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Deloitte Focuses on Recruiting Fresh Talent and Diversity

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By Michael Cohn
March 14, 2014

Deloitte held its board meeting in New York this past week and also took time to meet with some members of the press to discuss its diversity and recruiting efforts.

A group of Deloitte officials, including vice chair and chief inclusion officer Deborah DeHaas and deputy CEO and chief talent officer Jennifer Steinmann discussed Wednesday how the firm is bringing in younger employees from Gen Y, while leveraging their technology skills and adding more diversity to the workforce.

The firm has been hiring more veterans under a White House-led initiative, and bringing more flexibility to groups like new parents and inclusiveness to LGBT employees. Among the guests was a representative from Diversity Inc. The firm also hopes to do more to help the long-term unemployed.

One of Deloitte’s biggest initiatives in recent years was the opening of its Deloitte University facility in Westlake, Texas about three years ago, which is training employees, both new and old. The firm has since been expanding the facility, launching a Leadership Center for Inclusion about a year ago in Texas and opening an offshoot of the university last December in Belgium for employees in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

Last year, the firm also released a report entitled, “Uncovering talent: A new model of inclusion,” on the continuing need for diversity in corporate America. DeHaas and other DEloitte executives discussed some of the findings Wednesday. The report points out that only a little more than 1 percent of Fortune 500 companies have black chief executives, while only about 3.2 percent of senior executives positions are held by African Americans.

Only 21 of the Fortune 500 CEOs are women, the report also noted. Women make up only about 14 percent of executive officer positions at the Fortune 500, only 17 percent of board seats, and just 18 percent of our elected congressional officials.

Plus, there isn’t a single openly gay chief executive officer in the Fortune 1000. Among the reasons for the lack of diversity at companies is the concept of “covering,” in which employees do their best not to appear to be outside the established mold. The report discussed various aspects of covering, including on the basis of appearance, affiliation, advocacy and association. According to Deloitte’s own survey of over 3,000 employees across 10 different industries from diverse backgrounds, 61 percent reported “covering” along at least one of those aspects at work, including 83 percent of LGBT employees, 79 percent of African Americans, 67 percent of women of color and 63 percent of Latino employees. While covering occurred with the most frequency among groups that have been historically underrepresented in corporate America, 45 percent of straight white men also admitted to hiding some aspects of themselves in the workplace.

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