your Comments:
Not Registered?
You must be registered to post a comment. Click here to register.
Already registered? Log in here
Please note you must now log in with your email address and password.