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Bringing diversity of thought through our doors

There is a clear business case for a diversity and inclusion focus within organisations. In today’s economic climate we aim to support people from diverse backgrounds join our firm. Barriers to employment exist in many forms but with intentional focus and support, they can be overcome.

Broadening our talent lens to recruit people with the right skills and excellent experience from diverse sources

By opening our doors for individuals who may otherwise find it hard to access the professional services sector we can attract greater diversity to our workforce. Access to the right skills is central to building the strongest leadership and team in our firm. We are striving to maximise diversity of thought at Deloitte Ireland and fostering inclusion is at the heart of our business strategy. We do this through a number of different programmes, including our Development Internship, and our Return to Work programme.

I've learnt a lot, I've met amazing people, had a very supportive team, I grew my network and I feel I've grown professionally and on a personal level. I always felt like I was at the end of my career life, I didn't know what I was going to do with myself, but this internship has given me the opportunity to reflect and learn a lot, so I definitely know that I want to go the consulting route.

Thabo Serwe, Development Internship participant

When my daughter started school, I wanted to get back into the workplace. I applied for jobs that were comparable to the one I left, but never received replies. I tried lower-level positions since I was out of the market for over 6 years, but still nothing. Then I applied for roles traditionally filled by people fresh out of school — still nothing! My confidence took a huge knock. Then someone told me about a programme that was specifically geared towards people who want to return to the workplace — and I found out it was with Deloitte Ireland.

Return to Work programme participant

The Development Internship is a six-month work placement for individuals who have submitted their application for international protection/refugee status and are awaiting a final decision. This can be an extremely difficult time for migrants as they await the outcome of their applications. This tailored programme supports individuals, to use their education and skills and gain experience in an Irish work environment. Because of visa requirements they would otherwise be unable to access this kind of work experience. It also provides training and development opportunities to help them develop job skills, elevate their CV, and explore career growth areas for the future. To date, Deloitte has partnered with the Irish Refugee CouncilBusiness in the Community, and DLA Piper to offer 11 intern placements across our business, with 36% continuing with Deloitte following their initial placements.

Our Return to Work (RtW) programme is another example that attracts diverse candidates to our pipeline and has become a staple inclusion initiative at Deloitte. It is considered a key lever to achieving gender diversity and zero gender pay gap. In May 2022, we piloted our first RtW programme with Women Returners. Eight individuals who had career breaks of more than 18 months (some of longer than 10 years) joined through the structured and supportive six month programme in roles across our business.

All the returners in a cohort join on the same date and are welcomed with a bespoke induction and the opportunity to connect with each other. Women Returners provide group coaching workshops from day one and throughout the programme. This supports the returners to successfully return to work and make the major life adjustments necessary to get back into the office. The returners receive regular new joiner supports, such as an internal career coach, a buddy for day-to-day support and learning opportunities. They get additional specific programme supports such as regular check-ins with the programme manager and cohort connection opportunities for peer support.

Our hybrid working policy, Deloitte Works, which is built on trust, enables the flexibility that returners often need to be successful. Following the pilot programme, 75% of the returners were offered opportunities to continue with Deloitte after their initial six-month placement, with 100% of offers accepted.

Our 2023 RtW campaign launched on International Women’s Day with over 1,200 people applying, reflecting the need for more programmes of this kind.

Programmes like this are a win for everyone, from witnessing the impact on our returners, to seeing the amazing passion, skillsets, and drive of our talented returners in the workplace. It impacts both the workplace and the community.

To amplify the success of the programme to-date with other Deloitte member firms, and other organisations in Ireland, we hosted a Returnship Insight Morning in partnership with Women Returners and the 30% Club in November 2022. We invited clients and other organisations along to hear insights into our programme, encouraging them to consider something similar. Since then, we have also been asked to showcase our programme externally with IBEC, Insurance Ireland and elsewhere.

Other programmes we run include our Transition Year DEIS targets and University Access partnerships.

We are proud of the impact that our programmes focused on attracting a diverse talent pool has for our people, our clients, and our community.

Key contacts

Sinead Gogan

Chief Human Resources Officer