How effective is your diversity & inclusion programme? PwC launches new tool to help organisations find out.

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10 January, 2017

  • Companies with engaged Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) leader achieve the best diversity results
  • D&I is a stated value or priority for the vast majority of organisations (91%)
  • PwC’s newly appointed Global D&I Leader Sharmila Karve says diversity drives innovation

9 January 2017 – PwC launches a new tool to help companies around the world measure the maturity of their D&I programmes. By taking an online survey – available here – they can compare their programme to others in their industry and region, and analyse their responses to understand how mature the components of their D&I programme are: Emerging, Basic, Progressing or Differentiated.

Sharmila Karve, PwC’s newly appointed Global Diversity and Inclusion Leader, says:

“Diversity is all about including & involving and thus invigorating the workplace. This helps drive Innovation.  Decades of research have shown that diversity is good for business.  Many organisations are focusing on creating a more inclusive work environment – but these efforts aren’t always successful. Our new online tool will help organistions find out why and what they can do to improve their D&I programmes.”

Survey reveals diversity disconnect

While companies around the world are increasingly committed to creating a diverse and inclusive work environment, respondents to a new PwC survey – largely diversity and HR practitioners – say that diversity is still a barrier to employee progression.

The global, cross-industry PwC survey of 500 business, D&I, and HR leaders who develop and execute their organisation’s D&I strategies is aimed at understanding what programmes they have in place, and the impact these are having.

While 91% of respondents agreed that D&I is a priority for their organisation, 48% said that from an employee perspective, diversity is a barrier to progression at their organisation. This is in part because their D&I programme has not effectively achieved its objectives. Respondents from local companies were significantly less likely to see diversity as a barrier (25%) than their peers at companies with a global footprint (43%).

Bhushan Sethi, PwC Principal, People & Organisation, says:

While companies have made public commitments and significant investments in D&I, there continues to be gaps between strategy and execution.  Closing this gap requires that business leaders focus on the next frontier for D&I: embedding D&I into not only people strategy, but broader business decisions about customers, products, brand, and location.”

Leadership engagement is key

An organisation’s stated commitment to D&I – while a key part of the programme – has minimal impact on whether respondents state equal opportunity actually exists. So what does? Our data shows that organisations where diversity isn’t seen as a barrier to employee progression had a few key elements in common. Most significantly, they have a dedicated D&I programme leader who is a C-Suite executive and can drive the agenda forward.

Bob Moritz, Chairman of PwC International, says:

“When it comes to diversity, words are not enough. People need to see tangible actions and results to feel they are working in a diverse and inclusive environment. It’s not surprising that organisations that score best on diversity and inclusion have a dedicated leader who is part of the C-suite and having impact in the organisation."

Commenting on Sharmila Karve’s appointment, Bob Moritz says:

“I am delighted to welcome Sharmila Karve as the new Global Diversity Leader. She brings a strong commitment to inclusion and a wealth of business knowledge and experience working in various leadership roles with local and international clients – and will help bring together the best thinking from around PwC. I have no doubt that in her new role, Sharmila will successfully build on what we have achieved so far.”

More survey findings include:

  • 80% of organisations said they are focused on developing a pipeline of diverse leaders, while 43% are focused on recruiting more diverse candidates.
  • 56% of organisations said they provide targeted development opportunities for diverse employees.
  • Organisations are focusing on increasing dimensions of difference, 16% of respondents said their organisational D&I programme has a strong focus on one or two dimensions of diversity compared with 55% who said their focus is on a broad range of diversity dimensions.
Notes to editors

To take the D&I maturity test, click here. The survey measures D&I programmes against four components which are critical to success:

  • Understanding the facts of today: Are you capturing and understanding your organisation’s diversity data?
  • Building an inspirational strategy: Is there a business-focused vision and strategy for diversity & inclusion?
  • Developing leadership engagement: Are senior leaders engaged and champions of the diversity & inclusion strategy?
  • Creating sustainable movement: Have you implemented the strategy across all elements of your business and talent ecosystem?

About Sharmila Karve

Based in Mumbai, Sharmila joined the India firm in 1985 and became a partner in 1997. She has worked as the engagement partner for many large Indian and multinational clients. She was the first female partner to be elected to the firm’s Partnership Oversight Committee and to be appointed as Chief Ethics Officer. In 2009, she became the Territory Assurance Leader, successfully navigating the India firms through a challenging time. As the firm’s Risk & Quality Leader, she developed and led the implementation of the quality management system across the practice. In addition to her role as Global Diversity & Inclusion Leader, she will continue to serve as lead partner for several clients.

About PwC

At PwC, our purpose is to build trust in society and solve important problems. We’re a network of firms in 157 countries with more than 223,000 people who are committed to delivering quality in assurance, advisory and tax services. Find out more and tell us what matters to you by visiting us at

PwC refers to the PwC network and/or one or more of its member firms, each of which is a separate legal entity. Please see for further details.

© 2017 PwC. All rights reserved


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